The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

September 3, 2013

WVU looking ahead to Oklahoma

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen was quite happy on Monday to put thoughts of William & Mary behind him, the horrifying reality of what could have been a confidence-shaking upset having been avoided, and began looking forward to West Virginia’s next game.

That, however, might make Holgorsen and his entire team long for William & Mary again, for that, at least, was not a team that would punish them for their mistakes the way Oklahoma figures to be capable of doing, especially with 84,000 of its faithful in the stands in Norman on a Saturday night.

Holgorsen allowed that his Mountaineers would move forward with Paul Millard at quarterback, but he kept trying to hint that just maybe there’s a future for Clint Trickett, too, despite his rather unpleasant introduction to WVU football.

“Millard did a good job of managing the game. He got us into several really good run checks. Other than the one sack, which was really on him, he had pretty good ball security, two hands on the ball. I was happy with what he did. He completed almost 80 percent of his passes. He made good decisions,” Holgorsen said.

So it’s Millard, but ...

“I still think Clint brings something to the table that (Millard) doesn’t, so we will continue to rep Clint,” Holgorsen said of Trickett. “Obviously you have to rep your second-team quarterback anyway. I would expect him to get better at what we’re asking him to do.”

And this, Holgorsen reasons, might be a week he may need those other things Trickett brings to the table.

“It all depends on how the game goes,” he said. “You know, he’s played against Oklahoma before and knows what kind of speed they have and what kind of athletic ability they have. He’s been in that situation before so I think he will help us from a maturity standpoint in moving the ball if we need to.”

The more Trickett reps, the better he will get to know and understand the offense, which is where Millard has the jump on him.

“I’m really happy with how Paul performed, and right now he looks like he’s our guy but, with that said, we’re going to continue to work with Clint so we can use him when we need him, and we’re going to need him at one point.”

Oklahoma is a completely different team than the one that beat WVU, 50-49, last season.

The Sooners don’t have Landry Jones at quarterback any longer. Instead of Jones, who threw for five touchdowns against the Mountaineers last year, the Sooners have Trevor Knight at quarterback and he is more of a runner than a thrower, rushing for 103 yards while completing just 39 percent of his passes for 86 yards, although three were for touchdowns.

The defense at Oklahoma has changed a great deal, too, since Tavon Austin rushed for 344 yards against them last year and rang up 572 all-purpose yards.

“Yeah, they made some changes ... unfortunately for us,” Holgorsen said. “They put a tremendous amount of speed on the field. They seem to be a lot more aggressive and a lot more attacking. They’re blitzing more and are a lot more aggressive with their coverage.

“It’s not surprising. I understand Coach Stoops and what he’s been able to accomplish for the last two decades. They look fast. They look aggressive.”

Oklahoma allowed Louisiana-Monroe just 38 yards in pitching a 34-0 shutout in the opener.

“Our defensive performance was very pleasing,” Coach Bob Stoops said. “They are a good offensive team. They averaged nearly 100 plays a game last year and had starters back. People were talking about this was going to be their year compared to a year ago.

“Our communication on defense, our adjustments were as good as we’ve had in a long, long time.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

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