Simms’ Performance Leaves WVU Wondering ‘What If?’
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – We begin by acknowledging a fact of life, that being you cannot go back and change the past, something most of us regret but accept … despite the movie “Back to the Future.”
If we could, imagine how wonderful our life would be, how we could ask for that lottery ticket 10-22-23-38-44 and 7 instead those numbers we played that delivered us squat when we were hoping to win the $300 million that comes with those numbers we would have used.
But after West Virginia beat East Carolina, 56-20, on Saturday, it only seemed fair to wonder — perhaps dream is a better word — of what might have occurred in the opening game last Sunday night had Marcus Simms been allowed to play.
That, of course, led to the revelation of a similar stop in his native Maryland two months earlier, a case that was pending then and that left Holgorsen no choice but to strip Simms, his fleet wide receiver, of a chance to play.
However, had we been able to go back and discover that those Maryland charges would be dropped, totally changing the landscape and clearing the way for Simms to be cleared for action this week … might he have played against Virginia Tech.?
And had he played, could the outcome of that tense game have been different?
Certainly, it’s a loaded question and as coaches, the WVU staff couldn’t really answer as they probably wanted to, but no such restrictions are placed upon fans or columnists and from what Simms showed in his first action on Saturday, he well may have changed the outcome of that game.
As for Holgorsen, when he was asked, he sort of smiled, knowing that there really wasn’t any answer he could give unequivocally.
“Probably,” he said. “He’s a good player. You kind of want your to play your good players.”
He paused, thinking of what he had just said, then added “There’s a news flash.”
Film at 11.
Moving on to the new offensive coordinator, Jake Spavital, who is a son of a … coach. Well, he also offered this when asked if he would like to take a shot at Virginia Tech again with Simms playing.
“We’re on to Delaware State,” he hedged.
Will Grier, one of the beneficiaries of Simms abilities, didn’t hedge when asked if he’d like another shot at Virginia Tech with Simms in the game.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It was a really fun game. I think we all love playing in games like that.”
Could Simms really have made a difference?
“I’m sure, he’s a great player. We have a lot of guys who would like to play that game again,” Grier said.
What does Simms bring?
“Speed,” said Grier. “He has a different gear. He is extremely fast. It certainly adds an element to the offense.”
Simms twice went deep and nearly burned ECU, catching one ball with a foot barely out of bounds and another barely having it stripped as he came down.
And then there was a third play, a post for a 52-yard touchdown.
“Marcus has unique speed,” Spavital said. “He can stretch the field. With him back I wanted to stretch the field and see if they (Grier and Simms) could do it. You see it practice but I wanted to see it in a live atmosphere.
“I thought the one they scored on was a beautiful play. You don’t see very many like that in college football, where the quarterback has a lot of time, the quarterback throws it 60 yards and the guy catches it in perfect stride and the guy runs away from his defender. That was pleasing to see that.”
But it isn’t only on offense that he helps.
You remember them. Other teams do them, now maybe WVU can.
Simms returning the first he saw for 23 yards, getting an ovation from a crowd that had not seen a WVU punt return brought back that far since 2014.
And then, rather than letting one hit and bounce, he came up made a diving catch on it so it didn’t roll to one. Then there was another fair catch by him on which he was hit in the face, drawing a 15-yard penalty.
If you really want to now about Simms, though, you go to David Sills V, the kid who plays wide receiver with the quarterback perspective.
“He’s great with the ball in his hands. That dude can fly. He can really fly. It’s going to be tough for a lot of DBs around the country to keep up with him,” Sills said.
But could WVU have changed the outcome last week if Simms had played?
“I think he would have definitely made a difference. We schemed the way we did knowing we didn’t have him. His speed is something you can’t teach,” Sills said.