The Times West Virginian

April 13, 2014

Moore ‘back at home’ under center

By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.

The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

The second way is to say he didn’t play himself out of a job and, quite honestly, has every bit as much of a chance to come into August practices with a chance to earn the starting job against Alabama on Aug. 31 in the Chic-fil-A Classic as his spring rivals Paul Millard and Skyler Howard.

And that’s just fine with him, having drawn more praise than either following the spring game. Moore completed 10 of 21 passes for 109 yards … not quite matching Millard’s 14 of 19 for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns or Howard’s 9 of 13 for 70 yards and a touchdown, but it also doesn’t tell the whole story.

There is more to quarterbacking in today’s game than just throwing the ball, and Moore wound up WVU’s fourth leading rusher with 35 yards rushing on three carries, an average of 11.7 per carry, including one 28-yard scramble. And under the category of sacks, Millard had one, Howard two and Moore none … and much emphasis has been put this spring on being sack-free.

“Logan stuck out making some plays with his feet, hanging around and throwing it,” said offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Shannon Dawson.

Making a quick judgment on the three quarterbacks, Dawson saw it this way. “All of them had their ups-and-downs days. Logan, with the reps he took, obviously got better. Paul has probably been the same for a long time. He’s pretty consistent on what he does and inconsistent on what he does bad,” he said, then added, “One thing Logan and Skylar do is have the ability to extend plays when things get bad.”

Now the competition, of course, is not narrowed to those three for the starting job, for this summer it’s expected last year’s starter Clint Trickett should be recovered from off-season shoulder surgery and he has the advantage if he’s healthy.

But there are no guarantees there and he is somewhat frail, which means his putting in a full season is questionable enough that both Holgorsen and Dawson said plans will be made if Trickett isn’t ready.

Then there is freshman William Crest, a talented high school graduate who will come in and be looked at as a potential starter, too. So things are not as simple as they seem, but freshmen aren’t always ready to assume the quarterback job right out of high school and certainly Holgorsen would like to give him a redshirt season to mature.

Moore’s story, however, is compelling. He transferred to WVU a couple of years back after doing a spectacular job as Fairmont State’s quarterback. Holgorsen, however, was knee deep in QBs and opted to use Moore’s athletic skills as a wide receiver, meaning he missed an entire season of quarterbacking last year.

This spring he was moved back to QB with Trickett unable to go through practice and now he’s back making his presence felt.

“Finally,” he said. “When I transferred I planned on playing quarterback, but I got switched to wide receiver last year. Now I’m back home to where I wanted to play, so it’s nice.”

The problem is he has a lot of catching up to do.

“I still have a lot of work to do but I feel more comfortable,” he said. The coaches see that and have watched the way he attacked the job.

“With the work that I’ve put in and what I’ve done, I think they have to give me a shot. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Moore even believes that his time spent at wide receiver was not time totally wasted.

“Quarterback-wise it might have set me back, but it might have helped me mentally,” he said. “Being a receiver I got to see things from a different point of view. Now I have a different understanding of how things operate. I don’t see it as a complete disadvantage.”

What it did was open his eyes to see things from a wide receiver’s perspective.

“Seeing things from their point of view, seeing how defenses line up, seeing what they see and how they can get open. I think I have a better relationship with the receivers now,” he explained.

And he also has that running ability that makes him a dual threat.

“It helps me a lot, since I’m not the typical quarterback being recruited at the big colleges. I’m under 6-foot, so being able to run helps me out in this offense,” he said. And so it did on this day when, in a surprise move, the coaching staffs let the quarterbacks go live. Normally they wear gold jerseys in this game and can’t be tackled, but they are involved in competition and the coaches wanted to see how they reacted to pressure.

“We don’t have a starter right now,” Dawson explained. “When you are a quarterback and it’s not live, there’s a whole different mentality and the game is not like that. You are trying to make practice as much like a game as possible. There’s only one way to make it realistic and that’s to make it real. We talked about it and decided there was only one way, make it live. For the first time in Dana and my careers, we made it live and it turned out good.”

It will be interesting in early August as they cut to three quarterbacks to compete for the right to start against Alabama.

What if, Moore was asked, they came to him a week before the game and told him the job was his?

“Hopefully I put the work in to put myself in that position. I’d just go out and take advantage of it,” he said.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.