The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 6, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU’s future rides on QB ‘Young Geno’

MORGANTOWN — Funny, isn’t it, how a guy named Crest can bring a smile to so many faces in the West Virginia football offices, but that’s the “scope” of what happened on Wednesday morning when quarterback William Crest returned his signed letter of intent.

“He’d been a target of ours for the better part of three years,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen admitted.

So much so that when Holgorsen brought Lonnie Galloway back to coach wide receivers last season, this was pretty much the high point of the first day on the job:

“As soon as he got here I said, ‘Good, go over to Baltimore and create a relationship with William Crest,’” Holgorsen recalled.

Baltimore was going to be Galloway’s recruiting territory, and why not?

He’d been the man who brought Tavon Austin from Dunbar High to Morgantown and that worked out pretty well, as we all recall.

And since he was going to Dunbar, he was quite interested in Austin’s career at WVU and became attached to much that was going on here. One of the things he became attached to was the quarterback who was throwing the ball to Austin, Geno Smith.

In fact, they got to calling him “Young Geno.”

“It’s one of those things, high school kids get rated so high,” Galloway said. “We want him to be successful, but you never know. Geno put up crazy numbers with Coach Holgorsen. We don’t want him to be Geno. We want him to come here and be himself.”

“He’s big, strong, live arm, can run, athletic. He’s able to extend plays. It’s going to be a thing for him to come here and get comfortable,” Galloway said.

No one doubts that William Crest holds the key to WVU’s future. The question more is whether or not he holds the key to Holgorsen’s, which isn’t as strong as it was after his first season that included a stunning 70-33 Orange Bowl victory over Clemson.

Here’s the problem.

Crest is a freshman and, yes, Geno wound up playing as a freshman but few do … and there are other experienced quarterbacks on hand, including last year’s starter Clint Trickett, coming off minor shoulder surgery; last year’s backup Paul Millard; and another talented newcomer, junior college transfer Skyler Howard.

Offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Shannon Dawson knows that this drama is going to have to play itself out.

“I told the group, there is no starting quarterback. One is going to have to step up. You have an opportunity to start. We started all three of our guys last year and we have to do better,” he said.

Howard has ability. Although only 5-11, he completed 219 of 325 passes last year for 3,151 yards and 33 touchdowns, and if Crest’s favorite quarterback is Geno Smith, Dawson’s is a guy named Russell Wilson, who just won the Super Bowl for Seattle.

“I don’t think he’ll win the 100-yard dash in the Olympics, but he has the ability to extend plays,” Shannon said, something that didn’t happen last year. “More important on critical plays, you have to extend the play and give your receivers time to get open. The hardest thing for DBs is to cover for a long time.

“Plays don’t happen now like they used to where you know who will be open and when.”

It could be that Trickett’s experience could make the difference or that Howard’s 11-1 season in junior college could allow Holgorsen to wait on Crest, but with his job in question, you might expect Holgorsen to force feed him if he believes he’s the best he’s got … and he believes that.

“William is the future of the program,” Holgorsen said. “He has those intangibles with leadership and a skill that he’s developed over the years. He’s not the loudest guy, but he has those leadership skills.”

And so it is that Crest will not be brushed aside and get every chance.

But don’t forget, this year’s opener just happens to be against a team named Alabama and that’s a tough way to break in a freshman.

In fact, it would be a far better situation if you could break in a freshman named Crest against … oh, say Colgate?

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • Seider's brother commits to WVU

    West Virginia University’s football team has received a commitment from one of its own.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides much optimism heading into 2014 season

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
    Forsey, a native of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, was representing Team Canada. She was the first Canadian to cross the finish line in the women’s 5,000-meter run, finishing in ninth place overall in 16:02.55.

    July 26, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.
    He believes a college football coach ought to recruit a quarterback he wants, give him some help, then turn virtually everything over to him and let him go.

    July 26, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

    July 25, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos