There is a common phrase most people know that goes, you give credit where credit is due. That kind of credit should be given to West Virginia senior quarterback Jarret Doege.
Earlier this season it looked like Doege was incapable of running this offense. He overthrew receivers, made poor decisions with the ball, had costly mistakes and just did not seem to be the guy. All of this added to the fact his backup Garrett Greene was starting to see the field more each week.
Heading into this season, Doege was tabbed as one of the most improved players by almost everyone you talked with. The West Virginia staff said he slimmed down, worked on his pocket presence and was set to be the guy this season. Despite putting up solid numbers, it seemed as though all of that talk about Doege’s offseason work was irrelevant. He looked to be the same guy, and crumbled under pressure in the biggest moments.
Doege recognized his struggles early in the year, and now feels like all the work he put in is paying off.
“I put in so much work in the offseason and it’s finally just clicking,” Doege said.
Take the Virginia Tech game for example. First play of the game, Doege has a wide open receiver and overthrows him. Then in the fourth quarter, he throws an ill-advised screen, which almost cost West Virginia the game. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, fans can think of more than just this game where Doege made a questionable decision.
Head coach Neal Brown agrees that during West Virginia’s losses, part of the problem has been inconsistency from Doege.
“What’s happened is in games, [Doege’s] had three to four critical mistakes that we haven’t been able to overcome,” Brown said.
Recently though, what has changed for Doege is he has been able to hold the mistakes to a minimum, largely in part to the play of the offensive line.
“I’m just putting trust in them. If you [have a] blitz coming, no blitz coming, I’m just trying to stand in the pocket and put all my trust in them,” Doege said. “Because you know when I have doubts, when I try to get out of the pocket is when some bad things have happened this season.”
In his first five games against FBS opponents, Doege threw for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. In his two most recent outings, Doege has thrown for 627 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions — with one of them being due to a drop.
This being said, Doege is improving, and compared to how he played early in the year, he is starting to deliver the ball to his receivers and is able to comfortably throw the ball down the field.
This past week, Doege threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns. He also made all the right decisions, except for a costly interception that led to an Iowa State return for a touchdown.
“I thought it was probably our best game of the season, mine as well,” Doege said of his performance against Iowa State. “There’s definitely a few mistakes that I could learn from moving into this week.”
Doege did lament how important it is to have a short memory and how having the right mindset can be crucial to his game.
“I think from all the experience I have playing, I’ve thrown a ton of interceptions in games and practice. I really have that play the next play mentality in my head now,” Doege said.
The Iowa State version of Doege is what everyone expected him to be, and if he can continue to play at that level over the remainder of the season, he will be able to walk the walk, after everyone else talked the talk.
Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports