Early on in his pressers, HC Dana Holgorsen mentioned what he needed from a starting QB this season. Top of the list was the ability to run the offense. Next was passing accuracy.
While many sports writers are proclaiming that Holgorsen has named Skyler Howard as the starter, the truth of the matter is that Holgorsen has not chosen one. What Holgorsen has said is that, “At this point, Skyler Howard runs the offense the best and gives WVU the best chance of winning.” This is the only reason Howard is running with the ones.
Anyone who has watched Howard knows that his passing is no better this season than it was last season. Howard’s lack of passing ability shows up in his completion ratio of 40%. You cannot win Big XII games with a passing ratio under 50%.
While it is very possible that Howard will be named the starting QB, unless his number of completions rise fans will be yelling for him to be pulled.
The reason Howard is running with the ones, is that William Crest, Chris Chugunov, David Sills, and Austin Hensley are not completing passes at a higher completion ratio than him.
Howard’s passes are late, and in the Big XII this means defenses will be picking Howard off. It also means that WVU’s offense must be able to tackle well to keep opponents from scoring when they intercept a pass from Howard. Unless Howard’s accuracy improves you could see WVU losing games because the offense can’t stop opposing defenses from scoring.
When I read that WVU’s QB position with Howard at the helm is a minimal concern, I have to question the football knowledge of the writer. Anyone who saw the Texas A&M game, knows to be worried and concerned about the QB position. Howard had a low completion ratio in this game, and all through spring practice including the 2015 Gold & Blue Game.
Everyone is talking about how good WVU’s defense it, but if the defense can’t get on the field due to opponents defenses scoring on the offense, then defense won’t be much help to WVU.
I’m also reading WVU will win 7 or 8 games. Due the fact this offense hasn’t really played that much together, and with Howard at the helm, WVU will do well to win 7. I do not see them being a top Big XII team this season.
For WVU to compete in the Big XII in 2015, they must have a QB that can complete close to 60% of his passes or better, anything less won’t cut it in the Big XII.
Then there is William Crest. Crest wants on the field and he doesn’t care what position. When I saw Crest’s highlight videos, I saw a WR playing QB. In the spring we saw Crest playing some WR. Crest doesn’t want another redshirt year, and if Holgorsen does not play him this season Crest is unlikely to stay at WVU, especially with Chugunov, Sills and Hensley lying in wait to compete for the QB position. Crest is a natural at WR, and could be a valuable asset to WVU’s receiving core.
Of all the QBs, Chugunov has the best arm. In the spring I watched him play too fast. He was forcing his passes and not letting the game and plays come to him. Chug can make all the throws, he just needs to get his timing down with the receivers, and show some patience. Chug’s has all the skills to be a top QB in the Big XII. But as Holgorsen stated, his head is spinning. Chug simply needs to calm down and slow down.
Chug cannot out run the other QBs and he doesn’t have the moves of Crest or Sills, but what he has are passes that are on time, and as with the other QBs, he too can extend plays. Of all of WVU’s QBs I loved Chug’s highlight videos the best. I liked the timing of his releases, his accuracy and his ball placement. None of the other QBs show these skills in their highlight videos. And Chug has no problem with throwing the deep ball.
Sills reminds me of an inside receiver, for he has twitches in his feet like Crest, and he and Crest can both make opponents miss when running the ball. This is something Chug can’t do. Chug has no hesitancy to lower his shoulder and take on defenders. Hensley can also juke and put moves on defenders, but he doesn’t have the speed or vision of Crest or Sills. However, he made a great play in the end-zone in Gold Blue Game when he got rid of the ball for a positive gain and to extend the drive without being sacked.
All the QBs have skills, and not of the same set. The one common denominator this spring is that this entire group of QBs showed little accuracy in the passing game. Though it has been written that Howard is working on his passing game, I can assure you that the other four are doing the same. Only time will tell if one of them can substantially improve their passing accuracy and is named the starter. That would resolve the primary issue WVU has to improve to give them a shot at being in the hunt for the Big XII Title.