MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Will Grier will be West Virginia’s go-to guy in the season opener against Tennessee. However, what happens if the Heisman candidate suffers an injury like last season.
When Grier broke his hand against Texas, the Mountaineers struggled the rest of the season.
However, this season, WVU has more depth behind Grier in newcomer Trey Lowe III and Miami transfer Jack Allison.
“Spring was great for both of them because we threw them into the fire,” offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. “They got a lot of valuable reps there. It was great for Trey to be a mid-year transfer, mid-year graduate from high school to be there and get some reps. I think where the progress was made, where strides were made was in the summertime.
“I thought they had a great summer in terms of just focusing on the communication part of our offense and the operation of it, where with these young quarterbacks, their heads are spinning all the time on just making sure that they’re on the right play where they can’t focus on the defense and execute it cleanly. I think with all the work they did over the summer they’re more comfortable in the backfield right now. We are comfortable playing any of those guys right now.”
During his senior year, the 6-foot-2, 211-pound Lowe, finished with 2,759 total yards and 30 touchdowns. He completed 108-of-167 passes for 1,819 yards, 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Also, he ran for 940 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Collierville, Tenn. native was a three-time all-district selection.
While the 6-foot-6, 203-pound Allison, passed for 1,400 yards and had 11 touchdown passes his senior campaign, completing 62.1 percent of his passes. He was a four-star prospect by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout.
The Palmetto, Fla. native ranked as the eighth-best quarterback in the country and 19th–best overall prospect in the state of Florida.
While Lowe is new to the program, Allison had a year to learn the Mountaineers’ offense and from Will Grier.
Each quarterback is extremely talented but they both bring something different to the table.
“I think they are two good high school quarterbacks,” Spavital said. “They both can throw the ball but they’re just different. I think Trey is a little more athletic and you can utilize him more in quarterback run game and it would just be a different style of offense. Jack is a pocket guy, where you have to utilize more of your backfield and stuff to get more guys open in space. They are both very efficient in what they do. They’re just going to be two different offenses when you look at it.”
Grier has been imperative in their growth this season.
“There’s no egos in that room, where I want them asking me questions but at the same time ask Will questions,” Spavital said. “They do a good job. ‘Hey Will how do you read this play’ or ‘what’s your thought on this’. Will gives them a lot of advice. I think they are both like sponges right now and are trying to absorb as much information as they can from him because he’s been in a lot of situations and played a lot of ball. He’s been great to the progress of those two.”
Despite their differences both Allison and Lowe have taken away a lot from the veteran quarterback.
“They’ve developed a lot since spring going into the fall,” he said. “They’ve both gotten a lot better, more comfortable in the offense, and they bring different stuff to the table. But, really, they’re an impressive group. They’re big, smart, talented guys, and they’re good people that get along with everybody, which is an important trait in my mind, as a quarterback. They’re good with the rest of the team.”
Having Allison and Lowe in the wings has even benefited Grier.
“It’s good, healthy dialogue in the meeting room, especially, too,” Grier said. “With Spav in there, we all just talk and continue to not just critique but talk ball; if you did this, or in this situation, if you did this, that was fine, but it’d be better if you do this. That kind of thing. It’s good stuff. They’re further ahead. Trey’s a young guy, but he’s further ahead, mentally. Jack’s an older guy now, and he’s understanding the game. It’s good, healthy dialogue.”
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS