WVU QB Skyler Howard recently stated that WV didn’t feel like home for he got booed more in Morgantown than he did away.
Whether you are a WVU football fan or not, you have to love Skyler Howard’s guts, fortitude and drive. Howard’s a gamer. He’ll play hurt and he gives his all on every down and play. Whether you are a WVU fan or sports analyst you have love and admire these thing about him.
No QB at any level is perfect. All QBs make mistakes. The issue with Howard is that as the Mountaineers go, so goes Howard. When the Mountaineers aren’t playing well, Howard has a tendency to compound the problems.
This year’s game at Oklahoma State is a prime example. Backed up deep on their end of the field, Howard gets pressure and instead of throwing the ball out of bounds, or just taking a sack for a minimal loss, he tries to scramble. He runs backwards giving up more yards. As he is being sacked and going to his knees, he tries to get rid of the ball, and in the process fumbles it. OSU recovers the fumble deep inside the red zone and quickly scored
After getting 3 intentional grounding calls in one game, Howard didn’t learn. He got another one against OSU.
What had become a routine play between Howard and his receivers became an incomplete pass. Howard wasn’t under duress. KaRaun White was in the back right corner of the end zone with a defender in front of him. Nothing unusual, for Howard had been good at getting the ball over the defender’s head and putting the ball the hands of his receiver. On this play and under no pressure, Howard is short with the pass. What should have been a TD by White was an incomplete pass.
Later Howard throws a ball short into triple coverage and is intercepted. The reason for the interception is something I have repeatedly complained about with Howard’s play – he never looks off a receiver. By watching Howard’s eyes, OSU knew exactly where Howard was going with the ball and flooded the area with defenders. Howard locks on to his receivers with his eyes, and this is a big no-no when playing teams the caliber of those in the Big 12.
Also, when was the last time you saw a WVU QB draw a defense offside with his voice? I guess WVU doesn’t teach this.
I can forgive a QB throwing an interception or missing a routine pass under pressure, but to do it when he is not under pressure is a different story.
It is when the team is playing poorly WVU needs Howard to step-up and make a play, but instead of doing this he tries to be the hero. Howard has yet to learn his coaches, teammates, and fans do not need him to be a hero. All he has to do is play within himself and execute on what is given him. Taking a 5-yard sack is better than running backwards 15-yards and being sacked, throwing an interception, or fumbling the ball.
He has got to look off receivers instead of locking onto them with his eyes, and to continue keep routine plays routine. If he feels pressure that isn’t there or is there throw the pass beyond the line of scrimmage and out of bounds, and get outside the tackle box.
When Howard can eliminate these types of mistakes, he’ll have everyone’s respect, and he’ll be the QB he aspires to be. People can forgive one or two of these mistakes in a game, but when 3 or 4 of these mistakes happen in back-to-back games, don’t look for love or respect from the fans.