Marchiol's offseason improvements come to fruition in spring game

May 4—MORGANTOWN — For someone who's only started one game and hasn't even thrown 70 passes in college, WVU backup quarterback Nicco Marchiol has his fair share of memorable moments already.

Marchiol has won three games for the Mountaineers as an injury replacement—at Oklahoma State in 2022 and against Pitt and TCU last season.

While the redshirt sophomore left-hander didn't exactly look polished in any of those outings, he did enough each time to get the victory. And enough to endear himself to the fanbase—beating Pitt in the first Backyard Brawl in Morgantown in over 10 years will do that.

All told, Marchiol has completed 34 of 66 passes across 12 career games for 308 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He's never thrown for more than 100 yards in a single game and has also run for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Now entering his third year with the program, Marchiol seems to be taking that next step as a player this spring.

"I think a lot of his development this spring especially has really gone to his work off the field, " starting quarterback Garrett Greene said. "He's really committed, basically his life, to being a quarterback and being a better quarterback. To be successful at quarterback at his level, that's really something you have to do. Being a quarterback is a full-time job, whether that's in the classroom, on the field, or in film."

WVU coach Neal Brown called Marchiol the Mountaineers' most-improved player over the team's 14 spring practices and that improvement was on full display during the Gold-Blue spring game last Saturday.

The final numbers are nothing to write home about—10 of 19 passing for 82 yards with a touchdown and an interception—but Marchiol got off to a red-hot start and really flashed at times. He completed eight of his first nine passes for 71 yards. His seventh throw was a seven-yard touchdown to Hudson Clement along the side of the end zone.

"Nicco gave me a great ball on the outside shoulder and I made the adjustment and got the catch, " Clement said.

Marchiol also threw Clement a perfectly placed ball in the corner of the end zone for another touchdown during a one-on-one drill that didn't count in his final statistics.

"Nicco's throws on both of them were very good, " Clement said.

As if a reminder that he has not arrived just yet, Marchiol only completed two of his final 10 throws. That included a red-zone interception he floated to Ayden Garnes six seconds before halftime.

"He'd like to have that one throw right before half back, " Brown said. "The deal is you've got six seconds so you want to make sure you either throw it in the end zone or you've got to kill the clock and give yourself a chance to get three points. The only thing you can't do there is turn it over."

That's been part of what has held Marchiol back some through his first two seasons. He has the physical talent—he was a four-star recruit—but the mental aspect of playing quarterback hasn't always been sharp with him. Quarterbacks coach Tyler Allen said Marchiol had a bad habit of looking at receivers instead of looking at the space where they'll get open.

"Those are great teaching moments, " Brown said. "It's hard to replicate that in practice so I'm glad we have it on tape so we can teach off of it."

In many ways, Marchiol's development is mirroring Greene's. Like Marchiol, Greene played sparingly over his first few seasons as a Mountaineer and the numbers weren't always great. But his physical gifts were apparent and it just took some smoothing out before he was really able to succeed.

Greene gives a lot of credit for his development to watching how former WVU quarterbacks Jarret Doege and JT Daniels prepared for games. Now Greene is trying to be that kind of mentor for Marchiol.

"I've learned a lot, " Greene said. "I always talk about Doege and JT and their preparation, how they took care of their bodies and how they studied film. All the knowledge that I learned from those two great guys, I'm trying to pass on to Nicco and then Nicco will do the same with the younger quarterbacks."

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