Friday, October 21, 2016

With the official announcement that former University of Florida quarterback Will Grier will transfer to West Virginia it’s time to look at what Grier can bring to the Mountaineers offense when he becomes eligible.

In only one season as the Gators starting QB, Grier threw for 1204 yards with 10 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions with a 65.8% completion percentage. With Grier as the starter, Florida averaged 32 PPG and were 6-0. However, without Grier they fell to 16.5 PPG with a 4-4 record. So what is it about Grier that makes him so special to an offense?

After reviewing a couple of games that Grier played in last season for Florida, there are a couple things that stand out to me;

His pocket presence is outstanding considering his youth. He has the awareness to get out of the pocket when he feels pressure but isn’t afraid to step up and make a throw under the same pressure. Perfect examples that illustrate both situations came against No.3 Ole Miss (video below).

During the Gators opening drive, Grier stays in his three step drop with defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche two-yards away from a sack and delivers a bomb to Demarcus Robinson for a 36-yard touchdown. Late in the 1st quarter, Ole Miss dials up an all out blitz and Grier rolls out of the pocket and delivers a first down throw on the sidelines. Late in the 2nd quarter, Ole Miss dials up a blitz with both DE collapsing the pocket and Grier stays in his 3 step drop, reading the progressions then delivers a strike for a late touchdown. The most impressive instant of his pocket presence was on display during the Missouri game during the 1st play of the game when Grier rolled out and threw off his back foot to his tight end for a 12-yard gain.

His ability to take care of the football is outstanding which becomes clear based off his stats. Throwing just three interceptions in the stout SEC is impressive enough but if you truly look at the throws he made during the season, it makes it that much more impressive. Grier isn’t afraid to throw the ball into coverage but what separates him from most is his ability to put the ball where only his receiver can catch it. Later, against Kentucky, Grier leads his wide receivers just past the coverage for a 35-yard gain and against New Mexico State during the home opener Grier connects on a post for a touchdown but the ball placement is what made the throw. He puts the ball in front of his receiver at chest level where only he can catch it.

When you watch the offense that the Gators run, it isn’t all that different from the Mountaineers. Grier was exposed to the read option offense along with the air raid during his limited season. He also succeed in both areas and can be successful whether in the shotgun or under center which speaks to the type of athlete Grier is. Grier is much like Skyler Howard in his running game when the coverage is good but has the ability to turn nothing into something real quick.

The most impressive thing that Grier possess, however, is his leadership of his teammates and his command in the offense. When things were down for the Gator his offensive teammates seemed to look to him for answers and he delivered. There is easily a comparison to Tim Tebow in Grier’s leadership ability which is huge for any quarterback to have. Look at the Tennessee tape if you don’t believe that statement. Trailing 27-14 with 6 minutes to go, Grier carried the offense to a comeback 28-27 win over the rival Volunteers. Also facing a top Ole Miss team the following week, Florida wasn’t given a chance and Grier threw for 271 yards and 4 touchdowns with a 83% completion percentage.

With Grier now onboard for the Mountaineers the only question that I have is when will he be eligible? His stats are backed up by his impressive play which is likely to only going to get better during his tenure at WVU.