By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
A minor injury to Ford Childress will sideline the struggling West Virginia University redshirt freshman for Saturday’s noon game against No. 11 Oklahoma State.
Dana Holgorsen will start Florida State transfer Clint Trickett at quarterback, the West Virginia University coach announced on his radio show Thursday night.
Trickett will be the third starting quarterback at WVU in five games as Holgorsen continues to search for a capable replacement for the graduated Geno Smith, who set 71 records during his stay at WVU.
Paul Millard opened the season as the starter and beat William & Mary but was held to seven points by Oklahoma in a 16-7 defeat.
Holgorsen, saying he felt Childress had caught up on the offense enough for the third game against Georgia State, inserted him in into the lineup and he a decent debut, completing 25 of 41 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns, but the opponent is one of the worst teams in America.
Childress came back as the starter against Maryland, and it was a disaster, losing 37-0, Childress completing 11 of 22 passes for just 62 yards. Only one completion went to a wide receiver and by the time the team bus had returned to Morgantown from Maryland cries were everywhere to give Trickett a shot.
Holgorsen was adamant, however, that he would stick with Childress, which further angered the Mountaineer faithful who could not understand how he had given Millard and Childress a chance while his most experienced QB, Trickett, had been allowed to throw just two passes and take six snaps.
Holgorsen maintains he was not aware of the injury to Childress, which he described as a “partially pulled pec muscle in his chest.”
The coach said he did not know when it occurred and that Childress played the whole game without complaining about it and says it isn’t serious.
“It’s something you can’t fix. It has to heal,” Holgorsen said. “It won’t end his season.”
But now Trickett gets the chance he has been awaiting. It is the opportunity he thought he would get when he announced he was transferring back home from Florida State, where he had some big moments as a backup to EJ Manuel, the only quarterback drafted in the first round of the NFL draft this year.
As a redshirt freshman at FSU, he played in nine games with two starts when Manuel suffered a shoulder injury. In his first career start, against Clemson, he threw for 336 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Last year he played as a backup in eight games, completing 22 of 34 passes for 272 yards.
Graduating in three years, Trickett was able to play immediately upon transferring and has two years of eligibility left, so he could lay claim to the quarterback job not only this year but next with a strong performance.
“This is an opportunity for Clint,” Holgorsen said. “He is more comfortable in our offense now. With the amount of snaps he’s taken in practice this week we have faith in him. Maybe he can give us a little spark and ignite the offense.”
Holgorsen maintains he still has faith in his other two quarterbacks.
“It’s a fluid situation,” he said. “We don’t know what the end result will be. We may play all three of them the rest of the season.”
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.