MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–For the first time since 2012, West Virginia’s offense is being nationally touted as not only the best in the Big 12 but the nation.
With all eyes on Morgantown, the question remains, can the Mountaineers live up to the hype?
Several publications have WVU’s receiving corps as the best in the country. Athlon Sports has Will Grier listed as the top quarterback this season ahead of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Penn State’s Trace McSorley and Arizona’s Khalil Tate, to name a few.
And Grier’s name is already popping up in Heisman talks.
“I am very proud to represent West Virginia and I don’t mind speaking on behalf of this football program,” he said. “I think it’s a great program. It’s an honor to represent this program, the state and this university. So I look at it as a great opportunity and to be a voice for this place and it doesn’t distract me or stop me from doing anything I’m doing football wise. I’m just trying to get this team together and be one and win as many games as we can.”
And the Mountaineers find themselves ranked in a few preseason polls.
With fall rapidly approaching, WVU has to put the hoopla aside to find success on the field.
“Anybody can be ranked more in preseason but at the end of the season is that person still ranked?,” senior Dravon Askew-Henry said. “I’m just focused on what I got to do for this team.”
Last season the Mountaineers finished with a 7-6 record for a rather disappointing ending. This year the focus is about finishing.
“We were in some close games last year that we would have liked to have won,” Grier said. “I think what it comes down to is finishing those close games. It seems like we had a chance in a lot of those to get it done and we didn’t. I think this year we are putting a huge emphasis on finishing those close games and taking care of business. I think that will help.”
WVU’s offensive power has enough talent to really put up numbers on opponents this season. Currently, the Mountaineers are just devoting their summer to fixing the small things and bonding.
“We’re just putting in a lot of extra hard work and a lot of fine-tuning some things in order to be that much better,” wide out Gary Jennings Jr. said. “That’s what our goal is.”
In order for the offense to be successful, it will take a collaborate team effort this year.
WVU has a group of stellar wide receivers in David Sills, Jennings, Marcus Simms and Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons.
Justin Crawford is gone but the Mountaineers are hardly hurting for talent at the running back position. Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway both return. Redshirt-freshman Alex Sinkfield is believed to have definite star power.
Don’t forget about the offensive line. WVU is lost Kyle Bosch to graduation but returns four other starters, including Yodny Cajuste and Colton McKivitz.
“At the end of the day, it starts with the offensive line,” Sills said. “If Will isn’t protected by them, then we can’t get the ball and then if Will is obviously putting the ball in a good spot to make plays and everything. It’s not just us. It’s the offensive line, the running backs running the ball well, the pass game. It’s a full collective team effort for those rankings and everything. But we got to kind of look past those and worry about us. We know what we have to do this year and what our goals are so that’s what we’re working for.”
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS