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Chad Scott adjusting to new responsibilities, new vantage points as WVU’s offensive coordinator

(Chad Scott press conference)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It is highly unlikely that West Virginia’s offense in 2023 will evolve into a rushing-dominated attack that resembles Army, Navy or Air Force. But a consistent refrain from head coach Neal Brown and new offensive coordinator Chad Scott is that the Mountaineers need to “play to their strengths” this fall.

Those strengths include an offensive line that will likely feature five returning starters, four running backs that all rushed for at least 83 yards in a game last season, and a pair of dual threat quarterbacks.

WVU running backs coach Chad Scott (Photo by Ben Queen/www.BenQueenPhotography.com)

Newly-minted as the team’s offensive coordinator after serving as the co-OC in each of the last three seasons, Chad Scott has added responsibilities for a West Virginia offense that averaged 26.4 points per game in Big 12 contests last season. That mark was eighth in the ten-team conference.

“We’ve got to play towards our strengths. Our strength right now is those guys up front and those guys behind them. But those guys outside, they have to continue to do things that they did [Tuesday],” Scott said.

The Mountaineers opened official spring practices Tuesday morning. 13 more practices and the annual Gold-Blue Game are scheduled over the next four weeks.

Scott remains the running backs coach, a position he has held since joining Neal Brown’s initial staff in 2019.

“I am so used to being tunnel-visioned towards the running backs and linebackers and running around, it is just being able to see the whole picture and see everything that’s going on. That’s going to be the biggest adjustment.

“I am loving the leadership opportunity. I feel like one of my best abilities is being able to connect with the guys and bring out the best in them.”

Many aspects of Scott’s role as offensive coordinator are not yet clearly defined. As running backs coach, Scott has coached on the field during games. Offensive coordinators are often situated in the press box to get a full-field perspective.

“That’s going to be something I have to work through this spring. If you ask me right now, I don’t want to go up. But we’ll see.”

Brown previously said that play calling duties are not yet officially assigned and that spring practices will serve as an evaluation point. Brown called the plays in his first three seasons before relinquishing those duties to Graham Harrell last fall.

“We’ll continue to work through the spring and see how it goes,” Scott said.

Nov 12, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers assistant coach Chad Scott during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously, calling plays is a big deal. But one of the more important parts is just the organization of it.”

Scott was officially promoted to offensive coordinator on January 16. The players were informed in a team meeting as the spring semester began and a raucous celebration followed.

“One of the players told me, ‘Coach, I have never seen you like that’. Even when I went with the offense after that team meeting, I was kind of all jittered up and it was a little bit of disbelief and excitement at the same time. But it was awesome to see their reception towards that.”

Brown said Monday that the quarterback competition between junior Garrett Greene and redshirt freshman Nicco Marchiol should continue well into preseason training camp in August. Both provide dual-threat ability that quarterbacks over the last four seasons have not.

“I think the biggest difference you guys will see initially is the fact that we’ve got two mobile quarterbacks. We haven’t had that since we’ve been here.

“We can do some different things in the run game with the zone reads and taking advantage of their mobility and their ability to create more space for us in the run game. You’ll see with the running backs we have in this offense being able to see those guys on the field at the same time, both in the backfield and, we did that a little bit [Tuesday], one in the backfield and one flexed out. We’re able to take advantage of those guys in the passing game.”

Greene assumed the starting role in November and came off the bench to lead the Mountaineers to a win over Oklahoma. He rushed for 276 yards on 45 attempts with 5 touchdowns. Both Greene and Marchiol allow the Mountaineers to utilize zone read concepts since both possess the ability to tote the ball.

Nov 12, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Garrett Greene (6) celebrates after a first down late during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

“I thought the reads were really clean [Tuesday]. It was a surprise to our defense too. They were diving in towards those backs and they weren’t used to defending both. It created a couple explosive runs for those guys. I thought the decision-making was really good with the zone reads, which we had no idea how they were going to do in that regard because it was the first time we had done it. It was the first time we played in flat-out open sets.”

Tony Mathis Jr. (562 rushing yards, 5 TD), CJ Donaldson (526 rushing yards, 8 TD), Justin Johnson Jr. (430 rushing yards, 3 TD) and Jaylen Anderson (275 rushing yards, 2 TD) all return to the WVU backfield.

“The toughest part of that is those guys being unselfish. But those guys have phenomenal chemistry back there. Their willingness to block, period, or being able to block for one another won’t be an issue. I think they’ll be fine doing that.”

Donaldson’s outstanding freshman season was cut short by injury after just seven games. He is participating in some drills during spring practice.

“Today, he was out there running around. He obviously won’t be involved in a lot of true contact. But days like today, we’ll take advantage of,” Scott said.

WVU’s most high-profile addition from the transfer portal is North Carolina State transfer receiver Devin Carter.

“He made two outstanding contested catches in crucial situations [Tuesday]. We’re real excited about his ability to stretch the field vertically for us and go up and make some big plays down the field.”





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