Austin Kendall has emerged as the leader in the QB battle for the starting job against James Madison week one.
Brown said the evaluation was based on every snap from the quarterbacks since the start of spring practice. Kendall was competing against Jack Allison and Trey Lowe. Allison is currently the No. 2 quarterback.
“Austin won the job. I’m not sure anyone lost it,” Brown said. “That doesn’t change the way I feel about the other guys. I believe in Jack Allison. He’s got skills that can be in our league and be productive.
“I’m pleased with Trey Lowe’s progress. Jarret Doege never factored in to the competition. Long-term, it is better for him to redshirt. Offseason surgery slowed him down a little bit.Via WV Metro News
“We’ll keep them all active and engaged and ready if we need them to be.”
This was a battle that went into the middle of Fall camp until Kendall went and won the job. But how short of a leash will he have?
An Uphill Battle
This isn’t to bash Kendall or knock him as a player, but he has a tough job. He has to fill big shoes after taking over for Will Grier. He also doesn’t have nearly the talent the Mountaineers had last season on offense. They lost the majority of their offensive line and their top three receivers from last season. Both running backs return but he there are more questions than answers around Kendall.
A Crowded QB Room
The biggest reason for questioning how quickly Brown will turn to the next guy is the simple fact that he can. West Virginia had one of the more interesting QB battles this offseason because of how many guys could have won the job. All around the country, most battles were between two guys or a guy who wasn’t given the job but it wasn’t a surprise. The West Virginia QB battle had three guys seriously in the mix with a fourth that as a long shot due to injury and eligibility questions.
Trey Lowe and Jack Allison both bring their own skill set that is different than Kendall. I wrote earlier that Lowe is a great fit for the system that Neal Brown ran at Troy. This is where I could see a QB change happening during the season. West Virginia is in a rebuild and Austin Kendall won’t have a ton of help. If things start to head South, his fault or not, the fans and the coaches could want a change. When a season starts to fall apart, blaming the QB is sometimes the easiest person to blame.
Austin Kendall Deserved This
While most of this was spent questioning Austin Kendall, he has done everything right. Kendall sat behind both Mayfield and Murray while putting in his dues as the backup. The transfer of Jalen Hurts sent Kendall packing and he has taking this battle with stride. Plenty of quarterbacks don’t transfer without a wink and a nod that they will likely start. But all reports show that Austin Kendall has been the perfect teammate.
“He’s been calm and collected. He’s felt himself getting more comfortable and playing at a higher level,” Brown said. “You can coach him hard and he doesn’t take it personal. He’s gone about entering a difficult situation and really impressing his teammates.Via WV Metro News
“Now, he’s got to prepare like a starting quarterback.”
Kendall may have to fight an uphill battle, but having your new coach and team behind you is always a great start. More than anything else, faith in Neal Brown is the real answer. Brown is a proven winner and he had four quarterbacks to choose from. Kendall earned it.
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Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.