A Good Debut

Though he was only in for a handful of plays, redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Brown made the most of his opportunity on Saturday.

Brown played the final three minutes and change of Saturday's win over Marshall. His time, while limited, was very productive. His first collegiate pass attempt? A six yard completion to fullback Max Anderson. Brown then scored a touchdown on a seven yard scramble to give West Virginia its final points of the game.

"It was originally a pass, but the linebacker was blitzing kind of fast so I had to make him miss," explained Brown of his touchdown run. "I did, and then I saw a straight lane and just took off."

His play left a mark not only on the fans, but on his teammates and coaches.

"I was hoping when he went in that he'd get (a touchdown)," said starting quarterback Patrick White. "He got the job done, led the team, and got us in the endzone."

When asked if he taught Brown the juke move that sent a would-be Marshall tackler grappling at nothing but thin air, White responded: "He taught me that. I think he juked about three of them!"

Brown's high school credentials made him one of West Virginia's top recruits for the class of 2005. A first team Class 6A All-State selection from Palm Beach Lakes High, Brown totaled more than 1,800 yards passing and 18 touchdowns as a senior. He added another 485 yards on the ground while leading the Rams to the state quarterfinals.

Like most freshmen, he redshirted his first year on campus. Mountaineer coaches thought they had something special in Brown, even during his redshirt season.

"All he needs is experience. He was on the scout team reading cards all year, and he's got one spring under his belt," says quarterbacks coach Bill Stewart. "It's like a nice young colt. You give him a tight rein at first, then you let off a little more, and a little bit more, and he'll come around."

Making his transition from scout team to varsity much easier is his attitude. During our interview after the game, Brown was smiling and laughing the whole time. According to Stewart, that's nothing out of the ordinary.

"Oh golly he's a great kid. He's always smiling," said the New Martinsville native, who has been an assistant to both Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez. "He's pleasant, and he's a good human being. He's very coachable. He's sharp mentally, very sharp. He's a student of the game, but he's just got to get in the game. He's got to get some more plays, and we'll make sure he does that along the way."

There's still plenty for him to work on. Let's face it, he's only played a handful of snaps at this level, and all of those came against an inferior opponent at the end of a blowout. Still, you can see that he has the ability to be a great player down the road. Even some of the little things he did on Saturday stood out.

"He did very well," said Stewart. "What excited me about Jarrett is that when he went in the game, he was doing some things that an old veteran would do. He was giving them a leg kick, trying to get the defense to show what they were in. They were trying to disguise the coverage they were in, and he looked at it like a veteran. His handoffs were good; he threw a good ball, and then he scored a touchdown on a pretty remarkable run. He was only in there for four plays, but he did well."

He's certainly not at the level of Pat White yet, but then again nobody is. When the call comes for him to play, he'll be ready.

"He's starting to (really understand the game), but he's still young and wet behind the ears," Stewart noted. "We wouldn't hesitate to play him though. He's just got to keep learning. I feel good about him."

As for his touchdown?

"I'm greatful for that," said the 6-4, 220 pound signal-caller. "I'm very excited, and it couldn't have happened any better than that. I know my family's proud of me. I want to thank Coach Rod for putting me in with a chance to score. It's great to get a score in my first game on the collegiate level."

Hopefully for Brown, it's the first of many. All indications are that it was just that.

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