West Virginia football: Who needs to prove more in the Gold-Blue Game, Skyler Howard or William Crest?


West Virginia will hold the annual Gold-Blue spring football game this Saturday. This provides the opportunity for underclassmen to make an impression on coaches and gives other players the chance to dust off the rust coming into the new season.

This years spring game will feature yet another quarterback duel. The two quarterback candidates are junior Skyler Howard and red shirt freshman William Crest.

Howard was given the opportunity to step into the starting spot last year when Clint Trickett went down due to a concussion with two games remaining. Howard showed a lot of promise by stepping into the role, leading the team and not backing down from the challenge.

Howard is coming off a not- so-hot scrimmage last Saturday in which he went 10-16 for 153 yards and two touchdown passes but threw multiple interceptions including an pick on his first pass of the day. His shaky play did not alter head coach Dana Holgorsen’s opinion, though. He made it clear that Howard was the front-runner for the starting job.

Nov 29, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Skyler Howard (3) runs aways from Iowa State Cyclones defensive end Cory Morrissey (58) at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s not even close,” Holgorsen said. ” He’s a different kid. He’s operating well. I sure hope I am not jinxing him right now. He is operating very well and looks great. His teammates believe in him. The coaches believe in him. He is doing well.”

Howard is very confident in himself and his team’s abilities. He also knows how much of an impact on the team he can make after last season’s success.

“I think last season I was scout team player of the game after the first game, and then player of the game after the last game,” Howard said. “So it just shows how far I came, and I take pride in that. I’ve got the posters up.”

It may seem like Howard is running away with the competition for the starting role, but Crest posses the ability to out-do Howard in the blink of an eye.

Last year, Crest was the considered the backup quarterback in the early part of the season. He made a good impression on his coaches after he got his time during a blowout win versus Towson. He went three for four, ran for 27-yards and scored a rushing touchdown.

That was the only impression he made, though. He suffered an apparent injury to his throwing shoulder in practice midway through the season. Holgorsen and his staff made the decision to red shirt him and save a year of eligibility.

Crest is immensely talented and posses the athletic ability to make special things happen in a Holgorsen-like offense. While he was only seen in one game last season, it wouldn’t be unlikely to see him impress the fans and coaches in a strong showing this Saturday.

Of the two, and at this time, Crest has the most to prove since Holgorsen has openly said Howard is above him.

Expect both quarterbacks to compete at a very high level this Saturday. This should play out to be a very exciting quarterback competition as the offseason chugs along.