Everyone will get a fair shake in West Virginia’s quarterback competition, but that doesn’t mean it should be expected to drag on longer than necessary.
Making an appearance on MetroNews Sportsline, new WVU coach Neal Brown discussed his philosophy for sorting through quarterback competitions dating back to his stint as Troy’s offensive coordinator in 2008.
“Every competition we’ve had going back to 2008, it’s ‘make a decision when it’s clear,’” Brown said. “Don’t try to trick the guys in that room.”
All three scholarship quarterbacks on roster will have an opportunity to demonstrate their strengths this spring. Brown said he’ll ask Jack Allison, Austin Kendall and Trey Lowe to each pick plays they feel most comfortable running.
“Jack, tell me some pass plays you really liked. Austin, what were some of your favorite things at Oklahoma? Trey, what did you like as you learned the system and got comfortable last year?” Brown said. “You build your offense, as far as calling plays, around the quarterback and offensive line. We want use what our quarterbacks are most comfortable with and stuff that’s worked for us in the past, as well. It’s going to be kind of a group effort as far as forming what we’re going to do.”
Brown said first-team practice reps will be split among the three quarterbacks early this spring as he finds out who is best in two-minute situations, the red zone and everything else that goes into winning the job.
“We’ll go into spring ball and split reps, put them in a lot of different situations,” Brown said. “Maybe narrow it to two [candidates].”
Though the competition may well carry until the end of August camp, Brown won’t wait that long to make a call if he doesn’t need to.
“You make that decision when it’s clear,” Brown said. “And often it’s really clear in that room.”
Second phase of winter training underway
Football doesn’t stop when the season ends.
The Mountaineers are already in their second phase of winter workouts leading up to the start of spring practice on March 19.
Brown said that the first phase, also known as Winter 1, is the eight hours a week that players spend with strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph and his staff while the football staff focuses on recruiting in the lead-up to national signing day.
Now that signing day is behind them, the football staff is able to run workouts.
“Winter 2 is two team workouts during the week and coaches are involved – agility, some conditioning exercises, teaching some base fundamentals,” Brown said. “You can’t do anything with a ball, so you’re limited. But at the end of Winter 2, you’re allowed to have two hours of meetings to teach schematics.”
Those two hours of weekly meetings in the final two weeks before spring practice will be particularly important due to the coaching transition. Though more will change on the defensive side of the ball, Brown noted that offensive players will also be learning some new tricks.
“Offensively there won’t be [much difference] with pass plays from what Jake Spavital and Dana Holgorsen called. They’ll be very similar,” Brown said. “But the run game will be quite a bit different.”
Milan Puskar makeover
Brown noted that the interior of the football facility is undergoing a bit of a makeover before West Virginia hosts prospective high school junior recruits this spring. He mentioned that there will be new furniture and a fresh coat of paint in place by the time they visit.
“Those 2020 and 2021 kids are going to dictate our future,” Brown said.
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