MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Prior to winning the starting quarterback competition in the preseason, Jarret Doege made just one start at Milan Puskar Stadium. That came on Senior Day last November. The Mountaineers were edged by Oklahoma State 20-13 in a game where West Virginia outgained the Cowboys 333-285 but struggled to put points on the scoreboard. The Mountaineers had five drives of fifty yards or more, but found the end zone only once.
“When they go man, or they try to ‘zero’ you, you have to make them pay for it. And last year, they did that to us a couple times and I think we made them pay once to George (Campbell) and then a lot of the times they got us,” Doege said. “You have to get them more than they get you.
“We just didn’t execute all that well last year in the red zone. I remember us getting tackled at the one and we just didn’t get in. We have to be a lot better this year in the red zone.”
When players scattered across the country from March until June in the early stages of the pandemic, Doege believes he made the best use of time away from the team by improving his arm strength. He ended up winning the starting spot over Austin Kendall.
“I think it has gotten a little bit stronger and that is just being with (strength and conditioning coach) Mike Joseph in the weight room. I’m getting stronger and getting bigger and maybe having a little bit more velocity on my ball right now.”
During the offseason, the Mountaineers were split into ten ‘Accountability Teams’ and each squad was paired with an assistant coach. New offensive coordinator Gerad Parker was grouped together with ‘Team Doege’, the team that won the competition.
“When we were going through the pandemic together during the time of almost four months virtually, we had a lot of conversations about how we are going to lead the team better,” Parker said. “He is a great leader. He is well-respected. He puts in the work. Him and his dad really got after it during the pandemic that allowed him to get things better with his feet.
“Anytime you get a guy who has taken the reps he got last year and into this year, as he moves forward we think he does a really good job of staying poised. He doesn’t really get too high or too low or emotional. You really need that out of the quarterback position.”
Doege started 17 games at Bowling Green in his freshman and sophomore seasons of 2017 and 2018. He passed for 2,660 yards with 27 touchdowns and a dozen interceptions as a sophomore. His desire to play ‘Power 5’ Conference football led to his decision to join the Mountaineers in the summer of 2019.
“I wanted to try to play big time football at the highest level of competition,” Doege said. “So I jumped in the (transfer) portal. I had a few calls from all kinds of different schools. I had a relationship with Neal (Brown). He told me to come up here and visit. I fell in love with it and committed.”
Doege is a native of Lubbock, Texas and remembers well the day when Texas Tech handed No. 5 West Virginia their first loss of the 2012 season in resounding fashion, 49-14. Jarret’s older brother Seth Doege threw for 499 yards and 6 touchdowns in that win. Tech’s offensive coordinator for that game was Neal Brown.
“I remember that game like it was yesterday,” Doege said. “I ended up rushing the field. I was about seventh or eighth grade. Now hopefully I can swap the roles here this year.
“I went to camps. Me and (former Baylor quarterback) Charlie Brewer used to go and Neal would take us to the stadium. It would just be me and him throwing. Coach Brown would be evaluating just us two.”