Use of TEs Key To More Success For Grier, WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Consider the source.
That’s as good of a piece of advice as you ever get, especially in this age of social media and talk show blowhards where everyone is a critic, but so few know what they are talking about.
This brings us to a one-time NFL scout and self-proclaimed expert on quarterbacks in Denver who preaches his views on the airwaves and via Twitter and any other way he can draw attention to himself.
So we won’t mention his name, simply offer his opinion on WVU’s returning quarterback Will Grier, who many believe is a budding first-round draft pick for next season and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.
It seems this “expert” doesn’t think that way, arguing a number of technical faults in his game, a lack of height and “character issues”, a criticism so badly misplaced as to be comical.
But, as noted, it is best to consider the source.
This is the same draft guru who put forth on social media this opinion on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
“I think RB Saquon Barkley isn’t going to go as high as people think. No one I talked to had him top 7. That’s not to say he isn’t talented, but it appears media higher on him than league.”
He went second in the draft.
Now we will not get into here whether Grier is a potential first-round quarterback, for that is a subject for smarter men than this one, whose idea of looking into the future is planning Sunday’s dinner on Saturday night.
We just let the numbers speak for themselves and they show that he passed for 3,490 yards last year, a figure topped in WVU history only by Geno Smith and Marc Bulger, despite missing two and a half games, while also throwing 34 touchdowns, topped only by Smith in 2011.
But that was last year and every indication is that this should be a much improved season for Grier, one in which first of all you must assume he will retain his health for the whole season, will benefit from the experience of being in the offense for a season and has back David Sills V, the national leader in TD passes caught; along with Gary Jennings and Marcus Simms.
That, however, is not the reason Grier should blossom even further and the real reason is one that many either overlook or scoff at and that is this coming season WVU promises to infuse its offense with a pass-catching threat from the tight end spot.
It has become something of an obsession with coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.
It has reached the point that they believe they have two talented tight end targets in Trevon Wesco and redshirt sophomore Jovani Haskins.
How important is this?
Last year’s fullback/tight end Elijah Wellman, who recently signed as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins, recently appeared on the MetroNews Statewide Sportsline and was asked who on the offense might emerge this season from the shadows as a big contributor.
He did not hesitate with his answer.
“Trevon Wesco. We we were bringing in a little bit of tight end offense and stuff before I was done. He’s a big body and a very athletic guy who can get those tight end catches and blocks. I think he’s going to have a big season,” he said.
“I heard that he really tore it up in the off-season work outs. I have a lot of respect for that guy. I think he can go out there and have a good year for himself this year.”
If WVU has a pass-catching threat at tight end, it makes a huge difference in the offense and Wellman explained why.
“There are some tight end looks now and we have some athletic guys who can go up and get the ball and gain a few yards after they do. They are some decent targets, especially with people playing back on our receivers and not letting them get past them,” he said.
“Those quick dump downs to our tight ends are going to be key.”
That is exactly what Spavital is looking for from this change, to force underneath coverage which will create more one-on-one coverage deep and make teams think twice about sending linebackers to blitz.
“I think you can do a lot more when you have that tight end element,” Spavital said. “I started doing a lot of that when I was at Texas A&M. I didn’t have very many tight ends at Cal, but last year, we really had one true tight end body. You weren’t going to put Elijah in those attach tight end situations being 245-250 pounds.
“Now we are getting these tight end bodies that are 270 pounds and can move. You can get real multiple with it. You can still have a run threat, but also have a dimension where they can stretch the field and get out on pass concepts.
“I always have been a big fan of tight ends. I think the way we have recruited and where we are at now, we are going to have five 6-foot-4 tight end bodies going into fall camp. I think that’s exactly where we want to be.”
Either way, it is going to open up things for both Grier to be even more effective than last year and with another blocker should give WVU’s running game a boost as well.
If all that occurs, along with an improved won-lost record, Grier becomes a key figure in the Heisman Trophy picture.