Football, Sean Manning, Sports, WVU Sports

COLUMN: WVU quarterbacks impress in spring game, but J.T. Daniels should be the man in 2022

New WVU offensive coordinator Graham Harrell wanted to see how his quarterbacks performed with eyes on them, and with 12,678 fans in the stands for Saturday’s Gold-Blue spring game at Milan Puskar Stadium, all three performed well enough to get a solid handshake for a job well done.

Goose Crowder was the best of the bunch, finishing 14 of 24 for 199 yards and a touchdown combined for the Blue and Gold teams — helping the Gold team to a 22-21 win.

Garrett Greene was 5 of 10 for 132 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while true freshman Nicco Marchiol went 10 of 19 for 75 yards.

“For Goose Crowder, that was the best day he’s had all spring, which is encouraging,” head coach Neal Brown said. “In a game-like atmosphere, that was his best day. He got off to a nice start and made some good throws down the field, which is good to see.”

Brown said Greene made one of the few bad plays of the day, forcing a ball down the sideline without reading the safety, which led to an interception by Aubrey Burks. Otherwise, Greene made plays with his legs like he’s done in the past, and also made accurate throws on intermediate passes, something he needed to work on.

Marchiol made several “flash plays,” but Brown, reiterating that Marchiol should be a high school senior, will be better in the fall.

“We have to continue to work and continue to teach him the offense and defense,” Brown said. “Summer practices will be critical to him because he’s going to get reps against fast people. The more reps he gets, the better he’s going to be, but I thought he made some good plays running the football today, which is good. That’s how he played in high school. I thought he got hit and got back up and had good energy.”

The plan all along, even after Jarret Doege opted to transfer, was to allow Greene, Crowder and Marchiol to compete during spring practice and learn under Harrell.

But Brown also made it clear he was going to look in the transfer portal and see what was available. It just so happened that the best available QB there, Georgia transfer J.T. Daniels, chose the Mountaineers over Missouri and Oregon State.

Brown hasn’t mentioned Daniels because he hasn’t signed the dotted line yet, but is expected to after he finishes coursework at Georgia.

Daniels has battled injuries at both USC and Georgia over the last three seasons, but his track record speaks for itself. He has 4,840 yards passing and 32 touchdowns in 21 games in his career, going 7-0 at Georgia including a win in the Peach Bowl in 2020.

After a losing season in Year 3 under Brown, he is in “win-now” mode, and Daniels is easily the best choice to do that, even if it comes at the expense of Greene, Crowder and Marchiol.

Saturday’s spring game showed a glimpse of what these three can do, but it’s unlikely we’ll see it again in 2022, barring Daniels’ health, which has been a question in the past.