West Virginia head coach Neal Brown entered this offseason knowing he would be naming a new starting quarterback in the fall.
What started as a three-man race between returners Garrett Greene and Will “Goose” Crowder, along with incoming freshman Nicco Marciol, turned into a four-man competition with the addition of transfer JT Daniels in the summer.
WVU completed its fifth practice of fall camp on Saturday, and the battle for the starting job will continue into the second week.
“(We are) still learning with the quarterbacks,” Brown said after practice on Saturday.
Coaches have seen both positives and negatives out of all four quarterbacks in the mix.
Both Greene and Daniels had passes land in the hands of defensive players while the media was present on Tuesday.
Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell stated after practice that day that none of the four quarterbacks had separated themselves from the rest. He added, though, that it was still too early in the camp schedule for that to really happen.
Brown said he saw some good things on Saturday.
“I thought Nicco threw the ball his best through the five practices,” Brown said. “Goose has been solid. … JT’s got more experience than all of them. Garrett Greene had a great two-minute drive today to kind of finish practice.”
Daniels has the most collegiate experience among the four in the Mountaineers’ quarterback battle.
What has stuck out to Brown since Daniels’ arrival has been outside of what he’s done on the football field. In fact, the former USC Trojans and Georgia Bulldogs quarterback has risen to a challenge he was given early on, according to the fourth-year head coach.
“He’s been great in the meeting room,” said Brown.
Brown also said that Daniels and Marchiol – the oldest and youngest quarterbacks on the roster – have gotten close throughout the offseason. Brown stated the relationship has had a positive impact on the talented freshman.
On Marchiol, specifically, the head coach said he continues to grow, and has gained a better grasp of the offense since joining the team in the winter as an early enrollee.
“The game is starting to slow down,” Brown said. “He has a better understanding of some defensive structure, and is more comfortable in the plays than he was in the spring, which is to be expected. He worked hard in the summer.”
Greene, who has appeared in 13 games over two seasons at WVU, has the most experience playing for the Mountaineers. Crowder is the only other quarterback on the roster that has taken an in-game snap for West Virginia.
“Goose,” as he’s known, missed the first day of practice due to illness. But has been on the field each day since. Brown said that he, too, has shown growth thus far.
The quarterback battle rages on as the second week of camp gets underway on Sunday. West Virginia has 23 preseason practices left before beginning the regular season against Pittsburgh in Acrisure Stadium on September 1.