By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
No matter how much you want to get away from it — no, need to get away from it — when the talk comes around to West Virginia football it winds up focusing on the quarterback.
It isn’t like they signed Peyton Manning, but maybe that’s why it does come back to the QB, for this is an offense that works best with such a talent at the controls (as if there ever has been an offense that doesn’t with a Peyton Manning at QB).
Anyway, the talk at Dana Holgorsen’s pre-TCU press conference came around to communication and whether it had reached the point where Trickett would be able to change the play at the line of scrimmage.
Holgorsen’s answer was a surprising one.
“That isn’t going to happen this year. I’ve come to terms with that,” Holgorsen said.
It was a simple, declarative statement that one element of his offense would not be used this season.
See, if the quarterback understands the offense well enough, there are things he sees that can be taken advantage of. Geno Smith did that well, but far more in his second season in the system than the first.
Trickett is in his first year and Holgorsen has maintained it has been a problem.
“He’s going to do his absolute best to understand and go out to execute it, but that’s 100 percent for the offseason. He needs to look at cut-ups from an entire year without the pressure of trying to prepare for an opponent. He needs to sit in a room and study it, then go outside and work on that for a couple months,” Holgorsen explained.
“He’s going to need that downtime and offseason time in order to grasp what we are asking of him, which isn’t surprising.”
It isn’t surprising because it isn’t a simple system to learn.
“He’s focusing on some minor details,” Trickett said. “Having the whole offseason and the spring and being a first-year quarterback in the system, it’s going to happen. Struggles are going to happen. It’s my job to make less struggles happen.”
That means get through the season as best he can with what he has of the offense, working on execution rather than adding new wrinkles.
Then, when the pressure is off, he can learn it leisurely.
“I’m excited for this offseason and spring to get a full year under my belt,” said Trickett, who already has a degree yet is like a freshman in the system.
Because of that, there have been a lot more problems than there should have been.
“Clint missing close throws is a combination of things,” Holgorsen said. “Missing some things last week was due to him not trusting the offensive line too much. His eyes weren’t always on the right place and he missed some reads.”
Trickett said he thought that was the case, too, until looking closely at the film and felt it wasn’t as much of a problem as it first was thought.
Center Pat Eger didn’t think that had happened, either.
“It’s easy for a quarterback to lose trust in his offensive line and it’s the hardest thing to get it back,” Eger said. “But I don’t believe that has happened.”
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Injuries have depleted the WVU team. Bridgeport’s Wes Tonkery is now out for the year with shoulder surgery. Eger is day-to-day with an ankle sprain. Linebacker Doug Rigg may or may not play after missing the Kansas State game with a second concussion. Cornerback Daryl Worley is also day-to-day with a shin injury after missing the Kansas State game and defensive lineman Dontrill Hyman, day-to-day with an ankle.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.