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Quarterback mobility the key to Dana Holgorsen’s offense?

Howard ISU-2
Howard rushes for a touchdown against Iowa State last season. Photo courtesy Kelsie Vanderwijst, BGS

With spring practice around the corner questions regarding the depth chart at quarterback are at the forefront. William Crest has “bounced around” according to Dana Holgorsen and David Sills has spent most of his time in the quarterback room. The one sure bet is Skyler Howard has become a leader within the Mountaineer program and will more than likely be the uncontested starter come fall of 2016. But who will back him up?

When asked about redshirt freshman Chris Chugunov’s opportunities this spring Holgorsen was quick to point out one attribute that sets the pro-style QB apart from everyone else, his lack of mobility. “He is not the runner that those other guys are,” Holgorsen said of Chugunoz, “That is going to set him back a little bit.”

With a receiver corp consisting on Daikiel Shorts, Shelton Gibson, Gary Jennings, and Jovon Durante among others, whoever starts at quarterback will have plenty of targets to choose from. The Mountaineers will also have a veteran offensive line returning to help protect the backfield. So why is mobility a perceived necessity for Holgorsen? It’s the “ground and pound” offense.

Holgorsen moved to a run first offense after that brutal and disappointing October last season. The new “ground and pound” approach helped right the ship for the Mountaineers who ended the season 5-1 including a Cactus Bowl victory.

Part of the offensive scheme associated with Holgorsen’s run first offense was the quarterback’s ability to get out of the pocket or call his own number at times. Howard finished the 2015 season as the third leading rusher on the team accumulating 502 yards on 157 carries. From listening to Holgorsen in his spring press conference he wants his quarterback in 2016 to be able to do the same.

Sophomore-to-be David Sills has made it clear his preference is in the backfield, “He wants to be a quarterback.” Holgorsen continued to say, “We can’t be out there with him, but you see him go from quarterback and move into a receiver drill.” Ultimately where Sills plays on the field will be up to Holgorsen, but if he is included in the quarterback competition this spring Chugunoz may face an even tougher climb up the depth chart.

So while Holgorsen ended his answer by stating Chugunoz will have the chance to compete for the starting position; his throwing ability may ultimately not be enough to overcome his lack of mobility. However, depending on where Sills and Crest end up on the depth chart (position) may play a large role in how far down the chart Chugunoz may fall.


Jeremy Simon
Founder and publisher of, Jeremy is also a contributor to USA Today as well as covers the Mountaineers for Athlon Sports. Follow on Twitter @JSi07
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