Along with Saturday’s Gold-Blue game came the much anticipated debut of redshirt quarterback and Florida transfer, Will Grier.
Though Saturday’s spring game isn’t the exact blueprint of how this season will play out, Grier was impressive in his debut and gave a promising glimpse of what he can do this season, going 12-18 for 202 yards.
“He’s as good as advertised,” West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He’s got complete control. He has a really good idea of what we want him to do offensively.
One thing evident in the Gold-Blue game was Grier’s connection with junior receiver David Stills. Grier and Sills connected six times for 96 yards.
“David has a starting quarterback mentality. He’s extremely, extremely football smart,” Holgorsen said. “That connection has been fun to watch, and over the course of the next two years, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.”
Coming into this spring, one question surrounding West Virginia was the receiver position and the vacancies left my former receivers Daikiel Shorts and Shelton Gibson. With the primary receivers being sophomore Marcus Simms, juniors Gary Jennings, Jovon Durante and Stills for now, it was unclear if Grier would have a favorite target.
Now, we have the idea that Sills may be the top target for Grier during this upcoming season.
Another question though looms around Grier and West Virginia; Is Grier going to be eligible to play in the first six games?
The coaching has remained confident throughout the spring that Grier will be declared eligible to play by the NCAA but there's still a chance that it couldn't go their way. Holgorsen addressed the situation earlier this week again saying he isn't worried.
But behind Grier there are concerns.
Depth remains an issue at quarterback with only three on the roster in addition to Grier with redshirt sophomore Chris Chugunov and redshirt freshman Cody Saunders as well as incoming recruit David Isreal rounding out the list.
Chugunov alternated each possession with Grier, but struggled most of the scrimmage, going just 10-22 for 98 yards while Saunders did not play in the spring game due to a bum shoulder while overthrowing during spring break.
If Grier is suspended, Chugunov would most likely be the starter in Grier’s place. The positive thing with him is that he’s been in the program for three years and knows what is expected of him, but he lacks the game experience Grier has. Still, he could be a reliable starter with more reps and development.
“He’s a very intelligent kid,” Spavital said. “I think he can be a pretty decent quarterback and I feel confident in throwing him out in the game, but we got to just keep getting as many reps for that kid as possible so he can keep learning and growing from it.”
With the thin depth at quarterback, West Virginia is in the process of recruiting quarterbacks to give the position more depth and competition in the future so this current situation can be avoided and solved. Isreal will help those issues.
“We’re looking at other quarterbacks just to bring in,” Spavital said. “I need arms. My arm’s starting to hurt because I’ve threw so many in this spring.”
For now, it looks as if Grier will be the eligible to play from the start, but if he isn’t, the Mountaineers will have this upcoming summer and all of fall camp to prep Chugunov, Saunders and the incoming Isreal for the season.
The official word is expected sometime this summer. Then, we’ll have a better idea of who’ll be taking that first snap against Virginia Tech.