MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown said he feels confident about his quarterback situation both in the present and looking into the future.
That doesn’t mean he’s ready to name a starting quarterback for the 2022 season, however.
On Monday, Brown spoke to the media for the first time since the team’s initial scrimmage on August 11. He remains steadfast in not publicly naming the starter for the season opener, even as the countdown to kickoff for the Backyard Brawl has reached 10 days.
“I’m not really going to announce anything today,” said Brown. “We’re working through that. I’m not trying to be coy about it. We’ll announce the starter before the game. It’s not about that, it’s just we’re not to that point, yet. … There’s not been a final decision.”
Brown isn’t the only head coach who will be on the sidelines for the Backyard Brawl who hasn’t named a starting quarterback.
Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi has not yet announced who his starter will be for the Sept. 1 opener. The Panthers, much like the Mountaineers, are deciding between a former QB who studied under Graham Harrell at USC (Kedon Slovis), and an incumbent player (Nick Patti).
The difference between Pitt and WVU is that Brown is deciding between four quarterbacks, all of whom have shown him positive traits and performances since fall camp began 22 days ago.
“All of them have some ups, and we’ve thrown some balls to the defense,” Brown said. “I’m pleased with them. And like I said, I feel very confident in our present situation, and I feel confident about the future of those guys too.”
West Virginia’s fourth-year head coach previously hinted that the team’s second intra-squad scrimmage, which was held last Thursday, would likely be the point where first-team reps change and the starting quarterback would be known.
That timeline appears to have been pushed back, based on the play of the quarterbacks, and on what his team’s season-opening opponent is doing, too.
“Obviously, Graham has a decent feel for that, because he coached them. And [the Panthers] haven’t announced a quarterback, either,” Brown said.
When asked, Brown said he was not worried about any of the quarterbacks on his roster being ready to play in the first Pittsburgh-West Virginia matchup on the gridiron in more than a decade.
He has previously pointed to JT Daniels’ playing experience on big stages and important games at the Power 5 level. On Monday, he noted Garrett Greene’s playing time last year, specifically mentioning his play against Oklahoma in a nationally televised contest. Brown added some of Nicco Marchiol’s high school contests were televised and played on a bigger stage than the average prep football game.
“They’ve played in some pressure situations on national TV that, I think, give them an opportunity to be ready for that kind of atmosphere,” said the head coach.
Whoever wins the starting quarterback job for West Virginia will face a difficult challenge against the Panthers, who appeared at No. 17 in the Associated Press preseason poll. Pittsburgh sports a talented defense, especially in the front seven, including preseason AP All-American defensive tackle Calijah Kancey.
The junior Pitt defensive lineman was joined by Habakkuk Baldonado on the preseason All-ACC team. The duo combined for 16 sacks a year ago.