Fans of WVU football have clamored for him, and head coach Neal Brown promised we’d see him at some point during the final four games of the regular season, but even when junior transfer quarterback Jarret Doege entered the game, the Mountaineer offense still repeated the same mistakes.
Doege made his first appearance for WVU Saturday since transferring to WVU from Bowling Green over the offseason. He went 11-17 for 119 yards and threw a touchdown pass in the waning moments of the game.
Even when Doege was in the game, Brown still noticed issues within the offense that stretched beyond the quarterback position.
“I’ll say this: I wish quarterback was our only problem,” Brown said. “I wish quarterback was our problem because that’s an easy fix.”
Doege replaced starting quarterback Austin Kendall late in the third quarter of West Virginia’s 38-17 loss. The junior could appear in each of West Virginia’s remaining contests and still maintain his redshirt.
“He’s got four games and I just wanted to get him reps,” Brown. “I wanted to get him reps and I thought he did good things.”
Kendall threw for 355 yards and completed 26 of his 43 attempts, but he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. Instead, he threw two interceptions — one of them in the end zone on a flea flicker in the third quarter.
Kendall led three second-half drives before he was removed from the game. Those drives resulted in a turnover on downs in the red zone, a fumble and the aforementioned interception in the end zone. West Virginia’s only successful red zone trip with Kendall behind center came early in the second quarter, when Isaiah Esdale threw a touchdown pass to Kennedy McKoy on a trick play.
The Mountaineers only fared slightly better in the red zone with Doege at quarterback. While his nine-yard touchdown pass to freshman running back Tony Mathis capped a 61-yard drive, the previous WVU possession also stalled in the red zone with a turnover on downs.
The receiving corps’ chronic epidemic of drops also persisted with Doege leading the offense.
“The same things that plague Jarret are the same things that plague Austin,” Brown said. “We drop the ball, we didn’t do a great job in protection.”
It’s likely that Doege will continue to take snaps over the course of the next three games, which would optimize his opportunity to gain experience under the new redshirt rule. Brown didn’t elaborate after the game on his plans for both quarterbacks moving forward.
What this game reiterated, though, is how difficult it is to play quarterback when so many things — from blocking to drops and more — are out of the player’s control.
“Regardless of what the previous play is, you’ve got to clear your mind, be 100 percent focused on the next play,” Brown said. You can’t control a dropped ball.”