There are many observations one can take away from this spring’s Gold – Blue Scrimmage.
Those who witnessed the scrimmage saw a defense with a lot of positives and huge upside. There was plenty of depth to go around at all positions.
The defense swarmed the offense and created many turnovers. The defense appeared to live up to all the hype.
We saw returners catching both punts and kick-offs. There was no tackling on special teams.
The returners can catch a kick and a punt when they have room to do so. I’m curious to see if the punt return blocking is also improved.
My first surprise was not when Skyler Howard took the first snaps at quarterback, but when Chris Chugunov took over in the 2nd series of the WVU offense. William Crest played some quarterback, but he was also one of the returners and played more at outside receiver than at quarterback.
I have been stating since I first saw the high school highlights of Crest that he appeared to be more of a receiver than a quarterback, and after how he played today, I’ll stick with this. Crest is a natural at receiver, and struggles at being quarterback.
One of the best moves I have seen is moving Jacky Marcellus from WR to RB. The play of Marcellus in the Gold – Blue Scrimmage should make any highlight videos. Of all the RBs Marcellus showed both his illusiveness and speed. Marcellus should give defenses a lot of trouble this fall.
It was also good to finally see Donte Thomas-Williams. Here is another offensive player that lived up the hype in the Gold-Blue Scrimmage. DTW showed his speed and his moves. He also showed he will lower his shoulders when taking on defenders.
Shelton Gibson was no surprise, but we still saw his lack of consistency. While he made some good catches, he also dropped others he should have caught.
The two areas I was the least impressed with were the play of the offensive line, and the passing of the quarterbacks. The offense could not control the line of scrimmage and the defense was all over the quarterbacks. The offensive line also struggled opening holes for the RBs. When the running game worked it worked outside.
Skyler Howard did the better job at running the offense. Crest and Sills both proved they can run with the ball. Austin Hensley, though he did not play with the ones, did show he could move the ball .
Of all the QBs, when it came to passing, I was most impressed with Chris Chugunov. He did not complete more passes, and this is probably due to the fact he lacks the reps he needs. I was very impressed with is foot work and the ease at which he threw the deep ball.
Chug also showed he too can run the offense. I believe he did a much better job running the offense than Crest.
I enjoyed watching Crest at outside receiver. He showed both speed and athleticism. Crest could be the dark horse in the outside receiver race, he clearly played as well as Shelton Gibson. While Gibson may be the No 1 receiver, I could easily see Crest replacing him if Gibson continues to lack consistency.
With Chug getting the 2nd set of reps and Crest playing mostly outside receiver, it raises the question of whether Chug has worked himself into the No. 2 spot. After the Gold-Blue Scrimmage, I can easily see Crest moving to outside receiver and Chugunov becoming the backup QB.
Two things became very obvious in the Gold Blue Scrimmage, and that is the OL has to improve and the all the QBs need to improve their passing. Although he is currently named the No. 1 QB, Howard again completed less than 50% of his passes, and made some horrible throws. Yes, he completed a deep pass to Gibson, but he also made some throws that in a game could be very dangerous.
I like what I saw from the RBs, but the receivers and the passing of the QBs need a lot of work, and the OL needs to improve its overall blocking.
It will be interesting to see how all this plays out between now and when WVU plays its first Big 12 game.
Edited by Michael Walker