Quarterback changes are tricky, especially in the middle of the season. By this time receivers and the signal callers have developed a rhythm, they know each others tendencies. That is not developed overnight. When it comes to Skyler Howard those relationships may not have fully developed yet as WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen pointed out yesterday stating, “the rapport that Clint and Kevin had doesn’t exist right now”. The fact remains though they are there to some degree, they have to be.
Howard’s struggles have also not completely been on his shoulders, some of that falls on an offensive line that showed improvement against Oklahoma State. When it comes to Howard it is not a lack of heart or talent, it is his inability to let the game come to him.
“He rushes things all game against Oklahoma State, and he did against Oklahoma”, Holgorsen said when asked about Skyler’s composure. But here is the statement that has led to this article, “he’s done what he asked him to do in the past, but he has to do that all the time. If he can’t do it all the time then we need to find someone that can”.
The question though is who. William Crest has been in the system for a year and a half now. He has seen time this season at tailback, at quarterback, and at wide receiver. Being as though Crest is able to fill in at those positions makes one thing blatantly obvious, he knows the offense. So why is he yet to be a viable option? When asked about Crest’s development at the QB position Holgorsen responded, “he’s a redshirt freshman, he’s taking reps. He has to continue to understand what I want him to do with the ball and where I want him to put his eyes”. Holgorsen also stated last week that Crest, “needed to improve”.
While Holgorsen later made the exact same statement regarding Howard he did also state that Howard does things that others don’t see, “what he sees allows us to get to a point where we are rushing for 200 plus yards per game.
Simply put, Crest is still not ready.
To look any further down the depth chart you are now looking at burning the redshirt of a true freshman in Chris Chugunov. Is that truly a viable option in the middle of the season when he is considered by many to be the future of the program? This is much like the situation last season with Crest who ended up taking a medical redshirt of sustaining a shoulder injury early in the season. Would it be considered conceding the season if this change was made?
Howard needs to get better, but it is not talent that he is lacking. He needs to be able to trust his reads and become more comfortable in the pocket. Once those issues are resolved results should improve. If they don’t, there is something else to talk about.
Regardless, with Baylor and TCU coming up on the schedule now is not the time to make a change of this magnitude. There are times you have to trust the decision making of the head coach. Dana obviously feels that Howard is still the best option. While Crest is continuing to improve, on-the-job-training may not be the smartest move in the middle of the Big 12 portion of the season.