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Spavital Excited by Grier's Potential for WVU

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WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.
MORGANTOWN -

This week on The WVU Coaches Show, we hear invited new football offensive coordinator Jake Spavital to join us for a chat about the group he’s taking over this season with the Mountaineers.

Spavital’s return to West Virginia after four seasons at Texas A&M and California is full of intrigue if for no other reason than that it signals a major shift in the offensive responsibilities.

Since Dana Holgorsen came to the Mountaineers prior to the 2011 season, he has been the offensive coordinator. It didn’t matter when his title changed to head coach or when someone else on the staff received a promotion to the position of offensive coordinator because everyone seemed to be on the same page that no matter who held the title, the job belonged to Holgorsen.

This season is set to be different. For Spavital, much of the allure that brought him back to Morgantown after previously serving two seasons with the Mountaineers was the promise that the job, in its truest sense, would belong to him. Holgorsen was ready to pass the torch to a trusted student who had proven with both the Aggies and the Bears that he was a capable play caller.

“When he called and asked me if I wanted to come and help him out and call the plays, I had to double ask him, ‘Are you sure about this? Are you really going to pass this on to me?’” Spavital says on The WVU Coaches Show. “He was great with it. He was like, ‘I think it’s best for me, I think it’s best for the program to just give you the keys to this car and let you just take off with it.’ It was a very convincing deal.”

Spavital called the decision a no-brainer. Adding to his excitement is the fact that his wife, Mehgan, is a Belle, W.Va. native and a former standout gymnast at WVU and the move gives the Spavitals a chance to be closer to family as they are expecting their first child this summer.

A quick peek down Spavital’s résumé reveals a who’s who of college quarterbacks who have found success under his guidance. From his days as a graduate assistant working with Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden to two years with Geno Smith at WVU and then Johnny Manziel with A&M and Davis Webb at Cal – he has been fortunate to work with some of the top signal callers in the game.

This year, his new project is Will Grier. The streak of quality quarterbacks seems intact.

“Will has been awesome to work with so far,” Spavital said of Grier. “I got in here in January and he was really the first guy that I met. From his demeanor, I can put it this way: I’d want to play for the guy.”

Last season, former WVU cornerback Rasul Douglas said in an interview that Grier makes scout team players look like starters. Now, Spavital sees those same attributes paying off when Grier begins working with the actual starters.

“He’s been doing a great job building continuity with them,” Spavital said. “I think he takes it as a challenge and I think he looks into it as getting an evaluation for himself to see if these guys are capable of making plays for him.”

What impresses Spavital beyond just the mechanics and the decision making and the physical ability are the intangibles. He recalls seeing Grier naturally take over a huddle at the end of a spring practice and the entire team fall in place around him as he led the breakdown. Since then, it has become routine that the quarterback, who hasn’t played a single down for WVU yet, leads the post practice huddles.

“He’s just got a great way of galvanizing units. Not just the offense, but the entire team,” Spavital said. “He’s a coach’s kid – you can tell he’s been born and raised in a locker room. He takes the teammate aspect very seriously and wants to be a great teammate, but along the lines of that, he’s very motivated in terms of how he studies and how he prepares.”

Join us this weekend for a brand new edition of The WVU Coaches Show and see the entire interview with Mountaineer offensive coordinator Jake Spavital as sheds light on his football philosophy and the future he envisions for the West Virginia offense with Will Grier at the helm.

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