West Virginia’s head coach Dana Holgorsen not only left the Cowboys of Oklahoma State with a potent offense his 2017-18 Mountaineers are being touted as potentially the best of the best among Power 5 Conference units this upcoming season. Odds to Win 2019 College Football Playoffs: Mountaineers 40-1.
Will Holgorsen’s former team, Oklahoma State, or the one he currently leads, West Virginia, have the better offense in the 2018-19 campaign? ESPN staff writer Jake Trotter spun and interesting piece early last week that offered answers to the aforementioned question. Why West Virginia could have college football’s top offense in 2018 begins with a reference that when “Holgorsen bolted Oklahoma State for West Virginia, he left behind the foundation of what would become the nation’s best offense in 2011.”
Trotter went on to report that “Seven years later, armed with one of college football’s top returning quarterbacks in Will Grier and a host of dynamic playmakers, Holgorsen once again has the foundation of a unit that could lay claim as the country’s top offensive attack.”
“We’re holding ourselves to a high standard because we know how good we can be,” Grier told ESPN.com Monday. “And I think we can be pretty good.”
“Those standards begin with Grier, who, after overcoming a messy transfer from Florida, re-emerged last season with a breakout campaign for the Mountaineers, who will finish up spring practice Saturday with their spring game”, according to Trotter.
Trotter also wrote “As Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph have moved on to the NFL, Grier has risen into the pantheon of premier college quarterbacks.”
“He looks like a fifth-year quarterback to me,” Holgorsen told Trotter last week. “It’s his second year in this system, and he’s much more comfortable. His timing with the guys is as good as I’ve seen. So from a quarterback perspective, it’s as good as anyone in the country.”
“We have a lot of guys [who] can make plays,” Grier said.
With so many playmakers around Grier, the Mountaineers have the pieces to put up numbers with anyone.
The pressing question for them, though, is whether they will execute well enough to deliver the wins to contend in the Big 12.
Until Grier’s finger injury, West Virginia’s offense was seventh nationally in yards per game.
But the Mountaineers also ranked all the way down at 101st in third-down-conversions, 94th in turnovers and 37th in offensive penalties.
“We were very explosive, but we were also terrible on crucial downs, turnovers and penalties,” Spavital said.
For that reason, improving in efficiency has been the overriding emphasis in Morgantown this spring.
All of which comes back to Grier.
“He’s got that playmaking gene in him where he wants to extend plays like Johnny Manziel where he could easily just make the routine play,” Spavital said. “You don’t want to handcuff him too much because he can make spectacular plays. But we’re challenging him to know when to make the routine one.”
Anyone who follows the Mountaineers football knows that if Grier continues to grow his relationships with the offensive playmakers and chain-movers at his disposal West Virginia could well overtake the Cowboys and Sooners as the top offense in the Big 12.
“We still have a long way to go,” Grier told Trotter. “But it’s not a stretch to say we can be the best in the country — because that’s what we’re striving to be.”
South Point Race and Sportsbook opened West Virginia at 40-to-1 odds to Win the 2019 College Football Playoffs and they have held serve in their latest update, three months later.