Will Grier has made the decision to focus on the NFL Draft and forego his final game for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Many fans are upset with the idea of a player not playing in a game. I’m not here to tell you how you should feel (hint: support the player’s decision) but I will tell you how this decision is actually better for West Virginia in the long run.
With Will Grier starting, the Mountaineers were favored by as much as a touchdown against their Camping World Bowl opponents, the Syracuse Orange. Now, with the announcement of Will Grier and All-Big 12 left tackle Yodny Cajuste choosing to sit out the last game, the Mountaineers are now favored by as little as two points.
So, Jake, how exactly is West Virginia in a better position now than with a former almost-Heisman contender starting? Well, they aren’t in a better position in the Camping World Bowl but moving into the 2019 season is a different story. Jack Allison, presumably, should receive all of the first string reps, giving him a leg up as we head into the next season. Coaches can now evaluate Allison with a full game under his belt to see exactly how he fares.
Should Allison have two good weeks of bowl prep and a solid showing in the Camping World Bowl, fans and coaches know they have a decent starting quarterback to build on next year. If Allison has a poor showing, freshman Trey Lowe is waiting in the wings and the coaches can make decision if they want to give Lowe a chance to be a four-year starter.
Either scenario is good for West Virginia in the long run, as it gives coaches knowledge going into the offseason. Do they need to focus on finding another quarterback from the JUCO or transfer ranks, or can they feel confident with the two signal callers they have waiting in the wings? Will Dana Holgorsen be left with a quarterback battle or will he already have a starter when fall camp starts?
Grier’s decision leaves West Virginia weaker in the short term for the Camping World Bowl but should leave the Mountaineers stronger as they head into 2019.