Howard: Timing, Trust Left For WVU Offense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Confidence and accountability have never been questions that surround Skyler Howard. And now, showing even more moxie than in the preseason, the quarterback has laid out the goals for West Virginia's offense over the 10 days prior to the season opener - and they're major keys for the year.

Howard expressed the prototypical common theme of timing as one of his concerns, the issue of simply grasping the more minute details in head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense and morphing that understanding into play on the field. There's the nuances, the body language, the recognition of how a teammate will approach a given situation and react accordingly. Then there's the second goal, and one that had the junior at his usually quite forthcoming self when detailing his relationship to center Tyler Orlosky and the rest of the offense.

"Trust," Howard said. "The quarterback is the leader of the offense and we kinda butt heads at times, but essentially it's my offense now and I have to take it by the reins. We are still working things out."

Meaning more that the pair often see various ways to attack defenses, and might have personal preferences - neither wrong - for each. Among the prime examples of last year was a play against Kansas State in the second half. West Virginia was set-up at the seven-yard-line and Orlosky, not liking the Wildcats' front, wanted to change the blocking scheme. Howard denied the change - in his first major action - then delivered a scoring strike to Kevin White.

"That really impressed me," Cody Clay said. "It was cool seeing him do that his fifth play at quarterback. You have to have some kind of personality, some kind of confidence as a quarterback. There's no doubt he's the one."

That's not to imply there are any major issues between individual players, or segments of players. But there's no question within this offense there are multiple ways to operate, and a selection of choices made on a per-play basis. And those choices, and the final say on such, are Howard's via his position.

"We are a unit, and I think we need to get that through some people's heads," Howard said. "Ultimately, I'm the leader. ... Other positions see things differently, and that's getting on the same page and trust. We need to trust each other, including me."

Howard, below, also detailed the continuing battle at outside receiver, trusting himself and his play, and remaining within the schematic and philosophic sense of the offense. Howard also speaks to his film review with wideouts, the adaptability of Daikiel Shorts on the inside and the team readiness for the opener.



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