As the season comes to a close, over the next week we are going to give our ten takeaways from the season.
Will Grier Was As Good As Advertised:
The 2017 Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the year lived up to the hype, claiming the award Big 12 writers predicted he’d win back in August.
His second half performance against Virginia Tech gave an early indication that the Redshirt Transfer was ready to leave his mark in Morgantown. Grier in that opening game passed for 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Although the Mountaineers did go on to lose that game due to a number of reasons, Grier was nothing less than impressive throughout the season.
Despite his injury in week 11 finished the season as the Big 12’s third leading passer throwing for 3,490 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
Grier’s best important attribute was his ability to put the Mountaineers in a position to win. Some forgettable first halves for the Redshirt Junior, but he always seemed to come through when it mattered. For example, Texas Tech. Going into halftime down by 11, and after giving up a touchdown coming out of halftime to the Red Raiders, Grier hooked up with Wide Receivers David SIlls V and Ka’Raun White two times each to comeback and defeat Texas Tech on Homecoming 46-35.
Even when it seemed like the Mountaineers had games in the bag, but some busted plays on defense or interceptions from Grier allowed some teams to keep it close. The Mountaineers had obliterated Baylor and Kansas in the first half of both games respectively, but somehow both teams managed to make it interesting. But Ole’ man Grier, came through and closed it out with lengthy, well-managed drives.
At the end of the day all you can ask from your Quarterback is to put you in a position to win, and at times Grier did more than that. It will be very interesting to see what Senior year has in-store for the North Carolina native.
Jake Spavital Was Good, But Predictable
It was fun to see the home run plays and deep throws throughout the season, but at the end of the day the Mountaineers lived and died by the big play.
Going into the season no one would have been surprised if Grier threw around anywhere between 500-600 passes by seasons end. Given Spavital’s track record.
|2015||Texas A&M||479 Pass attempts|
|2016||Cal/Davis Webb||620 Pass attempts|
at Cal QB Davis Webb threw 620 passes in 2016. The year before in 2015 at Texas A&M, a combined 4 quarterbacks threw 479 passes. The year before Skyler Howard threw 404 passes under Dana Holgorsen and had a good amount of success. Mainly, because of a dependable running game.
The Mountaineers had three exceptional running backs in Justin Crawford, Kennedy McKoy, and Martell Pettaway. It is fair to say the 2016 backfield featuring Rushel Shell, Justin Crawford, and Kennedy McKoy was utilized a lot better. Although Crawford did rush for 1,000-yards in 2017, there were times it felt like Crawford was nonexistent in the game plan. Or He would get a slew of carries early in games, and then the offense would become pass happy. McKoy did rush for 580-yards this season, most of which came towards the end of the season. With many expecting an increased role it seemed like McKoy was underutilized. McKoy has found some success in the wildcat formation.
Taking into account that the Mountaineers loss Grier with just one game left in the season, He threw only 388 passes through 11 games. A bit of a surprise seeing as though Grier threw 53 passes in the first game, and threw 40-plus passes in five games.
There was balance, but not much consistency in the play calling.
Next season will be interesting to see how things play out, considering you are returning your starting quarterback and three of four starting receivers. Which will provide little excuses for 2018.