Marcus Simms could have helped WVU beat VT


Judging by the way he played against East Carolina, had he been in the lineup against Virginia Tech, WVU wide receiver Marcus Simms would have helped the Mountaineers beat the Hokies.

Marcus Simms showcased his speed and sure hands last week as the Mountaineers dismantled East Carolina, 56-20, in the home opener at Milan Puskar Stadium.

He had just one catch against ECU, but it was a dandy. He caught a pass from 52 yards out from quarterback Will Grier and went into the end zone for a touchdown. The score put the Mountaineers up, 28-3, early in the second quarter.

Simms would have had some more touches, but it really wasn’t necessary. Will Grier was on top of his game once again and completed 24 total passes. Including Simms, 11 receivers caught at least one pass.

David Sills was the leading receiver with seven catches for 153 yards. Against Virginia Tech, Sills caught nine passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, drop a pass in the end zone late in the fourth quarter that would have lifted the Mountaineers to at least overtime against the Hokies.

Instead, it fell through his hands, despite a diving effort, and the Mountaineers lost the game. If Marcus Simms was on the field against the Hokies, the WVU football team likely wins that game.

A 2-0 start looks a lot better than 1-1. Simms would have presented another wrinkle to the West Virginia offense, an offense that is flourishing under Grier and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.

Simms could have made that catch in the end zone against Virginia Tech. He would have provided Grier with yet another sure-fire target as he was picking apart the Hokies defense.

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Simms wasn’t on the field against the Hokies, though. He was suspended that game because of a DUI arrest in the closing days of training camp. That saga is still playing itself out, but for now, Simms is a full member of the WVU football team and he will be suiting up for the remainder of the season.

As Spavital continues to play with the West Virginia offense, Simms will see an even greater role in the air attack. The OC spoke highly of Simms in a Daily Athenaeum article following the East Carolina game.

"“I think Marcus has a unique speed,” said WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. “I don’t think there’s very many kids in the country that can stretch the field vertically like he can.”"

Grier is showing no signs of slowing down and neither is Simms. Once these two continue to develop their chemistry on the field, look for more deep passes over the middle. The Mountaineers can cover the field quickly and opposing teams better watch out.

It’s just too bad Simms didn’t have a chance to show what he can do against Virginia Tech. He may catch a dozen passes for nearly 200 yards against Delaware State this week. But he could have done that against Virginia Tech, too.

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If that was the case, the Mountaineers would definitely be 2-0 and still in the top 25 rankings. With Marcus Simms playing now, it will take a couple of weeks for the Mountaineers to get back in the national spotlight.