The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 17, 2013

‘A game time decision’

WVU coach Holgorsen still not settled on starting QB

By Cam Huffman
Sports Editor

— West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen has brought in plenty of listeners to his weekly radio show this season by announcing his starting quarterback during the show’s broadcast.

He did it when Ford Childress made his first start against Georgia State, and he did it again when Clint Trickett got the nod prior to the meeting with Oklahoma State.

Thursday night, though, the listeners didn’t get the answer they were hoping to hear. Asked by host Tony Caridi which quarterback would start for the Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) Saturday when No. 16 Texas Tech (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) visits Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, the coach didn’t give a firm answer.

“It’s going to be a game time decision this week,” said Holgorsen on The Dana Holgorsen Show on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG.

He did rule out one possibility, though.

Childress, a redshirt freshman who won his first start against Georgia State but struggled in a loss to Maryland in Baltimore, Md., has been battling a torn pectoral muscle and his been ruled out for Saturday’s game.

Childress practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the Mountaineers’ bye week that followed a 73-42 loss at Baylor, but his body didn’t respond the way the coaches had hoped.

“He had a lot of wear and tear on his pec,” said Holgorsen. “He had a lot of swelling, so he saw some doctors. He actually flew to Houston and got a second opinion, and he’s going to be out for a while.”

Holgorsen said the injury won’t require surgery, because the muscle isn’t removed from the bone.

“He just needs rest,” said Holgorsen. “We’ll let him rest and then ease him back in slowly. It could be a week, or it could be three or four weeks.”

That leaves Trickett — who won his first start when WVU upset No. 11 Oklahoma State 30-21 in the most recent home game but hurt his shoulder and struggled in the loss to Baylor — and junior Paul Millard — who started, and won the season opener against William & Mary (24-17), but looked uncomfortable in a loss a 16-7 Oklahoma in the Big 12 opener — to battle for the starting job.

“We split reps 50 percent with Clint and Paul, and they both had a great week,” said Holgorsen, who said his team is “highly motivated” and has had its best week of practice all year. “It’s been their best week of practice since they’ve been here. When they both function at a high level, all you can do is keep practicing them.”

Holgorsen said he anticipates both will play on Saturday, but he hasn’t settled on a rotation.

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Holgorsen might not have a quarterback with which he feels completely comfortable this weekend, but he’s had some special signal callers in the past.

In fact, three will be starting for NFL clubs on Sunday. Last year’s Mountaineer starter, Geno Smith, will start for the N.Y. Jets at home against New England. Case Keenum, Holgorsen’s quarterback when he was the offensive coordinator at Houston, will start for the Houston Texans at Kansas City, and Brandon Weeden, Holgorsen’s quarterback when he was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, will start for Cleveland at Green Bay.

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Legendary WVU sports writer Mickey Furfari will be holding a book signing for his two books, “Mickey’s Mountaineer Memories” volumes 1 and 2, today from 4-6 p.m., at the Waterfornt Family Pharmacy (215 Don Knotts Boulevard) in Morgantown.

Fans coming into town early for the football game, or tonight’s Gold-Blue Debut basketball scrimmage — scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum — can purchase the books for $25 each or $40 for both books.

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The Fox College Saturday Tour, a traveling pregame show, will be held in the WVU Coliseum parking lot outside the blue gate beginning at 8 a.m., Saturday.

The event, which will last up until the noon kickoff, will include interactive games and live on-air segments beginning at 10 a.m.

— E-mail: chuffman and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.