By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
It isn’t the Heisman Trophy, but for Logan Moore winning last year’s Scout Team Player of the Year award at West Virginia University was almost as good.
And now he’s going for a repeat.
Not that the former Fairmont State University star quarterback after earning NCAC Player of the Year honors at Fairmont Senior wouldn’t trade the honor in a second to break into the Mountaineers’ depth chart, but he realizes the situation he is in and is making the most of it.
Moore came to WVU last year and redshirted, serving as the scout-team quarterback, then this spring found himself moved from QB to wide receiver, where they felt he had a better chance of earning some real playing time.
That put him in the interesting position of going through the first part of practice as a wide receiver, then changing personas and becoming the scout team quarterback, a job that may just be the most important of anyone who isn’t getting playing time on the roster.
Ask senior defensive end Will Clarke what the most important part of practice is, and he doesn’t hesitate when he answers.
“Practicing with the scout team,” he said. “You know, a lot of guys tend to drop off during that part of practice, but you have to pick up there. You have to challenge yourself there.”
You have to do it because it is there where you see exactly what will be coming at you in the game, and this week, against Oklahoma in particular, it is crucial for they have a quarterback WVU has never seen before in Trevor Knight, a totally different package from the one William & Mary threw at them last week and a completely different package than Oklahoma threw at WVU last year with Landry Jones at QB.
In fact, it’s so different that coach Dana Holgorsen says most film is obsolete and won’t even be studied.
That means they have one game film against Louisiana-Monroe and Logan Moore to study on this run-first quarterback.
It’s no wonder Moore takes his job so seriously.
“There’s a lot more that goes into it than people think,” he said as he took some time off Tuesday evening after dinner. “We watch film just like the starters do. We try to mimic exactly what their personalities are, what their body actions are on the field and how they do things.”
They want Will Clarke to feel like he’s seen whatever Knight has up his sleeve before so that he can read the draw a second quicker or figure out if Knight is going to keep the ball or hand it off on a read option.
“It’s harder to defend a running quarterback than a throwing quarterback,” Clarke admitted. “With a throwing quarterback, you know he’s going to stay in the pocket and throw the ball. With a quarterback who runs, you never know what he’s going to do, whether he’s going to pull it down and run or use a quarterback draw or read off the triple option.”
That’s why the scout team has to take pride in its job.
“That’s what they preach to us,” Moore said. “Everyone has a role on this team. It might not be the role you want, might not be the role you wish you had, but if you don’t (take pride), you are just hurting the team and, in the long run, you are hurting yourself.”
Certainly, Moore wants to get on the field during a game, to work his way into the receiver rotation.
“I would like to play, but my role on the team right now is to help out on the scout team and help on the special teams. Taking the reps at receiver, I’m hoping I get an opportunity, maybe later. I’m itching for it,” he said.
He knew he could have played more at Fairmont State, even been the quarterback he’d been groomed to be, but another itch was there.
He wanted to test himself against the best, to play at West Virginia.
“The first year was pretty rough, but I definitely feel more comfortable here. Things are starting to slow down. I’m starting to get the grasp of things,” he said.
Playing scout-team quarterback is a challenge. Look at it this way. This week he is mimicking Trevor Knight, a running quarterback. In a few weeks, he’ll be mimicking Baylor’s Bryce Petty, who is liable to throw 50 passes against West Virginia.
“It’s challenging. It’s different, going from a throwing quarterback to a running quarterback, from an uptempo team to a team that huddles, but at the same time I think it’s making me a better player,” Moore said.
Certainly, his understanding of the game has grown.
So has his appreciation of the game.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.