Holgorsen talks injuries in preparation for YSU

MORGANTOWN — Two things veteran West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen won’t due when it comes to his No. 14 ranked Mountaineers — make excuses concerning injuries or divulge any secrets when it comes to redshirt senior quarterback Will Grier.

“Well, injuries affect everything,” Holgorsen said during Tuesday’s press conference. “We aren’t going to sit here and pout about it. It’s part of the game, and we’re prepared for any of our guys for that to happen to. It’s an unfortunate thing about the game, but it’s never going to go away. It’s what we always talk about — guys need to step up and go play. I think (redshirt junior) Shea Campbell did a nice job of going in there. The kid never played college football before, and Shea went in there and did a good job.

“Guys like (redshirt freshman) Exree Loe and (freshman) Josh Chandler need to quit being freshmen and grow up and play ball. Guys like (junior) Adam Hensley and (redshirt sophomore) Zach Sandwisch, who have been here for three years now, need to produce. They need to earn their scholarship, and they need to produce.”

And help is on the way in the form of senior Quondarius Qualls and redshirt sophomore Brendan Ferns. Both underwent surgeries for injuries suffered during the 2017 campaign and should be cleared to play sometime over the next 4 -6weeks.

“We still have Qualls and Ferns, who are rehabbing their tails off, who are getting closer to being able to get out there and play football. So, it’s part of it, but that’s why we have 85 scholarships, and guys who are the next guy up need to step up and play, and I expect them to do that,” Holgorsen said.

But, the veteran head coach wasn’t ready to say just when the duo will be available for play.

“I’ll let you know when we’re getting close, but we’re not there yet,” he said.

When it comes to his Heisman Trophy candidate signal caller, Holgorsen was matter-of-fact when asked how he would evaluate Grier if he was an opposing head coach.

“I’m not going to tell you that,” Holgorsen said. “Why would I tell you that.”

But, when it comes to the Mountaineers’ offensive attack, it is Grier who is its trigger and the one most responsible for its success or failure.

Against Tennessee and first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt, the North Carolina native was at his best, completing 25 of 34 attempts for a career-high 429 yards and five touchdowns.

“You heard me talking about Skyler (Howard) when it comes to this, too,” Holgorsen said. “It’s why the second-year playing quarterback is always easier than the first year. The first year, you’re trying to figure everything out, trying to gain timing with receivers and understand the offense and play ball and all that stuff.

“The second year is always a lot easier, and really, this is his third year. He redshirted, you played, you played. Even Skyler redshirted, played, played. (Clint) Trickett’s first year was pretty bad, and the second year was a lot slower just in overall comfortability of just the overall offense in general. It slows things down, and when you look at things, you have answers to where year one. You look at things and you say, ‘I don’t like that, but I don’t know what else to call, so I snap the ball.’ It’s just experience more than anything.”

That experience will again be on display today when Youngstown State University looks to accomplish something that few have been able to do since Grier took over the offense last year — stop WVU’s passing attack.