WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen has himself in a bind with decisions to make. The biggest decision looming at this point is does or does he not replace starting quarterback Skyler Howard. As the media, analysts and fans all know, Skyler Howard is not WVU’s quarterback of the future.
Howard has started 8 games for WVU and has 4 wins and 4 losses. His 4 wins are Iowa State in 2014, and Georgia Southern, Liberty and Maryland in 2015. His 4 losses are Texas A&M in 2014, and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor in 2015.
Howard just cannot get it done in big games against better opponents. He may be the best QB on the team at running Holgorsen’s offense, but he is definitely not the best passer.
Regardless of who is at the helm, Holgorsen needs to help him out with the blitz coming off the left-side where Yodny Cajuste plays tackle. Maybe Cody Clay should line up at TE on the right-side, and at the snap of the ball slide over to pick-up the outside speed rusher. He could release the block and move to the flat for the QB to lob him the ball. This is a touch pass, simply a lob over the head of the speed rusher.
On third or fourth and short, I’d give the ball to Eli Wellman, a true power rusher and not afraid to take on defenders. He is strictly a north-south runner. If the ball is on the goal-line, with Clay being taller than Wellman, I’d line him up a FB, hand him the ball to jump over the pile.
Another thing I’d do is work with the QB on doing a hard-count, in short yardage situations to get the opponent to jump off-sides. The pros do this all the time.
What I would not do is move David Sills or William Crest back to QB. Holgorsen said that Sills was the best receiver on the team, if that is true then you definitely don’t want him at QB.
If Holgorsen doesn’t change QBs then WVU will most like win no more than 6-games. I just don’t see this team with Howard at QB beating TCU, Texas, and Kansas State. They may beat Texas Tech, and should beat Iowa State and Kansas.
My issue with Howard is that I have seen no improvement in his passing game from last season. Those in the media who have seen him have stated that even in practice his passes are usually not on target. The media that have seen practices and the coaches have repeatedly stated that Chis Chugunov is the most accurate passer on the team.
Is it time to sacrifice Chug’s redshirt also? Holgorsen has to choose from either changing quarterbacks and saving this season, or keeping Howard at QB and winning only 5 or 6 games. Should Holgorsen get fired this could be his last head coaching job for a while. Basically, Holgorsen’s job is on the line. The question becomes is keeping Howard at quarterback worth his job and putting his career in backward spin.
I do not think Holgorsen will lose his job. I believe because of the coaching staff he has assembled and the improvements in recruiting he has made, he has at least 2 more years as WVU’s head coach. The one thing Holgorsen has to stop doing is bragging on one player and not playing him, or giving him a chance. He brags on Clay, Wellman and Jacky Marcellus, but we seldom see them get the ball. Clay nor Wellman have had a carry all year, but both have caught passes.
Also, as I watch WVU play I predict who is getting the ball and what side they are getting it on. Shelton Gibson is always thrown the ball down the left side. Jovon Durante he has the right side. In the Baylor game, David Sills had the right side. What about a crossing route, sending one player deep and the other underneath?
When Jordan Thompson came to WVU he played well in practice and was the standout in the Gold-Blue games. Now Thompson has made a name for himself by make athletic catches over the middle such as his 49-yard catch against Baylor. The problem is, Thompson isn’t being thrown the ball. The little guy is being used more like Clay and Wellman as simply a blocker.
Right now the offense is mostly Wendell Smallwood, but he can’t play every down. The Mountaineers need an equally talented back-up who can play like Smallwood. He is a senior and most likely will play in the NFL next season, and as it stands WVU doesn’t have a back-up to replace him. When WVU lost Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie they lost 2 players they are badly missing this season.
WVU needs someone who can throw the ball, even if it’s walk-on Austin Hensley. The fans just want to see a quarterback who can throw an accurate pass, and who is willing to scramble to extend plays. WVU has receivers who can make plays if you can get them the ball.
I truly believe WVU has talent that is being under-utilized. The more often these guys get the ball in a game, the better they will get.
If Holgorsen’s job isn’t on the line, then the direction of his career definitely is.