Preparation Patterns

West Virginia backup Jarrett Brown says preparing as the second string quarterback for the Mountaineers in the Gator Bowl isn't much different from his work all year, but after playing a starring role against Rutgers, he admits he is more excited to get on the field.

"I know Pat is pretty well healed, but I do want to get in there," Brown said before taking the practice field on Friday. "Knowing what I do know, I want to get in there and keep getting better."

The redshirt freshmen, who was a major cog in WVU's 41-39 triple overtime win over Rutgers, has had a taste of the action now, and is eager to get a chance to do more. Although he certainly doesn't wish any ill for White, he believes hs has progressed to the point where he can contribute in any Mountaineer game.

"I think I am on a level now where I know what I am doing all the time," said Brown, who certainly didn't feel that way at the start of the season. "I understand the purposes of how we run things. That's where I want to be at, and hopefully I can get better at it."

Simply calling plays and knowing what he has to do is only part of the quarterback's job. He has to understand and know what his teammates do, and be able to make reads against constantly shifting and changing defensive fronts. And past that, there's the deeper comprehension that only comes with repetitions and experience -- a hard-to-define skill that's often described as "the light coming on" or "putting it all together". Brown thinks he is reaching that level now, although he does admit that he continues to learn with every practice session.

"There's an answer for anything the defense can do. For every coverage they run, there's something we can do against it. I just need to know where everyone is without thinking," Brown explained. "That has come in small steps, with film watching and the extra work I put in after practice. I try to think about football after practice and off the field. I try to be a student of the game."

Brown's work certainly paid off in the Rutgers game, when he saw his first significant action. Despite the fact that it was his first career start, and that a New Year's Day bowl was hanging in the balance, he knew he was prepared. So too did head coach Rich Rodriguez.

"We are pretty confident in Jarrett Brown, not only in his limited [game] action but with what he's done in practice. That is is really where we judge things -- how they progress in practice. Jarrett is practicing very well. I think he got a lot of confidence from playing in the game."

So, while concern over backups for dinged running backs Steve Slaton and Owen Schmitt remains high in the Mountaineer nation, worries over what would follow another Patrick White injury aren't nearly as acute. Brown has shown what he can do, both on the practice field and in games, and should he be required to play, would be expected to again perform at a high level.

"I love being able to play," Brown said as he discussed what getting on the field in a bowl game would mean to him. "I'd love to help the seniors get a win in their last game."

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