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Greene strives for improved accuracy through extra emphasis on fundamentals, mechanics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Considering Garrett Greene was battling to be West Virginia’s starting quarterback at this point last year, there is a strong consensus that he surpassed expectations and then some throughout a 2023 season in which he passed for 2,406 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 772 yards and an additional 13 scores over 12 games, 11 of which he played extensively in.

Greene, however, has his own thoughts — and they greatly differ from those that consider him at least somewhat of a surprise success story.

“I have to get better. Last year was an alright year,” Greene said. “I didn’t perform at the level I thought I should have, so that’s what this offseason has kind of been about is finding my weaknesses. We found those early and working these last two months to correct those.”

At the forefront of what Greene desires the most improvement on is his accuracy, which would help to increase a completion percentage that was among the worst for FBS signal-callers last season.

Of 106 qualifying quarterbacks at the FBS level, only four completed passes at a rate less than Greene, who hit on 147-of-277 throws. The 5-foot-11, 201-pound Greene takes more than his fair share of shots downfield, which makes it tougher to yield a desired completion percentage, but it’s one the senior knows must dramatically improve if he’s to take the next step.

“A lot of it is body position and consistency,” Greene said. “We watched the cut-ups last year of all the pass plays and the inconsistencies in my drop really showed up and that’s what caused inaccuracies. Going back to fundamentals of basic drop mechanics and timing the drops up to the routes.”

Greene completed more than 50 percent of his pass attempts in only six of 12 games last season, and while he had a penchant for keeping defenses honest through his ability to scramble and throw deep, difficulty consistently completing throws prevented him from an even better junior campaign.

“What we talked about is he has to take ownership of his own personal development. That’s a piece of growth,” WVU head coach Neal Brown said. “He played OK in the bowl game, but not to the level that I expect him to play and not to the level that he expects to play. 

“I had him make a cut-up of his best throws and his worst throws and then really look for consistencies. What happens with his feet on his release when the ball is where it’s supposed to be and it’s a positive throw and positive result? On the flip side of that, what are some commonalities that occur when the ball is off the mark or it’s a poor throw?”

In an effort to become more accurate and a better all-around quarterback, Greene has spent time training at QB Country, an organization with headquarters in Mobile, Ala., founded by former Ole Miss quarterback David Morris dedicated to have quarterbacks train on proper footwork, throwing and body mechanics and the mental and physical aspects of playing the position.

Morris, a backup to Eli Manning in college, has no affiliation to the West Virginia program. Still, Greene says he’s on the same page with Brown and Tyler Allen, WVU’s recently designated quarterbacks coach, as to what it takes for him to improve in what will be his final season of college football.

“He and I have been working since freshman year and this offseason, we got with coach Brown and TA, and got all in on focusing on fundamentals,” Greene said. “He doesn’t really teach schematics. He leaves that to the coaches in the building. It’s more so fundamentals and going back to the basics of throwing.”

Greene saw Morris once each in January and February, and the two spent time together during Greene’s spring break. 

The founder of QB Country communicates relatively consistently with the Mountaineer coaching staff.

“We’re talking all the time. I’ll send him clips from practice and we’ll hop on a call and kind of talk through some things,” Greene said. “I’ll probably see him three or four more times before the season gets going, which is always nice.

“They’ve been really great about communicating with him. They’ve kind of put it on David that whatever he wants to teach and what he knows I should do, he’s relaying that to coach Brown and TA. The coaching points that he gives in Mobile are transferred up here.”

WVU’s Garrett Greene. Photo by Greg Carey

Greene went through his first practice of spring football Wednesday after being away from the team for the start of it Monday due to the recent death of his grandfather. While tackling is off limits until Friday’s third session, Greene is working to improve fundamentally as he also tries to acclimate to a group of new teammates.

“It was only my first day and we weren’t in full pads, so it’s kind of too early to tell with that,” Greene said. “All offseason and throwing with the guys, I felt really good, so hopefully I can keep getting better at that.”

Brown says the process for improvement could be a gradual one, but what’s most important is Greene continue to trend in the right direction throughout spring and summer.

“There’s going to be some ups and downs and sometimes you go backward before you go forward when you’re making some significant changes,” Brown said. “I just want him to be better when he starts in August and when we start fall camp. That’s when he needs to be significantly better and he’s on a path to get there.”

While Greene plans to continue taking deep shots at a relatively high rate, the quarterback believes he has what it takes to significantly improve his completion percentage.

“Sixty-eight percent is the bottom floor for me,” Greene said. “I want to be up there in the 70s.”

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