The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 12, 2013

WVU needs to settle on starting quarterback

MORGANTOWN — It must be surprising to some observers that West Virginia has yet to settle on a starting quarterback going into the third week of the season.

 What was billed by offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and head coach Dana Holgorsen as a two-way race going into the Aug. 31 game against William & Mary has suddenly, this week, become a three-way battle for the nod.

As it has turned out, junior Paul Millard has played all but two series in the Mountaineers’ struggling 24-17 come-from-behind conquest against William & Mary and last Saturday’s offense-lacking 16-7 loss at overrated Oklahoma.

Newcomer Clint Trickett, the experienced graduate transfer from Florida State, had been expected to compete against Millard. But the coaches gave him the ball for no more than six snaps in two three-and-out situations.

While Millard could not engineer any serious scoring threats after Dreamius Smith’s 75-yard touchdown run to give WVU an early 7-0 lead at Oklahoma, Millard played the entire game against the Sooners.

Holgorsen and Dawson said they considered sending Trickett into the action, but they never did, which was surprising to some observers.

Earlier this week, the third-year gridmaster declared that it could become a three-way scrap at QB against Georgia State (0-2) with freshman Ford Childress joining Millard and Trickett in Saturday’s noon game at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

West Virginia (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) has been listed as a 37 1/2-point favorite to rout Georgia State in this first-ever meeting between the two schools.

If the Mountaineers do make it a ridiculous runaway, the questions might well arise as to whether any telling answers can be obtained.

Looking ahead, long-time rival Maryland would seem to be a much better — and truer — measuring stick as to the potential strength of this year’s WVU team and how it might fare in the Big 12.

The Mountaineers’ tangle with the Terrapins in a non-conference contest next Saturday, Sept. 21, in Baltimore, Md., is set for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

Granted, players make mistakes, so it’s the coaches’ responsibility to make sure these are corrected and make necessary changes if needed.

However, isn’t it fair to suggest that the coaches at times also can make mistakes?

In the game at Oklahoma, possibly was it bad judgment in not changing quarterbacks in the second half?

Another boo-boo appeared to be in WVU using its entire allotment of timeouts with about five minutes left in the third quarter of a close, low-scoring affair.

That’s football, though. And mistakes, whether by players or coaches, can make the damaging difference in close contests.          

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