MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Spring football is underway in Morgantown, and so is a quarterback competition that’s likely to continue through fall camp.
Earlier this week, head coach Neal Brown confirmed that junior Garrett Greene and redshirt freshman Nicco Marchiol will split reps during the spring as both athletes vie for the starting job.
Physically, Greene and Marchiol are similar quarterbacks. Both players are gifted runners who can hurt defenses in a number of ways. But as the coaches makes their evaluations of the two signal callers, they’ll pay close attention to each player’s instincts.
“Decision making is going to be critical,” offensive coordinator Chad Scott said.
Decision making and winning, according to Scott, go hand-in-hand. While he indicated that the final decision on the team’s starter will be made by Brown and quarterbacks coach Sean Reagan, he thinks the player who makes the best decisions consistently will be the frontrunner for the job.
“Decision making, in that regard, is gonna be huge, man,” Scott said. “The ultimate responsibility is to win. To make sure the 10 guys that are with them are better when they’re on the field and win.”
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Greene and Marchiol are both threats to run the ball. Greene displayed that ability as a starter late last season, and though Marchiol played sparingly during his true freshman season, he developed a reputation as a dual-threat quarterback in high school on the way to becoming the 2021 Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona.
Though Brown has shied away from explaining how WVU’s offense could change to cater to a mobile quarterback, Scott knows they’ll contribute to his area of expertise.
“It opens up the run game, big time,” Scott said.
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Both Brown and Scott are entering their fifth season at WVU. They’ve begun the previous four seasons by starting a traditional pocket passer behind center in the opening game.
But Scott has worked with mobile quarterbacks before over the course of his 17-year coaching career. He knows that dynamic quarterbacks who can make effective reads have the ability to terrorize opposing defenses — and make West Virginia’s offense harder to predict.
“Once those guys start pulling the ball, it keeps those guys [on defense] honest,” Scott said. “That creates a lot of space for us. That’s tough to defend.”
All six of West Virginia’s top rushers from last season, including Greene and Marchiol, remain on the roster for the spring season, which began Tuesday.
Running back CJ Donaldson, who led the team in rushing yards per game last fall, participated in the team’s first practice as he continues his journey back from a season-ending injury.