MORGANTOWN - At roughly the same time Seth Doege walked into the Texas Tech football program in January of 2008, Dana Holgorsen was walking out.
Well, OK, perhaps walked isn't the right term. For either.
For Doege, it was more of a limp after having not played a single down of football as either a junior or senior at Frenship High School in Lubbock, Texas.
For Holgorsen, it was more of the start of a mad dash, rather than a walk, toward three jobs - four, if you count his aborted tenure as West Virginia's offensive coach/head coach in waiting - in the next four years.
Still, the two remain bound by a common thread, one that had it not existed might make Saturday's game between No. 5 West Virginia and Texas Tech in Lubbock a lot different.
Holgorsen would no doubt be the coach at WVU, but who knows what might have happened to Doege?
"I guess I owe him a lot, him and the other coaches that were there at the time,'' Doege said. "If they hadn't done what they did, my career probably would have turned out a lot different.''
Indeed, in the past year Doege has become one of the most prolific passers in the country. On Saturday, West Virginia will face a fifth-year senior quarterback who as a first-year starter in 2011 put up some almost Geno Smith-like numbers for the Red Raiders, throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns.
In the pass-centric Big 12, Doege ranked third in the league in passing behind Brandon Weeden and Landry Jones, but ahead of first-round NFL draft picks Robert Griffin III (the Heisman Trophy winner) and Ryan Tannehill. Not bad company.
But that Doege even had a chance to play college football is perhaps a testament to something that seems rare these days - commitment and integrity. By coaches.
As a sophomore at Crane High School in Texas, Doege exploded onto the scene. He passed for 2,439 yards and 27 touchdowns and Crane finished 13-1. Already he was being recruited by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Florida, along with Mike Leach and Holgorsen at Texas Tech.
But then in the summer of 2006, after his coach and father switched jobs and he enrolled at Frenship, he blew out his knee and missed his entire junior season. A year later, he blew out the other knee and had to sit out his senior year. Pretty much the only thing he was able to do on a football field were the 7-on-7 camps during the summer that preceded each injury.
Yet Texas Tech, which had already offered a scholarship, never wavered. When it was time to sign on the dotted line, they presented him with a dotted line to sign on.
"It was the right thing to do,'' Holgorsen said. "Keep in mind, too, he was in a Lubbock high school for two years and we saw him all the time. There was a friendship that existed.''
Holgorsen never got a chance to coach him, though. It was in January of 2008 when Doege enrolled as an early high school graduate at Texas Tech at the same time Holgorsen was taking the job as the offensive coordinator at Houston.