I can see it now – our always lovely Facebook comment section will implode over this one. Like it or not, however, it is true. Jarret Doege is the best option at quarterback for WVU going into the 2021 season.
Coming into the 2020 season, I was very high on Doege. Though he did not have the season that I expected him to, he was decent nonetheless. The redshirt junior finished the season going 239 for 374 with 2,587 yards and 14 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. He would also find the end zone twice on the ground, despite behind held to negative rushing yards. Not spectacular, but he took care of the ball, and rarely put his team in a bad position.
Something was off with him during the Autozone Liberty Bowl win over Army, prompting Neal Brown to go with Austin Kendall in the second half. Though this sparked the Mountaineer offense, I attribute his struggles to a solid Army defense – a unit that was ranked as one of the best in the nation in nearly every category.
Fans will use the Liberty Bowl as a reason why they would like to see the team go in a different direction than Doege, but I will hold my ground and absolutely refuse to nudge. A quarterback with as much experience as Doege is hard to come by in College Football. Playing in 33 career games at both WVU and Bowling Green, 14 of those have been with the Mountaineers, including 13 starts. Behind him, Garrett Greene is the only signal-caller with any kind of experience going into 2021. The garbage time Greene picked up against Eastern Kentucky, and a 7-yard scamper against Iowa State are not enough to convince me he should unseat Doege as the team’s starter.
Looking ahead to the 2021 season, the Mountaineers have a challenging schedule. They will begin the season with a trip to College Park to take on Maryland, and they will close non-conference play with a home date against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Once this is blended with a tough Big 12 schedule that will include road games against Oklahoma and TCU, and home games against Iowa State and Texas, you need experience leading you at signal-caller. Doege has seen these teams before, and has played on the big stages. He knows what to expect, and I believe he will handle it better than an inexperienced, albeit talented young quarterback.
Based on the situation, it is hard to make an argument against Doege at this time. This does not mean, however, that if things go sideways, Greene will not get an opportunity. Anything can happen, and Neal Brown has proven he is willing to adjust. Barring some kind of unforeseen change, expect Brown to go with the best option on September 4th, and roll with Jarret Doege.