WVU Gameday Blog

The need for speed

West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms, left, catches a 48-yard touchdown pass ahead of Iowa State defensive back Brian Peavy (10) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The biggest news that came out of Dana Holgorsen’s press conference Tuesday was that Marcus Simms’ one-game suspension would be just that. He’ll be available for Saturday’s game versus East Carolina.

Not that WVU’s passing game struggled without him. Gary Jennings caught 189 yards’ worth of passes and Will Grier opened his WVU career with a 371-yard, three-touchdown performance. But Simms offers a trait that WVU can’t get enough of in its receiving corps. From Holgorsen:

“He’s got that speed factor. We played [freshman] Reggie [Roberson] about 30 snaps [against Virginia Tech]. He was targeted I think twice. The more he plays, the more comfortable Will will be targeting him. He gives us the speed guy and Marcus gives us the speed guy and we desperately need that.”

It’s not so much the need for Saturday’s game. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Grier’s numbers go down versus the Pirates just because they won’t throw that much. James Madison bulldozed ECU for 410 rushing yards last week. Granted, this is the reigning FCS champ we’re talking about. The Dukes are pretty good. But if JMU can do that, what can Justin Crawford, Kennedy McCoy and company do? And the Dukes still went 17 of 24 for 204 yards passing, so it wasn’t like East Carolina was shutting them down.

No, this is a move that will benefit once the Big 12 season rolls around and football games become track meets/PlayStation games. The more speed, the better in trying to keep up with the rest of the conference in scoring, and Simms will provide plenty of it.

Now he’ll get a couple of games to warm up before WVU really needs it.