Holgorsen Dissects Play Of Simms, Grier & WVU Defense

Holgorsen Dissects Play Of Simms, Grier & WVU Defense


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There wasn’t much head coach Dana Holorsen didn’t like about West Virginia’s 56-20 dismantling of East Carolina here Saturday.

The Mountaineers rolled to 619 yards of offense, including 403 through the air. A whopping 352 of that came via the arm of Will Grier, who connected on 19-of-25 passes for five touchdowns. That benchmark ties for the fourth-most in a single game in school history as Grier became just the seventh Mountaineer ever to accomplish the feat.

“He started better,” Holgorsen said. “Last week it took him a half to get going. This week, it appeared he was very comfortable from snap one. I think that’s going to continue to improve. The timing aspect of it, he’s getting the speed of the game and just the overall timing with receivers.”

Grier connected with David Sills three times, giving the pair five touchdowns in the first two games. He also found freshman Marcus Simms for a 52-yard score when the speedster burned the ECU secondary. Grier lofted a beautiful ball that traveled more than 60 yards in the air, landing right in Simms’ hands in full stride. It showed the pure passing ability of Grier – and more exasperatingly, exactly what WVU was missing in the opener, when Simms was suspended.

Simms finished with the one catch for 52 yards, but also flashed his athleticism on a 21-yard punt return. His ability to stretch the Pirates vertically helped open up the intermediate game, and forced a single high safety to choose a side of the field. That freed Sills and Ka’Raun White to make big plays, and allowed a running game that amassed 216 yards a bit more room. It begged the question: If Simms had played, might WVU have beaten Virginia Tech in the opener?

“Probably,” Holgorsen said. “He’s a good player. You kinda want to play your good players. There’s a news flash.”

Check out the rest of Holgorsen’s interview session, including delving into the defense, special teams and if WVU has a placekicking issue after Mike Molina missed a pair of kicks outside of 40 yards.