By Cam Huffman
The competition is wide open once again.
After Paul Millard’s performance Saturday in Norman, Okla., where he completed just 21 of 41 passes for 218 yards and missed open receivers for what could have been some big plays, West Virginia University head coach Dana Holgorsen indicated during Monday’s Big 12 conference call that the battle for the starting quarterback position is up for grabs.
The battle wasn’t decided during spring practice when Millard, a junior, battled redshirt-freshman Ford Childress, nor in the summer, when Florida State transfer Clint Trickett was added to the mix. Millard appeared to have grabbed control after a solid performance against William & Mary, but he looked uncomfortable again against the Sooners, tossing an interception and losing a fumble, prompting Holgorsen to consider a change.
“We’ll shake that up a good bit,” said the third-year coach, who didn’t say he’d start Trickett Saturday when Georgia State comes to Morgantown, but did hint that it’s a possibility. “We will definitely shake things up on the offensive side of the ball, as it pertains to our pass game. I’m not happy with that. We need to be way more efficient than we have been. The quarterback reps will change, and I would anticipate some starting lineup changes with the receivers, as well.”
It’s possible more than one quarterback could play against the Panthers on Saturday. Holgorsen isn’t intent on finding a starter this week. He said the competition will continue until one of them does something to win it.
“I would rather not (use Saturday’s game as an audition),” said Holgorsen. “But the current situation that exists is we’re going to have to continue to practice until somebody takes the lead.
“I’d have liked to have settled on somebody two weeks ago. We settled on Paul, because we thought he gave us the best chance to win the opener and then travel to win the OU game. I told the other two guys at that point, as well, that they need to stay ready. They need to keep improving on the task at hand. When you have an opportunity to get in and rep, then you need to get in and rep.”
Holgorsen said he isn’t sure what it will take to win the battle, but he’s confident he’ll know it when he sees it.
“Obviously it’s success, but I don’t know when I’m going to feel good about somebody to the point that they grab the bull by the horns and lead the team to victories and look good doing it,” he said. “Until that happens, I would assume we’re going to continue to play all three.”
Childress has never thrown a collegiate pass after redshirting last season. Trickett had a couple of starts at Florida State but went three-and-out in his two drives against William & Mary and didn’t complete a pass. Holgorsen has indicated that the son of former WVU offensive line coach Rick Trickett has the skills but is still learning the WVU offense. He didn’t arrive in Morgantown until after spring practice.
n n n
The injury update on linebacker Doug Rigg, who left the OU game on a stretcher after being knocked unconscious, was a positive one. Rigg flew back to West Virginia with the team and is expected to be back on the field soon.
“Doug’s doing fine,” said Holgorsen. “Thankfully, he’s responding and everything is clear. He’s a little foggy still, and he has a very minor concussion. It was a scary situation, and he was knocked out cold. Luckily, he’s doing just fine. He’s questionable for this Saturday, but we’ll monitor his progress all week.”
n n n
The WVU-Maryland game on Sept. 21 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., will begin at 3:30 p.m. and air on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. The network will be announced this Sunday.
— E-mail: chuffman@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.