Since things haven’t panned out for the 6-foot-2, 210-pound redshirt sophomore, he did what anyone that just wants to get on the field would do. Crest decided to open his mind to changing positions.
Last season Mountaineer fans saw the Baltimore, Maryland native at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. This spring he is continuing to develop his skills at all three positions.
“Right now I am playing a little bit of inside, a little bit of running back, little bit of quarterback,” Crest said. “A little bit of everything. Just sticking with it and seeing where it can take me.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for Crest to make but it came down to wanting to do what was best for him and WVU.
“There was some hesitation there but I had to realize this is bigger than me,” he said. “And playing high school ball you’re the guy and people depend on you and that’s what you are use to. But when you go to the next level you have to realize that it’s bigger than wanting to be that guy. That’s why we all compete against each other but when it comes to the point that there are multiple athletes on the team why not use them. And that’s why I volunteered and that’s why I went to coach and asked why not give it a shot.”
Crest looked at Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, who was the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback from 2011 to 2013 before moving to wide receiver last season, when deciding to give the position change a shot.
“If you look at Braxton Miller, that’s a person that I looked to in this situation,” Crest said. “He was playing quarterback and did well, did phenomenally well and turned around and ended up playing wide receiver. He did well with that. Why not be a game changer? Why not bring a different feel to the game? And that’s what I am trying to do.”
Tavon Austin is another example of what adapting to a new opportunity can do for a career and a team. In 2013, Austin lined up as a running back against Oklahoma and rushed for a school record 344 yards and two touchdowns.
“Right before that game (against Oklahoma) we was getting ready to play an important game and we watched the highlights on that and being in high school you don’t think well he was a slot receiver and now they have him at running back,” Crest said. “Well Tavon played running back in high school. I seen it for my own eyes. And seeing him do those things it’s like he has that ability why not use it? I think that’s what coach (Dana) Holgorsen is doing right now. He’s the mastermind behind all of it.”
Crest hasn’t always been a quarterback. He has dabbled at other positions as a child and he just wants to get on the field.
“I played multiple positions growing up, but at the end of the day its all about being an athlete and making plays and having fun,” he said.
Being versatile is something Crest enjoys and can help the Mountaineers win games.
“It does make me feel good, but at the end of the day it’s not just you, you’re helping your team out,” he said. “At the end of the day, you’re not walking on that field by yourself. Just because I can play multiple positions doesn’t mean I can go it’s William, William, William. No it’s 11 other guys. Not necessarily 11 but it’s a team thing. And I’m doing anything to help this team.”
Crest is embracing change with open arms and learning as he goes. He has a lot to learn at the running back position.
“Ball security is the most important thing,” he said. “We touch on it a lot. We do it before practice and after practice and coach puts a big emphasis on ball security and what it means. There is a different type of way to carry the ball playing running back and playing quarterback. It’s different from handing the ball off than receiving the ball. I have some problems with that but that’s part of the game. You are going to make mistakes you just got to keep your head up and keep going.”
Changing positions has been a challenge at times for Crest but he knows what he has to do to become an effective player at any position.
“It gets complicated sometimes to be honest but you have to sit down and just listen,” he said. “God gave you two ears so listen more than you talk. So when the coach is up there talking, listen to what they’re saying and take it all in. When you are on the field, not on the field looking at the coaches getting signals, you looking at the plays, looking at different looks. So it gets complicated sometimes but you just got to sit back and just look at everything, breathe and take it all in.”
Crest just wants to be a game changer and that is what he intends to do when fall rolls around.