Will Grier Looking For Some ‘Home Cooking’

WVU QB to play in home state

FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2017, file photo, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) looks to pass against Texas Tech during an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W.Va. While the Sooners are still the preseason favorite again, there are also high expectations for Grier, the preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year who threw 34 touchdowns and 3,490 yards in his injury-shortened WVU debut.(AP Photo/Raymond Thompson, File)

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia senior quarterback Will Grier will be looking will lead the Mountaineers onto the field at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, looking to put on a show in his home state.

“Yeah, no doubt,” Grier explained when asked about returning to North Carolina for the team’s 2018 opener. “I think we’re all equally excited to play the first game. I’m excited for my friends and family in the area to come watch me play in the Panthers’ stadium.

“That’s a really cool opportunity for them, and it’s exciting for me. But I’m focused on winning the first football game. We could play in Alaska, and I’d feel just as excited.”

Grier, who was a high school standout for his father (Chad) at Davidson Day School, has become the focus of opposing defenses following a 2017 season where he completed 250 of 388 attempts for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns before injuring his throwing hand against Texas in WVU’s final home game.

An injury which resulted in surgery and forced Grier to miss the Mountaineers’ game at Oklahoma and its Heart of Dallas Bowl loss to Utah.

“I think we were disappointed in the middle of the season last year,” Grier said. “I think we’re really talented, and we put that on display. We couldn’t always put it together and win games, and we felt we could have won.

“So, we put in a lot of work this off-season to win those games, and no matter what you do, you have to go out and do it on Saturdays now. It’s like I said — it’s about executing and putting it all together.”

Grier’s pedigree has already earned rave reviews from at least one person who will be on the University of Tennessee sideline — head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

“I think the guy (Grier) does a fantastic job,” Pruitt said. “The fact that he has a lot of experience helps him.

“There are a lot of different ways to affect the quarterback. It can be by pressure, disguise, getting your hands up, staying in pass rush lanes, pushing the pocket up the middle.

“I think you have to pick and choose your spots. Any time you bring pressure that puts pressure on the back end of your secondary. As I’ve said all along, defensive backs place the limitations on the defense.”

But, Pruitt and his Vols will have some veteran players in that secondary looking to disrupt Grier and Company.

Senior Micah Abernathy and junior Nigel Warrior both accounted for 80 or more tackles in 2017 and UT’s linebacking corps return returning starters Daniel Bituli and Quart’e Sapp — both juniors.

“I’m anxious to see it with Will,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “If I’m anxious to see it with him, then I’m probably anxious to see it with everybody.

“There are things that even veteran guys, whether it’s individual performance or how they coach on the sidelines, or the feedback we’re getting from them in the box, or what the new schemes actually look like, or the camaraderie and gelling of the specific units, I’m anxious to see all of it.

“I can’t say it’s more in one phase or one player than any of the other ones. I’m anxious to see all of it.”

∫ Saturday’s game will be the first matchup between West Virginia and Tennessee.

∫ WVU is 25-25-2 all time against current members of the Southeastern Conference.

∫ The Mountaineers are 8-7 in games played in the state of North Carolina — but only 1-2 in games played in Charlotte.

∫ The game will be televised on CBS with Brad Nessler providing the play-by-play, Gary Danielson the analysis and Jamie Erdahl roaming the sidelines.

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