MORGANTOWN — WVU head coach Neal Brown is predictably playing his cards close to his chest this week in regard to the Mountaineers’ quarterback situation.
On Tuesday, Brown said he will not name a starter prior to this week’s home game against Kansas State. WVU’s options are junior JT Daniels, the incumbent week-one starter who has struggled mightily in his last two games, and sophomore Garrett Greene, the reigning Big 12 offensive player of the week who led four scoring drives last week in a 23-20 win over Oklahoma.
“We won’t name a starter going in, but (Greene) definitely deserves to play more,” Brown said. “We’ll get both those guys ready.”
In the team’s last two games, Daniels completed 15-of-34 passes (44.1%) for 146 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Mountaineers had just one scoring drive with Daniels between the two games.
Greene, meanwhile, completed 16-of-27 passes (59.3%) for 181 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. He also ran for 146 yards and two more scores.
“He’s gotten better and better and better and he’s practiced better,” Brown said of Greene. “He’s embraced his role and when he had an opportunity, he made the most out of it.”
Against the Sooners, Greene took over under center just before halftime and orchestrated all four of WVU’s scoring drives, including the final 15-play, 65-yard march that set up Casey Legg’s game-winning field goal as time ran out.
“A lot of those yards were tough, especially on that last drive,” Brown said. “He just played with a lot of fire, a lot of energy. I thought he energized the stadium, I thought he energized our sideline. Just really, really happy for him.”
Whether Brown’s refusal to name a starter is a bit of gamesmanship to force Kansas State to prepare for both options or reflective of the actual decision-making happening behind closed doors is unknown. Either way, Brown made it clear that Greene will see the field no matter who gets the start.
Greene lacks the pedigree and polish that Daniels has but more than made up for it with his ability to the run ball against the Sooners.
“He’s strong, he’s not real tall, but he’s put together,” Brown said of the 5-11, 200-pound Greene. “He is legit fast and he wasn’t coming out of high school. He’s one of the rare people that has got significantly faster in college.”
“Garrett’s super-talented,” added offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. “He can really spin it and he’s athletic, which can add an extra dimension to an offense.”
Harell said Greene is reminiscent of a couple of quarterbacks he has coached previously — Mason Fine, North Texas’ all-time leading passer, and Jaxson Dart, a true freshman at USC last season who transferred to Ole Miss this year.
“Mason did what you coached him to do pretty well … Jaxson could run around a little bit too at SC last year. He was a true freshman so his was a little more rogue than Mason’s was,” Harrell said. “Garrett’s kind of a cross between there. Sometimes he goes rogue, but he does have a little bit of experience. He’s not a true freshman out there running around, he has a lot of reps and knows what we’re trying to do.”
As for how they’re handling the situation internally, Brown said he’s not holding anything back from the players.
“I think everybody that’s involved are good people,” Brown said. “You just try to be transparent. Those things are never easy. Every position plays multiple people besides that one usually. They knew that when they signed up to play that position.”