Chad Grier has two roles in his son's life: father and coach.
The coach expects a lot. He is admittedly harder on his star pupil than other players. He certainly doesn't get wowed by a standout play. Will Grier is the star quarterback. He's supposed to play like a star on the football field.
However, there are times when coach turns to dad. It happened recently Grier was playing basketball.
“As a dad, there are times I watch him do things athletically, like out in the driveway, a 360-degree (dunk), I just shake my head (and I say) ‘My God, I don’t know who his real daddy is but he must have been a hell of an athlete,’ ” Chad Grier joked. “It’s crazy some of the things he can do.”
Chad Grier was more dad than coach at times this summer. As he stood by Florida head coach Will Muschamp during a camp in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, dad was admittedly taken aback.
“I’m just thinking this is pretty cool,” Chad Grier said. “But for Will, it never dawned on him who was watching or where he was doing it, he just loves to compete.”
Will Grier has performed well at passing camps. That, along with his play last year, has netted the junior from Davidson (N.C.) Day scholarship offers from East Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Louisiana-Lafayette. In three games this year, Grier has completed 80-of-106 passes for 1,153 yards, 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions. All with a dad/coach who happens to be Day's offensive coordinator. The elder Grier is certainly not afraid to crack down -- if it were ever needed.
“That’s not always easy on the kid but he’s handled it with such grace,” Chad Grier said. “He actually makes it easy. He’s such a hard worker. He’s held to a higher standard and I have high expectations of him, but he does a great job of meeting or exceeding those. He’s a very hard working kid, very respectful. If he wasn’t my son, he’s still the kind of player you’d like to have on your team.”
Chad Grier knows his son's various strengths better than other coaches. Sure, Will Grier can be a pocket passer but it would be foolish to discount his running ability. That has led to a very multiple offense.
“My high school kind of runs pro-style but we get into some spread and we get into some zone-option stuff,” Will Grier said. “We run a little bit of everything and I feel comfortable running a little bit of everything. I run a pro-style offense but I also like to run the ball a little bit.”
Comfortable turned into overconfidence at times last year. Running the ball a little bit turned into too much. Both Griers admit that Will was too apt to force throws into tight coverage. This offseason was all about improving Grier's over-aggressive nature and, most of all, pocket presence. By all accounts, it's worked.
“I'm definitely more patient and poised in the pocket,” Grier said. “Instead of scrambling out and just running, which I got in the habit a little bit last year, I'm really trying to stay in the pocket, improve my pocket presence and look downfield.”
The hard work didn't start recently. Partly thanks to some parental coaching, a dedication to the craft has been present throughout high school.
“Ever since my freshman year I've been working on basic fundamentals and footwork,” Grier said. “(Dad has) really been pushing me. It's made me better and better. I really devoted myself these last couple of years to just doing everything he says and learning at these camps and just becoming the best I can be.
“I've devoted myself to the weight room. I'd say this last year (in 2011) we had a pretty good season. I had big stats and we won a lot of games. That just motivated me to get better. This offseason I worked my tail off again.”
Don't think that a feature story on ESPN.com or another handful of offers will change Grier. He seems intent on improving whether he's noticed or not.
“Everything good that’s happened to him motivates him to get better,” Chad Grier said. “I’m very proud of him both as a dad and a coach.”