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Austin Kendall is not the Mountaineers Problem on Offense

Schuyler Callihan

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Photo by Doug Johnson/WVSportsNow

The Mountaineers offense has been far from perfect and at times could even argue a little unpleasant on the eyes.

Anytime an offense struggles the first place fans tend to look is at the quarterback. Anytime an interception is thrown, it’s on the quarterbacks stat sheet, no one else’s. However, what most people are not taking into account is the struggles of not only the offensive line but the receiving corps as well. Throughout the first six games, the Mountaineers have been plagued with dropped passes. But it doesn’t end there. Getting open and creating separation from the defense is also something that has been troubling the receivers. Yes, Kendall has missed some wide open guys, BUT when you watch the tape, it is usually his third or fourth read by that point. He is being forced to throw balls into tight windows because he essentially has no other option. Through five games and some change, he is completing passes at a 66% rate, which is good for 24th in the country.

Is he posting gaudy numbers like Will Grier did? No, but maybe that’s part of the problem. The assumption is that a quarterback that sat behind two Heisman Trophy winners at Oklahoma would just come into Morgantown and put up video game numbers right away. Realistically, it was never going to be the case. Kendall hasn’t even been on campus for a year. He’s learning a slightly different system, developing rapport with receivers and new coaching staff and oh, yeah not to mention that the offensive line and receivers have been extremely inconsistent and a jumbled mess.

Am I sold on Kendall being the guy? Not yet, but I also don’t think he’s played himself out of the starting gig. Jack Allison did an okay job in relief last week vs Iowa State, but the playbook is condensed with him in the game and I’m not so sure he truly fits this offense.

For all those clamoring for Trey Lowe III, my question to you is; Why? Neal Brown watches these guys throw everyday in practice and has studied their development since he arrived. I would trust that Coach Brown knows what he’s doing. There’s a reason why Lowe is third on the depth chart. It’s not that he doesn’t have the talent, it’s more so that he’s just not ready yet. Yeah of course he brings a different element to the table with his dual-threat ability and athleticism. The only thing is, athleticism doesn’t help you read coverages or recognize blitzes, everyone is an athlete at this level if we’re being honest. Throwing Lowe out there to the wolves is not a great idea. Giving him a package to work with throughout the season is fine, but handing him over the keys to the offense is not ideal.

There’s not doubt in my mind that Lowe has all the tools to be a successful player in the future, but right now this is Kendall’s team and I expect that it will stay that way. If you trust the climb, you trust Neal Brown in leaving Kendall as the starting quarterback of the offense.

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