Will Grier develops into a solid running quarterback


Will Grier may very well set a whole bunch of passing records during his career with the WVU football team.

Through four games, Will Grier is third in the Big 12 in passing yards per game (343.5) and total offense (376.2). Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield are ahead of him in both categories.

Neither Shimonek, nor Mayfield have as many rushing yards as Grier on the season, though. Grier is a prototypical passing quarterback like those two statistical leaders, but he is showing that he can be agile on his feet given the situation.

Will Grier’s 10 rushes in the most recent game against Kansas were the most since he ran the ball 11 times in his WVU football debut against Virginia Tech in Week 1. In wins against East Carolina and Delaware State, Grier ran the ball four and five times, respectively.

His total rushing output on the season is 131 yards, an average of 32 yards per game. Will Grier’s longest rush came at the right time against Kansas, when the Mountaineers were struggling in the second half. He rumbled for a 24-yard gain that set up a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

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Later in the fourth quarter, Grier had two rushing touchdowns, forging ahead from three yards out both times. He will be called upon again for those needed short-yard situations, but West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen wants to protect his quarterback as much as possible. Holgorsen told WVUsports.com that there are a number of areas Will Grier needs to improve upon at quarterback, the biggest being his running decisions.

"“He goes vertical a lot and I think he thinks he’s got a lot of moves and everything, too, and he tries and jukes some guys and he’s not very good at sliding, which means he’s going to end up getting hit more than I want him to.”"

The former WVU football QB Skyler Howard wanted to prove his toughness each time out. He wasn’t afraid to hit the hole and get banged up. Holgorsen wants Grier to ease into the inevitable hits and not go out of his way to put himself in danger downfield.

Will Grier is still third on the team in rushing yards behind Justin Crawford, who leads the Big 12 in rushing with 112 yards per game, and Kennedy McKoy who is 10th on that list.

Grier has the ability to make plays happen when he runs the ball. The defense isn’t always expecting him to run it, so it’s not a bad gameplan to allow Grier to run the ball 10 times in a big game.

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But it’s not always worth the risk to run more than needed. Grier still needs to become a better runner before there are big designed run plays just for himself.