Family Over Football This Weekend For WVU’s Will Grier
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Family plays a key role in Will Grier’s life. That has always been evident but was especially clear Tuesday afternoon, when the Mountaineer senior quarterback answered questions from the assembled media with his two-year-old daughter Eloise in his arms.
The inquisitive toddler was the focus of much of the attention, even more so than the Heisman Trophy candidate holding her. Eloise checked out all the microphones and recorders, and brought plenty of laughs as she entertained herself with the equipment originally aimed at her father.
While Eloise was safely in her daddy’s hands, Will’s thoughts also went to the safety and security of other members of his family who are scattered around the Carolinas and facing the wrath of Hurricane Florence.
Grier’s Mountaineers were slated to meet N.C. State in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday, but that game will not be played this coming weekend because of bigger issues the area is facing with the impending severe weather.
Will, his wife Jeanne and Eloise are going to remain safely tucked away in Morgantown, but other members of the Grier family potentially could be in harm’s way.
Will’s father Chad Grier is a high school football coach near Charleston, S.C., and he and his wife Nila (Will’s stepmother) are among those in that coastal area who are under mandatory evacuation orders. Will’s mother, Elizabeth Floyd, and her family live near Will’s hometown of Davidson, N.C., which is further inland but also in the likely path of the hurricane.
“I haven’t talked to my dad yet, but I am going to talk to him right after this,” said Will Tuesday afternoon. “He has to evacuate, and my mom will eventually. North Carolina doesn’t get a ton of hurricanes, so I think everyone is nervous and scared. It is a big storm. I have a lot of friends and family who are nervous about it. I always advise people to take precautions, especially my mom. I’d like for her to get away.
“If they need it, I’ve go room for them (in Morgantown). I’m hopeful everyone is safe. That’s my biggest concern.”
Official reports of the game’s cancellation broke about 12:25 p.m., on Tuesday. WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen had actually just concluded his weekly press conference before definitive word came down. But by the time Will and Eloise reached the podium, West Virginia officials had announced the game with N.C. State would not be played on Saturday.
“I just heard the news, and I haven’t had a whole lot of time to digest it,” explained Grier. “We were preparing to play N.C. State this weekend. I have not had a whole lot of time to gather my thoughts, but you can’t control everything. We’re going to have to pivot and move forward.”
Having led WVU to a 2-0 start on the season, Grier is currently fourth in the FBS ranks in passing yards (380.5 per game) and No. 3 in passing efficiency in large part because he has nine touchdown passes and just one interception while completing 76.7 percent of his throws.
After opening the season with a 40-14 win over Tennessee in Charlotte and then handling Youngstown State, 52-17, in Morgantown, WVU now gets an unexpected weekend off. For the Mountaineers, it’s a missed opportunity to face another Power 5 non-conference opponent. For Grier, it’s a missed chance to play a second game in the space of 14 days in his home state in front of a large contingent of friends and family.
But Grier noted there are things more important at stake.
“We wanted to compete, and we wanted to play the game,” he explained. “That’s how everyone feels. But some things are out of our hands. I’ll be relieved if everyone is safe from the storm. That’s my first concern. I’d obviously like to play the game, but we’re going to have to adjust.
“I haven’t gotten my thoughts together completely on the situation, but right now my thoughts are just with everyone in that area.”
Grier and many of teammates will keep a close eye on what happens in the Carolinas. They’ll also start to turn their attention to the Kansas State Wildcats, who comes to Mountaineer Field on Sept. 22 for the first Big 12 of the season for both squads.