MANHATTAN, Kan. - West Virginia University Quarterback Will Grier is putting up some big numbers for the Mountaineers. Some of the biggest plays he has made take place when chaos ensues.
Saturday at Kansas State, the Wildcats broke through and collapsed the pocket numerous times. Grier kept his composure and rolled away from the pressure but did not try to run. Instead, he kept his eyes downfield looking for his receivers. It worked and accounted for several touchdowns in the Mountaineers 28-23 victory over the Wildcats.
“He’s very good at extending plays,” David Sills said after catching two touchdowns in the game. “He’s very good at making defenders miss. He always keeps his eyes downfield. He can run, but when he scrambles he is always looking downfield and it resulted in a lot of big plays for us today.”
“He trusts us and trusts we can make those big plays when it is time,” Ka’Raun White smiled after grabbing two touchdown receptions. “So when he is scrambling, I know he is going to trigger it deep and we just have to make a play on the ball.”
White caught one of the biggest passes in the game. With 11 seconds remaining in the first half and the Mountaineers already in field goal range, Grier got pressure and rolled away from it buying time. As the clock continued to tick down and ran out, he found White in the back of the endzone for what amounted to the game-winning touchdown.
“It was an interesting play,” Grier chuckled. “I was trying to let it develop and I didn’t want to take a sack and get us out of field goal range so I was looking around. Then I looked up and didn’t know how much time was left, I couldn’t find (the clock). Then I saw Ka’Raun running by himself and knew I had to make this work.”
“I had a 10-yard spot route and watched Will’s eyes and where he was going,” White stated. “I went up the seam and was trying to make a play.”
Ask any defensive back and they will tell you the hardest thing for them to do is to stay with a receiver for longer than five seconds. As Grier buys time and avoids a sack, defensive coverage breaks down and opens big-play windows for the West Virginia receivers.
“As soon as I see him scrambling I know the coverage is going to break,” White said. “So there is a good chance I am going to get the ball or one of us is going to get the ball in a scramble situation.”
“He can definitely move that pocket and extend plays very well,” Wide Receiver Gary Jennings said. “When the rush gets back there we know the play is definitely not over and we are trying to find ways to get open.”
Grier has the speed and ability to keep the ball and gain some yards after avoiding the rush. However, he has a luxury like no other Quarterback in the nation. Three of his receivers were in the running for the Biletnikoff Award, which is presented to the best receiver in college football. Therefore, he looks to use those weapons as much as possible.
“I try and do what’s best for the team,” Grier said. “When it gets down to it, my job is to distribute the ball to the playmakers. At the same time, if there is an opportunity to run I will. But I am really looking to get the ball to the guys that are faster than I am.”
That desire to keep his eyes downfield after breaking the pocket not only brings the potential of a big play, but allows his receivers to have fun improvising their routes.
“It’s definitely fun,” Sills smiled. “You know there can always be a big play that hits and you saw that tonight on many plays.”
Grier and the rest of the Mountaineers will try to have more ‘fun’ Saturday when they host Texas at noon. It will be West Virginia’s final home game of the season. Grier is the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. He totaled 372 yards and 4 Touchdowns against Kansas State.