Troy gears up for Fan Day scrimmage, Sumrall discusses new QB

The Troy Trojans football team will hold its second scrimmage of fall practices on Saturday, Aug. 20, as a part of its annual Fan Day event.

Troy comes into the second scrimmage off the heels of adding a new quarterback to the roster in former West Virginia and Western Kentucky signal caller Jarret Doege, news The Messenger broke on Thursday.

“When he decided to go into the transfer portal, we accessed where we are as a team and we had an open scholarship,” Sumrall said. “We were sitting on an open spot and it felt like having the opportunity to add someone who has played that position for that length of time and has had the productivity he has could add value to our football team and our roster.”

Doege is coming to Troy after spending the spring and first part of fall camp at Western Kentucky, which is also a 2022 opponent on Troy’s schedule. Doege comes to Troy as the active FBS leader in both career passing yards (10,494) and touchdowns (79). He earned Big XII honors in 2020 at West Virginia, and also was ranked second in pasing in the Big XII in both 2020 and 2021. He also ended his WVU career No. 5 on the school’s passing list.

Sumrall pointed to the lack of experience among his quarterbacks as a key reason in bringing Doege in.

“We really just felt like it was an opportunity where we felt like we would help bolster our team in regards to positioning ourselves hopefully for 13 or 14 games this year” Sumrall said. “I think everyone knows we’ve had some quarterback competition going on here and all of those guys have done some things really well.

“To be fully transparent, I believe that everyone in that quarterback room has the opportunity to be a really good player for us, but the only current quarterback on our team that had played in a Division I football game was Gunnar (Watson).”

With redshirt freshmen Quayde Hawkins and Peter Costelli, as well as true freshman Tucker Kilcrease, all vying for the quarterback job with Watson, Sumrall said the addition of Doege could also help the Trojans possibly not have to throw a younger player into a game before they’re ready.

“For us to be able to add that experience to that position group just gives us a more stable environment in there to maybe not have to push someone into action before they’re quite ready fully,” he emphasized. “We believe all of those guys are going to be great players for us but it’s as much about allowing us to not have to squeeze someone into being forced into action before they’re ready.”

Sumrall also spoke with his quarterbacks before making the decision to sign Doege.

“When you’re talking about bringing in a quarterback with experience like that this late there are really a couple of things that have to be discussed,” Sumrall continued. “One of the main things is how do the guys that are on our current roster – that we deeply care about and are fully invested in developing – feel about it?

“We have to make sure they understand the why because they matter, who is on our team right now matters more than anyone else outside of our team to me. I wanted to make sure I had a chance to sit down with each of those young men before making anything final and let them understand why it was needed. They all understand, we have quality young men on this team and I think the other guys in that quarterback room are aware that it makes sense to do this.”

While an addition like Doege to the roster will surely up the competition at the position as fall practices continue, Sumrall also acknowledged it could benefit some of the young quarterbacks, as well.

“Does it mean that another quality guy in that room may make it harder for some of those guys? Sure, it may make it harder for certain guys to get on the field right now but at the end of the day it’s about how we position the 2022 football team to have success,” said Sumrall. “Jarret has played a lot of football and he gives us another quality player that has experience to bolster what we’re doing here.

“If those younger guys in the room use it the right way it will do nothing but help their development and their maturation in how they improve their game to learn from another guy that has been around the block a few times.”

Doege played for former Troy coach Neal Brown at West Virginia and Sumrall served on Brown’s staff at Troy. That connection also benefited Sumrall when evaluating whether he should bring Doege onto the Troy campus.

“It’s obvious that I have history with the staff that’s at West Virginia and I’m close friends with those guys,” said Sumrall. “So, there was contact between me and that staff to make sure he was the kind of guy that would fit here.”

Doege comes into a situation in which he has to now learn Troy’s offense in just a few weeks before the season opener to be able to have a shot at getting on the field.

“Without a question there is a learning curve in regards to the fact that we’re not running the exact same offense he’s been in,” Sumrall said. “I think he has a little bit of a football junkie in him and I’ve seen him around the building on his own doing a lot since he arrived yesterday.

“So, I feel like he has a lot of catching up to do but when you’ve played the amount of snaps and have the amount of experience he has to draw on, it probably gives him a little easier learning curve than say a guy that’s just brand new and hasn’t played any college football yet.”

Now, all eyes turn to Troy’s Fan Day Scrimmage this Saturday, which Sumrall says will feature more situational work. Sumrall said that some of those situations will include the offense starting out a drive on the 2-yard line, two-minute drills, lots of special teams work, an overtime period and possibly even some unplanned situations.

“I might even throw a couple of things out there that the coaches aren’t ready for, to see how we adjust as a staff,” Sumrall said. “They know most of the stuff that’s coming but I might add one or two situations that we haven’t discussed as a staff just to see how we handle sudden change.

“We’re really just trying to get dialed in on some situational stuff that I think is vital for us to find our edge in having the ability to create the opportunity for us to win games. I think we have to be great situational masters.”

Fan Day begins at 11 a.m. and there will be free Conecuh Dogs, drinks and signed team posters for fans in attendance. Fans will also be allowed to come on the field after the scrimmage to take pictures with players.

“We’re excited to see our fans,” said Sumrall. “One of the greatest things about Troy University and Troy University Football is we’ve got the best fan base in the Sun Belt Conference, and our players are excited about engaging and connecting with them Saturday.”

Following Saturday’s scrimmage, the Trojans will move their attention to Week 1 opponent Ole Miss.

“After this Saturday’s scrimmage, we’ll start to transition in the direction of Ole Miss,” Sumrall said. “We’ve been focused on (ourselves) since the start of camp and who will be the guys we take to the game with us.

“There have been some calls that we like better against certain opponents we’ve worked in, but next week we’ll start to transition even more. It will be some good on good, but in a game-week setup.”