Question: Does JT Daniels give Neal Brown leeway for 2022 or does the inclusion of a five-star quarterback raise the expectations for the fourth year head coach?
Editors Note: I reached out to a friend for an idea on this idea. I provided one side of the coin and he would provide the other.
I would argue that having the fourth year, former five-star quarterback gives coach Brown leeway in the eyes of the fans, donors and athletic director. JT Daniels is likely a one-year stopgap and we’ve seen that this type of offense (Air Raid-esque) can take time to develop. I think that having Daniels gives the coach leeway for a not amazing season but allows him to continue to develop the players he’s recruited and coached.
Daniels should be the best player on the offensive side of the ball, yet I think Brown only needs to get to 7 wins to placate many people in the stands. I think Daniels is more than capable of getting to that point (whether or not I think that will be the ultimate record), but it will also show that Brown is able to gain talented quarterbacks. Ultimately, college football comes down to who has the best quarterback and now Brown has shown he can get one from the portal and might have another in the wings.
The fanbase and others are clamoring for a homegrown quarterback and that mantle appears to be passed along to Nicco Marchiol. It is really tough for a true freshman to play well in college football, especially at the Power 5 level. Giving Marchiol a year to redshirt and learn under the wings of Daniels also gives Brown the opportunity to point to the building blocks for 2023.
If Daniels can get the Mountaineers past the 6-win hump, even if its only 7 wins, that should be more than enough for Neal Brown and the Mountaineers this year. Then they can look to the future that is building in Morgantown.
I think the addition of JT Daniels, and Graham Harrell, significantly raise the expectations for Neal Brown &the Mountaineers this year. Since Neal arrived in Morgantown, it’s been painfully obvious that QB play was holding back the entire offense. Whether it was his inability to get rid of the ball in the face of pressure, his non-existent scrambling ability, or the fact that he struggled to complete passes deeper than 10 yards, Jarret Doege crippled any chance our offense had of putting up big numbers. The only reason we were able to have decent years while he was our starter is because of the Herculean efforts of the defense to keep us in games.
Enter Graham Harrell and JT Daniels.
Harrell has a history of running prolific offenses, both as a player & coach. When he got to North Texas in December 2015, their offense had just finished the season ranked in the bottom 25 of the country in passing, total yards, and points. By the 2017 season, Harrell had The Mean Green at the edge of the Top 25 nationally in those same categories. If he can orchestrate that kind of turnaround with lesser talent, imagine what he can do with a 5-star QB. JT Daniels was the #16 QB recruit in the nation and #2 pro-style QB when he committed to play with Harrell at USC. He put up solid numbers as a freshman at USC, as well as going undefeated as a starter at Georgia before getting injured.
These two additions remove the one clear obstacle that’s been holding back the Mountaineer offense. We now have a chance to put up points and yardage in bunches. The expected offense improvement should take significant pressure off the defense. It’s easier for a defense to play aggressive and loose when they know they don’t have to hold teams under 20 points each Saturday. These factors seriously raise the expectations for Neal Brown this season. Fans should not happy with anything less than 9-10 wins. Continuing to hang around 0.500 with this type of talent infusion will not be well received from Martinsburg to Matewan or Weirton to Welch.
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