The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

August 16, 2013

Holgorsen near a QB decision

BECKLEY — The question that’s been debated in barber shops and on front porches around the Mountain State for months — and probably decreased production in offices from Wheeling to Welch — is about to be answered.

West Virginia University head coach Dana Holgorsen didn’t give much insight into who stands where in the battle to replace Geno Smith as the Mountaineer quarterback, but he did indicate that a decision will be made within the next two days.

“We’re close to figuring that out,” said Holgorsen prior to Thursday’s practice. “We’ve got three more days to be fair to all of them and let them play. I’ve said it since the beginning of camp. If you have a bad day, you need to be prepared to come out and have a good day. I anticipate by the end of practice on Saturday (the final session before classes begin on Monday), being 100 percent sure of the direction we’re going to go in.”

Holgorsen, who indicated earlier this summer that the decision might remain a secret, didn’t say if he’d let media and fans in on the starter once he’s named. And he didn’t give much of a hint as to whether redshirt-freshman Ford Childress, junior Paul Millard or junior Florida State transfer Clint Trickett has the edge at this point.

“Paul and Ford have elevated their game,” he said. “Is that because there’s another competitive body or because they’ve had all spring and all summer and 17 days of camp to take reps? I think they’ve gotten better, which isn’t making our job any easier.”


Holgorsen was asked about comments he made earlier in the week about the leadership on last year’s team. Some New York and national media tried to read between the lines and assumed the comments were directed toward Smith, who was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets after rewriting the WVU record books.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan came out firing, saying he was glad his son didn’t go to WVU because of the way the school was treating Smith, who he said seemed to be a good leader.

Holgorsen, who never mentioned any player by name, said Thursday that the entire situation was a misunderstanding.

“All that falls on my shoulders,” he said. “It was taken way out of context. The bottom line is I was referencing our 2012 team not having enough leaders, and that’s one thing that we’ve taken into account this year. We’ve been working on that since January. We are developing a whole room full of leaders.

“That’s how you win a championship. You don’t win a championship with just one or two guys that you look to. You win one with a whole room full of leaders that take the bull by the horns and say, ’We’re going to do some special things.’ I like where we’re at right now.”

n n n

Two Mountaineers have left the program. Redshirt freshman H-back Will Johnson and junior wide receiver Connor Arlia — the Nickolich Award winner as the team’s top walk-on, who was thought to be one of the program’s leaders — have decided to walk away.

“(They’re) great kids, but they just want to go play,” said Holgorsen. “I will release them anywhere that they want to go, so they can go get themselves in a position where they can play ball.”

Johnson, who had offers from Auburn, Miami and others, before choosing WVU, redshirted as a freshman last year and was expected to play a hybrid role for WVU as a tight end/fullback combination.

Arlia, a Weirton native, caught seven passes for 43 yards last season and was named an Iron Mountaineer for his work in the weight room during the spring.


One area that has pleased Holgorsen so far this summer is the play of his specialists.

“I am going to brag on those guys a little bit,” he said. “Josh Lambert (a sophomore kicker, expected to handle field goal duties) is doing well. John DePalma (a sophomore long snapper) is light years ahead of where he was last year. That is a very under-appreciated position until they are not very good. But he looks very good.

“Our punters are booming the ball. Nick O’Toole (a sophomore) has a strong leg. Michael Molinari (a redshirt-junior) has done a great job punting and has also been doing a lot of kickoff stuff. Huey (freshman walk-on Houstin Syvertson out of Shady Spring) is doing great things, as well, and has maybe the strongest leg of all three.”

Holgorsen said that competition will continue over the next couple of days, as well.

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

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014