Kyle’s Korner ….
I asked West Virginia University fans on Facebook this weekend – is it time to start William Crest at quarterback?
The response was good and I received a lot of comments.
I said that Skyler Howard plays hard, but has had several turnovers and some of his passes are way off the mark. It also seems that he starts the games very nervous.
Howard plays hard, but there is a reason he was not recruited by any Division One schools. He started out at a small college in California at Riverside City College and then transferred to his home state of Stephen F. Austin. He then transferred to WVU after the spring of 2013. He had a good high school career in Texas, but his size, 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds probably kept most D-1 schools from offering him a scholarship.
Crest, a redshirt freshman, is a 3-year starter for coach Lawrence Smith at Dunbar High in Baltimore, Maryland and was an All-State First Team quarterback. His senior season he completed 122-of-216 passes for 2,232 yards and 17 touchdowns and he ran for 672 yards and eight touchdowns. Crest has seen action as a slot receiver and mop-up duty as the signal caller.
The Mountaineers (3-2) lost a heartbreaker this past weekend to Oklahoma State in overtime in Morgantown, a game they should have won.
WVU has two really tough road games coming up – at No. 2 Baylor and at No. 3 TCU. Those are probably going to be two losses. They are currently 3-2, but those two losses would make them 3-4 with Texas coming into Morgantown after that for a home game. The Longhorns upset Oklahoma last Saturday, a team that trounced the Mountaineers two weeks ago.
Then there is the rest of the Big 12 slate, which is not a cake-walk. After the Texas game, they are at Kansas, then play host to Iowa State and then wind up the regular season at Kansas State. Did you see what Kansas State did against TCU? They almost pulled the big upset.
There are some bright spots this season. The running game is strong with Wendell Smallwood and the defense, even with the loss of All-American safety Karl Joseph who has played hard. Boone County native Tony Gibson has done well as the defensive coordinator and he has some solid hitters. The secondary has picked off several passes this year.
But turnovers have really hurt the Mountaineers the last couple of games. You can’t cough-up the pigskin or throw picks against good teams and expect to win.
Howard led the team to three wins, but that was against lighter competition; Georgia Southern, Liberty and a bad Maryland team. Now that they are in conference play, the games are much more difficult.
The response varied on social media on my question. Some agreed that Howard is not the answer. Like me, they think Crest should get the starting nod and gain experience. If he is the future in Morgantown, then let him learn and he’ll still have three more years after this. He’ll know what it’s like to play in the Big 12.
Some of the comments are fans who are not happy with Head Coach Dana Holgorsen. This is his fifth season since taking over for the late Bill Stewart. Holgorsen is now playing with his recruits. He is supposed to be one of the top offensive minded coaches in the country, but many feel his play calling has not been the best at times this season. Especially in the overtime against Oklahoma State.
WVU fans, including me, were expecting a much better season. Now it appears they will have to win those last three games to even get bowl eligible. The Texas game could be a win, but it’s not a certainty like many Mountaineer enthusiasts thought it would be a couple of weeks ago.
If this team only finishes 6-6 or even 7-5, Holgorsen’s seat will be heating up in Morgantown. Former Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who brought Holgorsen in, is no longer there. So the new AD, Shane Lyons, may have a tough decision to make.
Does he keep Holgorsen around or decide to take the team in a new direction.
It could get interesting as the season progresses. An upset win at Baylor or TCU and winning the last four conference games can salvage the season. But if the Mountaineers don’t meet the high expectations that many had, then changes could be coming to the program.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern)