Grier ready to take over at quarterback for West Virginia
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen sees quarterback Will Grier's limited resume as a positive.
Grier joins the Mountaineers for the 2017 season after transferring from Florida, where he played in six games as a freshman in 2015.
A 6-foot-1 junior, Grier has ''got the locker room ready to roll,'' Holgorsen said. ''He gets them out there and watches film with them and throws a lot of stuff with them. He controls the huddle. He does everything right.''
After leading Florida to a 6-0 start, now Grier gets to prove himself again. Big 12 media voted him the league's top newcomer in 2017.
Grier admitted using an over-the-counter supplement that led to his suspension at Florida, and he wasn't ruled eligible by the NCAA until this summer. Holgorsen wanted Grier because 2016 was quarterback Skyler Howard's senior season with no heir apparent on the team.
Grier threw for 1,204 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions with the Gators. He had six TD passes over a span of three quarters in two games, including 271 yards and four TDs against Mississippi .
Grier isn't the only new aspect on West Virginia's offense. For the first time, Holgorsen won't be handing play-calling duties. That responsibility falls to offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, who returned to WVU in January.
In Spavital's only season as Cal's offensive coordinator, Davis Webb threw for 4,295 and 37 touchdowns last season. Spavital was West Virginia's quarterbacks coach in 2011 and 2012 when Geno Smith set numerous school records.
''I felt like it was just a good time to turn some things over to him to take some of that off my plate and do some other things within the program that I think will help us keep on that upward swing,'' Holgorsen said.
Solid depth at running back should take some of the pressure off Grier and Spavital.
Justin Crawford is the Big 12's top returning rusher after compiling 1,184 yards last season, including 331 against Oklahoma and 209 against Baylor. He'll get some help from two players with proven ability. Kennedy McKoy started two games and had a season-high 127 rushing yards against Kansas. Martell Pettaway ran for 181 yards in his debut against Iowa State.
Here's what else to look for from the Mountaineers as they try to build off a 10-3 season in 2016:
YOUNG DEFENSE: West Virginia lost all three starters on the defensive line, top tackler Justin Arndt at linebacker and four of five starters in the secondary. Sophomore linebacker David Long, who started 10 games last season, will miss at least the first month of the season with a knee injury. Among those back are redshirt freshman linebacker Brendan Ferns and junior safety Dravon Askew-Henry. Both missed the 2016 season with knee injuries sustained in preseason practice.
WR DEPTH: The Mountaineers must replace 2016 leading receivers Daikiel Shorts and Shelton Gibson, and Holgorsen said junior Jovon Durante is dealing with personal issues and has yet to report to practice. The top returning receiver, Ka'Raun White (48 catches, 583 yards) missed the final two games with a broken leg. David Sills, who played sparingly in 2015, returns to the team after trying to prove himself as a quarterback at California's El Camino College.
KEY GAMES: Oklahoma State at home, Oct. 28; at Kansas State, Nov. 11; Texas at home, Nov. 18.
PREDICTION: The Mountaineers could struggle to become bowl eligible with so many questions on defense and at wide receiver. West Virginia likely won't be favored for league games at TCU, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma, teams they are 1-7 against on the road since joining the conference in 2012.
SEASON OPENER: West Virginia opens Sept. 3 against Virginia Tech in Landover, Maryland.
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