WVU Receivers Competitive on Field, in Room - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Receivers Competitive on Field, in Room

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Gary Jennings (12), Marcus Simms (8) and Justin Crawford celebrate a WVU touchdown. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) Gary Jennings (12), Marcus Simms (8) and Justin Crawford celebrate a WVU touchdown. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
LAWRENCE, Kan. -

Who will it be this week?

That is the question that seems to be going through West Virginia’s wide receiver group every day in the lead up to each of the team’s first three games and again ahead of the trip to Kansas.

Gary Jennings has led the team in receiving yards two of the three contests, David Sills has recorded multiple touchdown receptions twice and Marcus Simms is quickly gaining due to some bombs thrown his way. Add to that Ka’Raun White’s display on 50-50 balls in the end zone and this position is one of the most productive and competitive on the entire roster.

It’s through the roof right now,” WVU receivers coach Tyron Carrier said of the competition in his room. “They critique each other on the sideline, actually pay attention to the other team and say, Coach, if he did this, he would have caught that or he would have made that play.”

That’s right, these guys are so in tune with the offense as a whole that they are calling out what their coaches could call to get their teammates open. Their focus is on what will work best for the whole rather than the individual.

To this point, Will Grier averages the fifth-most pass yards per game in the Big 12 conference with David Sills (receptions per game, scoring touchdowns) and Gary Jennings (receiving yards per game) each rank in the top 4 in various categories.

There are only so many passes to go around, but Grier is happy to spread the wealth, no matter who is on the other end. That said, he does notice that some of the receivers are quick to get in his ear on the sideline and make sure he notices when they come free in the secondary.

“David Sills is really funny about it. Every time we come off to the sideline, he’ll tell me a play that he wants that’s going to be wide open every time,” Grier said. “They’re great. I’ve got a great group of guys. They’re talented, but they’re great people and it’s a lot of fun to work with them.”

It’s not a conversation that started on Sept. 3 when WVU and Virginia Tech met at FedExField. Sills recalls his first few days back on campus in the spring semester when he quickly jotted down his quarterback’s phone number and started bugging him to put in work on the field.

“I texted Will when I first came back and I said, yo, literally, whenever you want to throw, just let me know. I don’t care if I’m in class or whatever, I’ll be there whenever,” Sills said, adding that he would wait for class to end before hitting the field. “I think we’ve all done a great job of holding each other accountable to really be better. I think we have a great opportunity. I think we have great talent in the room that we can really be something special.”

Dana Holgorsen cannot help but notice the work Sills has put in, not only to better himself, but the group as a whole. He takes every moment in practice as an opportunity to learn.

“I’ve made comments to him, you know, David, you keep this up, I think you’re going to be a pretty good receiver. He’s like, Coach, I want to be the best receiver in the country. That’s his mindset,” Holgorsen said of Sills. “He can’t wait for practice. Each and every day, he wants to go out there and just try to work on something. He listens to everything that Coach Carrier and Coach [Jake] Spavital say to the other players. He just wants to soak it all in and continue to get better and I think that’s what we’ll continue to see. I think he’s a long way away from what the finished product is going to be.”

As Sills and his fellow receivers continue to rack up yards and touchdowns, their coach has only one concern, and it is currently a minor one at that.

“I’m trying to get them to the point where when they’re tired, they’ll get themselves out of there, but everybody wants to make that play now,” Carrier said.

That’s not a bad problem to have.

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