WVU football: Greene, Marchiol bring even-keeled approach into QB competition

MORGANTOWN -- Neal Brown didn’t say much about the growth of quarterbacks Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol, who are battling for West Virginia’s starting job, immediately following the Mountaineers’ first practice of fall camp Wednesday, but WVU's coach was pleased with the approach both showed through offseason workouts.
“It’s one day, so ask me next week and I’ll be able to give you a better answer,” Brown said. “The thing that I like today about both of those guys -- very even-keeled.”
Both saw action last season behind JT Daniels, and they got the most reps through the team’s final three games. They’ve split first- and second-team reps throughout the offseason leading into fall camp.
Greene, a 5-foot-11, 202-pound junior, replaced Daniels during the Mountaineers’ Nov. 12 game over Oklahoma and helped lead WVU to a 23-20 victory. He threw for 138 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-22 passing and added 120 yards and two scores on 14 rushing attempts after coming off the bench.
Greene started WVU’s final two games, against Kansas State and at Oklahoma State, finishing the year with 493 yards and five touchdowns on 43-of-78 passing with three picks, as well as 276 yards and five touchdowns on 45 rushing attempts.
Greene threw for 156 yards and a touchdown on 8-of-11 passing in the Gold-Blue Spring Game, and also caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Preston Fox on a reverse on the first series of the scrimmage.
Greene attended the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, Louisiana, in June.
“Garrett, as a younger player, and maybe even in the spring to a little lesser extent, he’s got great energy,” Brown said Wednesday. “His juice level is extremely high. What happened previously when he was a younger player is he’d have really highs and really lows. If you’re a guy that kind of has a bounce to you and you’re up every day, your lows are really magnified because if he’s at a normal level, everybody is looking at him like, ‘What’s wrong?’
“Today I thought his energy level was good. He made a couple bad decisions, but it didn’t affect him and he was able to bounce back, and the same with Nicco.”
Marchiol, a 6-foot-1, 224-pound redshirt freshman, saw limited action in two games early last season and came in during the Oklahoma State regular-season finale with 29 yards on 2-of-9 passing and 32 yards on six rushing attempts. He finished the year with 61 yards and a touchdown on 4-of-13 passing with no interceptions.
The lefty four-star prospect out of Hamilton High in Arizona had 58 yards on 6-of-12 passing in the spring game.
“I think he’s more comfortable. He’s at ease,” Brown said. “Both of them are competing for the job. Sometimes what happens when you get in these competitions in these singular jobs -- whether it’s quarterback, kicker -- is guys get really tense and they feel like the decision is based on every single play.
“I thought Nicco was a little bit like that in the spring and Garrett a little bit, but I thought both of them were much more at ease today and didn’t try to force things, handled the negative plays better. That’s growth, and we’ll see how they continue to handle it as we move forward.”
According to veteran starting center Zach Frazier, both have improved their leadership, and he said after Friday’s third practice the two are throwing it well and making good decisions.
He’s noticed the difference with the two compared to WVU quarterbacks in recent years, like Daniels and Jarret Doege, in their ability to run with the ball. The Mountaineers hope that facet of their game will assist a new group of receivers and a deep running back group that highlights the offense.
“I feel like in college football, mobile quarterbacks do generally well,” said Frazier, who has been named a preseason All-American by numerous outlets. “I think that’s going to be fun to watch this year, and it makes it easier on us, too, because even if everyone is guarded downfield, they can take off and have a huge gain, or if someone gets beat, they can elude it and go get a gain of 5, 10 yards or something like that instead of taking a sack.”
Frazier, with his unique perspective of the two quarterbacks, agreed with Brown’s assessment of both being more even-keeled.
“I would say Garrett’s probably more of an energy guy, but they’re both very calm and cool and collected,” Frazier said. “I would say Garrett is definitely a little more sparky and Nicco is more serious.”

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