WVU football team needs more receiving depth

LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 15: Gary Jennings
LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 15: Gary Jennings /

The WVU football team is off to a high-flying start on offense. With David Sills at quarterback, any number of players can be on the receiving end of his passes.

That seems to be a problem, though. Beyond the top receivers, the WVU football team doesn’t have many other players to mix things up once in a while.

Gary Jennings and David Sills are making national headlines for their performances. That attention has allowed teams to start planning their defensive attack around stopping these players. It was evident that TCU was gunning for both Jennings and Sills by deploying at least a pair of defenders on them in the secondary.

However, Jennings and Sills still combined to catch 17 passes for 196 yards of Will Grier’s 366 passing yards. Ka’Raun White had seven catches for 138 yards which led all receivers in that game.

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Marcus Simms also recorded catches for the Mountaineers. So, that’s four receivers Grier hit with passes last Saturday. Conversely, the Horned Frogs had passes caught by eight different players. One of those passes was caught by quarterback Kenny Hill, who scored a 48-yard touchdown on the trick play.

Hill finished with 188 passing yards, completing 15 of 28 passes. It wasn’t his best game but he did enough to win the game for TCU and move himself into the conversation of Heisman Trophy winner.

It was said that Will Grier had potential to be a Heisman nominee this year. He has certainly played well enough to be among the best quarterbacks in the country, but one thing he is lacking is the diversity of his passes.

This isn’t really a knock on Grier, but rather a lack of depth at receiver for the Mountaineers. WVU football head coach Dana Holgorsen addressed his disapproval in the depth department at his weekly press conference on WVUsports.com.

"It needed to happen two months ago, so we are going to focus on a lot of those second team guys. Whatever is preventing them from helping us win, we are addressing it now."

Holgorsen doesn’t believe that it’s too late for other receivers, like Reggie Roberson, Ricky Rogers and William Crest, who all have made a small impact in one way or another, to step up and compete for more time. Maybe, we’ll see some that their improvements this week against Texas Tech.

Maybe the answer relies on the running backs to catch passes. Holgorsen hinted in his press conference that he would like to see more of that moving forward. It has happened this season, though not much. And, for not many yards.

Justin Crawford, Kennedy McKoy, Tevin Bush, Martell Pettaway and Elijah Wellman have all caught at least one pass in a game this season. Against Kansas, Crawford caught two passes for 25 yards and against Virginia Tech, McKoy caught two passes for four yards.

The longest pass play to a running back this season was a 21-yard gain by McKoy against East Carolina. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that whenever a WVU running back catches a pass for useful yards, the team wins the game. No running back caught a pass against TCU and the Mountaineers lost. In the loss against Virginia Tech, McKoy, Bush and Crawford each caught one pass for a total of seven yards.

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Because Holgorsen wants to see this part of the offense progress, changes are bound to happen soon. If the WVU football team wants to make a play for the Big 12 Championship, it needs to knock off Texas Tech. To knock off Texas Tech, more players need to touch the ball.