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Allison has ‘turned into a guy’ Mountaineers like at No. 2 QB

West Virginia sophomore quarterback Jack Allison makes throws during practice drills in Morgantown.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There was Will Grier’s mangled finger that knocked him out for two games and Skyler Howard’s tender ribs that sidelined him for two series. Ford Childress had the season-ending pectoral tear and Clint Trickett suffered the career-ending concussion.

During four of the past five seasons, West Virginia’s starting quarterback has suffered an injury of some varying severity that forced coach Dana Holgorsen to insert a backup.

Now it’s Jack Allison on deck.

While no one in the football building dares tempt the what-ifs of Grier being injured again, there’s at least a modicum of comfort in Allison’s capability to step in.

“We’re all pleased with Jack and how he’s handling the communication and operational side of things, and that was a concern in the spring,” Mountaineers offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said Saturday.

After sitting out last season as a transfer from Miami, the 6-foot-5 Allison enters fall as a redshirt sophomore. He showed progress in the summertime throwing sessions and film room to the point where Spavital says “he’s natural with whatever I throw at him” and can communicate it out to the offense.

“He’s one snap away from playing, and he’s turned into a guy i feel pretty comfortable with,” Spavital said.

Unlike Grier, who drew raves for practice performances during his year sitting out, Allison wasn’t immediately dazzling. Spavital noticed a kid who was unsure about his new setting and didn’t have many friends.

Now Allison has “built continuity with everybody” and frequently hears praise from older receivers when he checks into the proper call, the coordinator said.

Along with more positive feedback, there’s simply more of Allison. Fragile-framed at less than 200 pounds last season, he’s up to 212 now. Still slightly built for a quarterback of his height, Allison could climb to 225 by next fall when he’s in line to become the starter.

“He’s got a live arm and can make all the throws,” Spavital said. “You guys are going to enjoy watching him air it out.”

More on backups

While Charlie Benton (Sam), Dylan Tonkery (Mike) and David Long (Will) are the first-string linebackers, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson wants more out of his backups.

Adam Hensley and Zach Sandwisch are in the mix at Mike, with true freshman Josh Chandler working at Will, and junior Shea Campbell at Sam.

“I think the twos right now are me and Coach Scott,” Gibson joked.

On the offensive line, Spavital said Kelby Wickline has positioned himself to be the “swing guy”
behind left tackle Yodny Cajusate and right tackle Colton McKivitz.


“Ten years ago they had their air mattresses, and they’d be on the couches in the players’ lounge, and they couldn’t move.” — Tony Gibson on the reduction of preseason camp contact

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