On Saturday afternoon West Virginia will cap off its spring with the annual Gold-Blue Game. While practices will officially come to a halt and many players will prepare to finish out the academic year, there is still much work to be done. As Mountaineer offensive coordinator Jake Spavital explained, it is the summer months when quarterbacks and skill position players can really develop camaraderie, timing and much more.
"That's something I am going to tell them after the spring game," said Spavital. "The offense already has the base philosophy in and how good those guys want to be is going to be predicated off of the work they put in in the summer. Not just understanding the timing element with the receivers but also getting in the film room and studying, working and understanding everything that we do from an offensive standpoint. Typically you're going to have a good feel for where you're going to be heading into fall camp based off of how they perform all summer."
A shining example of just how integral the upcoming summer months are is the chemistry that former Mountaineers Shelton Gibson and Skyler Howard were able to develop over the previous off-seasons. The two would often fly to Fort Worth and work on route running, timing and much more. The result was one of the most consistent and dangerous deep connections in all of college football.
Now, both Gibson and Howard have set their sights set on the upcoming NFL draft and it will be up to players like Will Grier, David Sills and others to perfect different aspects of their games. This is something that isn't new to Sills and Grier however, as earlier in the year head coach Dana Holgorsen noted that the two had developed a friendship shortly after Sills arrived on campus. Sills has also taken some lessons from former Eastern Christian Academy and West Virginia teammate Daikiel Shorts on how to develop his receiving game, and the junior's preparation and attention to detail has impressed his new offensive coordinator.
"Probably the biggest surprise to me is David Sills," said Spavital. "I didn't really know much about him.I had seen the previous tape of him in 2015. He is an intelligent player and you're going see him play every single (receiver) position which is a rarity for me. I already have that much trust in the guy and his demeanor and presence and leadership is pretty awesome. It's impressive and he has earned the right to where we can utilize him at every position in the receiver room."
Sills, who is going through his third spring at West Virginia but first as a full-time wide receiver, likes where the offense is at and feels that things are starting to click, but he reiterated many of Spavital's comments when he discussed his plan for the upcoming summer.
"Most likely we'll be out here a lot in the summer. In the summer I will just text Will (Grier) and see if he wants to throw and sometimes he'll text me. We'll go out there around five or six at night, especially in the summer because the weather will be nice. Usually all the guys - the running backs, the receivers and most of the quarterbacks will be there."