By Cam Huffman
Last week he was standing on the sidelines in Norman, Okla., holding a clipboard and sporting a baseball cap as the odd man out in West Virginia University’s three-man quarterback competition. On Saturday, he’ll take the field with the first-team unit when the Mountaineers (1-1) host Georgia State.
In a surprise announcement Thursday night on his weekly radio show, WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen broke the news that redshirt-freshman Ford Childress will be the starting quarterback for Saturday’s noon kickoff.
“It’s his time, it’s his job and we’re going to see what he can do,” said Holgorsen, who has insisted all season he plans on choosing a quarterback and sticking with him. “We opened it up on Tuesday, and Ford took it and ran with it. He threw the ball as well as he’s ever thrown it, and he managed the huddle really good.”
Childress — who was 20-1 as a starter in two seasons at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas, throwing for 3,171 yards and 41 touchdowns in 10 games as a senior in 2011 — was involved in a two-man battle with junior Paul Millard to replace school record-holder Geno Smith during the spring and was part of a three-man competition, which also included Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, during the summer.
During the final week of preparation before the season opener against William & Mary, however, Childress was ruled out of the competition, and Millard and Trickett took all of the practice snaps. Trickett played in just two series in the opener, going three-and-out in both, and Millard was on the field for the rest of that 24-17 Mountaineer victory. Millard took every snap in the 16-7 WVU loss to Oklahoma last week. On the season, the Flower Mound, Texas, native has completed 40 of 66 passes for 455 yards and a touchdown.
But Millard looked uncomfortable against the Sooners. He missed open receivers, lost a fumble and threw an interception. Holgorsen announced on Monday that he was reopening the race and including all three quarterbacks.
“I loved (Childress’) attitude on the sidelines last week,” said Holgorsen. “He was probably the most active guy we had. I think he sat there on the sidelines and said, ‘I think I can do this.’”
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The other news that came out of Thursday night’s show on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG was that linebacker Doug Rigg and safety K.J. Dillon have been ruled out for Saturday’s game.
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.