MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Prior to WVU football spring practice No. 6 this past Saturday, head coach Dana Holgorsen had nothing but positive things to say about the improvement of projected starting quarterback Skyler Howard.
“It’s (his improvement) good,” said Holgorsen. “He’s pretty confident. The last time he played live football he threw for 560 yards, second all-time in the history of West Virginia football in it’s storied past.”
Holgorsen was referring to the 2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, where Howard threw 532 yards to be exact, while completing 28 of 51 passes and tossing five touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to a close 43-42 victory. Howard was named the Cactus Bowl Offensive MVP following the record-breaking performance.
Per Holgorsen, one of the reasons Howard is showing such noticeable improvement is due to the work assistant coach Ron Crook and newly hired offensive coordinator Joe Wickline have been doing with the offensive line.
“I’m really happy with what we’re doing up front,” said Holgorsen. “Coach Crook and Coach Wickline are really working well together. Our pass protection is really improving, which in turn makes Skyler (Howard) a little bit more comfortable. The better that he is with the timing aspect of the receivers, the better everyone is going to be. It’s not just about him and his development. It’s about everybody else’s development as well.”
According to Howard, he’s been focusing specifically on his footwork this offseason in order to create a quicker, more precise delivery.
“Coming into the offseason, I really wanted to focus on my feet and making better movements in the pocket,” said Howard. “I worked with Mike (Joseph) on my first step. It all starts with my drop, first step and calming that down, getting back fast so I don’t want to come up fast. I need to step back, step up and deliver the ball.”
The improvement of the WVU receiving core has also helped Howard upgrade his game. Redshirt-junior Ka’Raun White has specifically caught Howard’s attention.
“You can tell they’re really getting it,” said Howard. “One that’s really coming along is Ka’Raun (White). He’s really coming along. He’s really making a name for himself and making a lot of plays.”
The Mountaineers will continue spring practice sessions throughout the next few weeks. On April 23, the annual Gold-Blue Spring Football Game will be held at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV.