New Weapons Highlight West Virginia Offense
Gold/Blue scrimmage slated for Saturday
MORGANTOWN – So, exactly what can fans of West Virginia University expect to witness when they attend Saturday’s Gold/Blue Scrimmage?
“We are getting there,” second year offensive coordinator Jake Spavital explained. “The thing about spring is that it just goes back to the basics, fundamentals and techniques. It also is time to do some experimentation with certain things like personnel packages and stuff. We are getting more of these tight end bodies, so it’s been fun messing around with this stuff. I think where we are at is right on track. After this week, we are going to have a lot of good conversations about all the installations that we are putting in. Today is going to be a big installation day. Thursday is going to be the same as well.
“It’ll be fun because it is all generic when you get into the spring game. You only call about three different plays, but it’ll be fun to see where we go in these next two weeks.”
Senior quarterback Will Grier returns, but most eyes will be on the battle between University of Miami transfer Jack Allison and incoming freshman Trey Lowe III to see who will be listed No. 2 on the depth chart.
Allison’s numbers were impressive enough coming out of high school to earn the Florida native a No. 8 overall mark in the country and a No. 19 best overall prospect in the Sunshine State by 247Sports’ Composite rankings.
In his final season at Palmetto High School (Palmetto, Fla.), the 6-foot-6 signal caller threw for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns, completing 62.1 percent of his passes.
Just as impressive was Lowe, one of five semifinalists for Mr. Football in Tennessee, as he finished with 2,759 total yards and 30 touchdowns, completing 108-of-167 passes for 1,819 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading Bolivar Central High to a 6-5 mark and a spot in the Tennessee Division I Class 3A state playoffs.
Fans will also get their first looks at redshirt freshman tight end/fullback Jovani Haskins – another transfer from the Hurricanes – and University of Alabama transfer wide receiver J.T. Simmons.
Haskins, who played quarterback, running back, tight end, kicker, punter, defensive line and linebacker for head coach Rob Violante at Bergenfield High School in Bergenfield, N.J., is locked in a two-way battle with Martinsburg native Trevon Wesco to replace Elijah Wellman rushed for 1,759 yards and 13 touchdowns during his prep school days but was redshirted at Miami.
Simmons, who sat out last season to fulfill NCAA transfer requirements, saw action in 12 games as a freshman for Alabama and possesses the skill set necessary to blend in with a receiving corps which returns All-American David Sills V, leading pass catcher Gary Jennings and speedster Marcus Simms.
“Yeah, he (Simmons) understands it,” assistant coach (wide receivers) Tyron Carrier explained. “He was in the meeting rooms a little bit last year, so he picked up on a lot of stuff. During this time, we are doing an install, so it is like a re-teaching of everything, so he has caught on and is up to speed with everything.”
The running game appears to be on solid ground with the return of juniors Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway as well as the addition of redshirt freshman Alec Sinkfield operating behind an offensive front that returns starters Colton McKivitz and Yodney Cajuste at the tackles, Matt Jones at center and Josh Sills at left guard.
“No doubt about it,” said first year running backs coach Marquel Blackwell. “I think for all three of them – McKoy, Sinkfield, and Pettaway – they’ve made improvements each day with their game. It’s simple. If you can’t protect the quarterback, especially that guy (Grier), then it’s going to be hard for you to be out there. They’re taking a great deal of pride in that, and they’re showing it.”
Just how much of ‘it’ Mountaineer fans will see at 1 p.m. on Saturday won’t be known until the final practice of spring is over.