While COVID-19 may be the main concern around College Football these days, the Mountaineer quarterback competition has been on the minds of everyone in the Mountain State. Jarret Doege and Austin Kendall are set to battle it out to see who will run out onto the field first when the season kicks off against Easter Kentucky in September. The general consensus is that Jarret Doege is the unquestioned favorite to be the starter, but a portion of the fanbase still has faith Austin Kendall can get the job done.
Kendall is a talented quarterback — if he weren’t, he would have never been recruited to Oklahoma or WVU. However, unless he were to put himself head and shoulders above Doege (which is very unlikely to happen), starting him would not be in the best interest of the team right now.
Doege came on for WVU late in the season, guiding the team to winning two out of their final three games to close out 2019. The team has momentum coming off of those wins, and that momentum lies heavily on the shoulders of Doege. Switching back to Kendall as starter would not only be odd, it would effectively kill any momentum the team is running on going into the 2020 season.
Doege proved to have a strong grip on the offense, and was improving the timing between himself and the receivers. Of course the off-season gives time for quarterbacks and wide receivers to improve timing, but nothing will ever compare to live-game situations. Starting Kendall would put a huge dent in the progress of Doege and the receivers, and could prevent it from ever reaching its full potential. Also, Kendall’s timing was far behind that of Doege in 2019, so the logical choice here is to stick with the latter.
What the Mountaineers need at quarterback is a leader. If you compared the on the field antics of Kendall and Doege from last season, Doege’s confidence was in an entirely different league from Kendall’s. The team as a whole had a different feel from the fan’s perspective when Doege was in the game. If we feel like that watching at home or in the stands, imagine what the team feels. The offense, and the entire team for that fact, have an enormous amount of confidence in Doege. This is not to say they wouldn’t feel confident with Kendall on the field, but it is best not to throw a wrench in what is trending upward with Doege. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
That is the moral of this — don’t give up on what is working. Sure, Brown can give all the coach’s talk to the media he wants with the competition, but the only choice here is to stick with Jarret Doege. Austin Kendall is a serviceable quarterback who will be waiting in the wings when his name is called upon. Until then, this is Jarret Doege’s team. The program has to continue to “Climb,” and that is best done with Kendall on the sidelines to begin.