In Grier WVU Trusts
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the end, football is a simple game.
Sure, they try to make you think it’s complicated. Playbooks thicker than the Manhattan — and that’s New York, not Kansas — telephone directory. More tape than the NBC television network. Rule books that you need a Ph.D. to decipher.
There’s more coaches than English professors in the English department, more statistics than the census bureau ever dreamed of and to broadcast a game they need a play-by-play man, a color commentator, a sideline reporter, a rules expert, a four-man or woman pre-game panel and more technicians than NASA used to send man to the moon.
And, you know what?
In the end it usually comes down to the best quarterback wins.
Who’s No. 1 in the nation? Alabama. How good is their quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa?
Good enough that he forced them to bench a player who was 26-2 over the past seasons, winning one national championship.
And closer to home, look at the Big 12.
There are four teams with one or two conference losses — West Virginia and Oklahoma with one, Iowa State and Texas with two.
Who are their quarterbacks?
West Virginia Will Grier, Oklahoma Kyler Murray, Iowa State Alan Bowman and Texas Sam Ehlinger.
Now looking at passing efficiency. It goes this way: 1. Murray, 2. Grier, 3. Tyler Cornelius, Oklahoma State, 4. Bowman, 5. Ehlinger.
OK, Cornelius sneaks in there at No. 3 but, know that he came within a two-point conversion of beating Oklahoma this week, passing for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns.
And that’s why West Virginia has so much faith in itself.
There’s other factors, sure, but Grier is the hammer and as they go into their final two games facing Cornelius at Oklahoma State and Murray when Oklahoma comes to town the day after Thanksgiving, they believe in Will Grier.
“He’s coming off his best performance yet,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said during Monday’s Big 12 coaches conference call. “He played lights out. He controlled the whole game.”
That was, of course, against TCU.
Yes, this is a down season for the Horned Frogs, but it is a defense proven over the years.
Grier, though, seemed to have a grasp on everything they tried to do.
“Gary (Patterson) does such a great job of coaching up the defense … everything was contested but Will put guys in position to make plays all game” Holgorsen said. “We scored 47 on them and that doesn’t happen to them very often … and that’s because of Will Grier.
“He controlled the tempo. He understood when to push it, when not to push it. He understood what they were doing defensively and got us into better plays. He was accurate. Shoot, I think he only missed like two passes, but there were like five drops.
“He managed everything pretty well and we are going to need that kind of performance every week.”
Grier, you see, is not just an arm back there. He is a thinking man’s quarterback, he is what they used to call a field general, someone who has earned the respect of those around him and sets the tone for the game.
It is the same thing you have seen in all the great quarterbacks from Tom Brady back to Bobby Layne, from Joe Namath to Brett Favre, from Joe Montana to Bart Starr to Troy Aikman.
They think, they play, they compete, they lead… and in the Big 12 there are a lot of those types of players who define the league itself and who make the difference between champions and also-rans.