Redshirt junior quarterback Will Grier showed once again that he’s more than just a passer.
The Florida transfer rushed for 51 yards on 10 carries along with two critical fourth quarter touchdowns to help secure West Virginia’s first Big 12 win of the season over Kansas.
Saturday’s win over the Jayhawks marked the second time this season that Grier rushed for at least 50 yards in a game and the first this season where he found the end zone himself. During his time at Florida, Grier rushed for at least 50 yards in a game just once.
“I’m comfortable running the ball,” Grier said. “ I think it’s a weapon.”
The looming concern with allowing Grier to run the ball is putting him at risk for injury. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital have repeatedly said that they want to limit Grier’s carries and have him take less hits.
For Grier, part of the solution lies within his ability to improve on sliding in order to avoid hits at the end of his runs.
“I suck at sliding,” Grier said. “I’m working on that. I’m going to practice that.”
Though Grier has yet to get in the habit of sliding after runs, junior wide receiver David Sills believes Grier’s dual threat ability and competitive nature to fight for every yard separates him from the pack.
“He’s a football player,” Sills said. “I think that will set him apart from a lot of other quarterbacks in the country right now.”
Grier’s dual threat ability provides West Virginia’s dynamic rushing attack with another weapon along with the team’s leading rusher in senior running back Justin Crawford and complimentary backs in sophomores Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway.
As seen in the past, it’s not uncommon for West Virginia quarterbacks to play a significant role in the running game, but Grier’s passing ability and worth to the offense will likely keep him from taking on a bigger role in West Virginia’s running game, despite being the team's third-leading rusher.
Though West Virginia’s backfield provides the offense with a solid ground game with proven running backs, that will most likely not stop Grier from being aggressive and carrying the ball in certain situations.
“He’s a competitor.” Sills said. “He’s not just going to throw it away. He’s going to try to make a play and that’s what he does out there and he’s pretty good at it.”
Grier admits that he only runs the ball when necessary and that he doesn’t see himself carrying the ball much moving forward, but depending on the situation, you may see him tuck it in and take off.
“I’ll run when I need to,” Grier said. “A lot of these aren’t designed runs. I don’t ever go into a game wanting to run the ball 10-15 times, but sometimes you gotta do it.”