Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Spavital Could Be a Boost to WVU's QB Production

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Spavital Could Be a Boost to WVU's QB Production

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN - A week ago today, Dana Holgorsen hired Jake Spavital to be his offensive coordinator at West Virginia, and that refreshed a conversation that's existed in both hushed and exaggerated tones for every one of Holgorsen's six seasons in charge of the football program. Who's calling the plays?

Should it be Holgorsen, who has always done it here and possesses the profile of a person a fan would want calling plays for his or her team? Or should he be untethered from that duty and step back to oversee the entire operation and everything that requires attention and action during a game?

Three days later, Spavital emerged as the answer, though to a wholly different question.

William Crest, who at one point was the presumed long-term answer at quarterback, announced Monday he will transfer. A four-star recruit in 2014, Crest never threw a touchdown pass for WVU.

His career was detoured by a bad right shoulder, and his departure actually and improbably affects WVU's special teams more than its offense, because he volunteered to cover kicks as a way to play a part and help the team. Crest was the gem of his recruiting class and he was a gem for the character of the team, but that doesn't quiet another one of those conversations about Holgorsen.

Where are the can't-miss, blue-chip quarterbacks?

This is where Spavital surely comes into play. He may or may not call plays. WVU might need new ideas to get touchdowns instead of field goals in the red zone. Spavital could make quality decisions in an instant and under pressure. Perhaps he cooks up some two-play drives the Mountaineers dearly need.

Or maybe he just makes life easier for Holgorsen. At the very least, Spavital now coaches quarterbacks. Holgorsen did a lot of that the last few years with his graduate assistant, Mike Burchett. But it has to further help Holgorsen to be surrounded by Spavital, his graduate assistant at Houston and Oklahoma State and WVU's quarterbacks coach in 2011-12, as well as Joe Wickline. He was WVU's offensive coordinator last season and Oklahoma State's offensive line coach in 2010 when Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator and Spavital was a graduate assistant.

But the identity of the person calling the plays isn't the concern. …

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