It came about in mid-week, the inevitable, really.
The quarterbacks were in their meeting with Shannon Dawson, who is quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, which is in reality overlapping assignments.
It had been obvious the week before, on a trip to Oklahoma, that the quarterbacking wasn’t what head coach Dana Holgorsen wanted, leaving that trip with only seven points.
“Embarrassing” was the word Holgorsen had used to describe his offense in public.
We suspect it might have been something stronger in private.
There was going to be a change, the only question being whether he would go to Florida State transfer Clint Trickett or his tall, strong-armed redshirt freshman, Ford Childress.
Practice would tell. Monday’s workout came and went, Tuesday’s did, too.
On Wednesday, originally, the cat got out of the bag as Childress worked with the first team for the second straight day.
Then, at the meeting, Dawson spoke up.
“We’re going to go with Ford this week, and if he doesn’t play well we’ll re-evaluate,” Dawson said.
Childress almost couldn’t believe his ears.
Oh, in a way he was expecting it. As noted, he’d played with the first team an extra day and always he was leaning on something Dawson had said early in the year.
“Shannon was like, ‘You are going to play this year. You can’t goof off. You have to stay focused.’ So I knew I was going to play this year, and I acted like I was a starter,” he said.
Childress wasn’t sure how to react.
“I got really excited, but I tried not to jump up and down,” he said, half joking.
When the team was at Oklahoma having its problems, Childress had done all he could to keep things positive on the sideline.
“The backup quarterback should always try to give positive energy on the sideline,” he said. “That was my job last year. The first two games that’s pretty much what I was trying to do, get everybody around me excited.”
It was noticed by the coaching staff and went down on the ledger as another plus for Childress.
So now Saturday came around.
“I was a little nervous,” Childress admitted.
Like with 57,440 fans in the stands, who wouldn’t be nervous?
“After the first play, it went away,” he said.
Made sense, considering the first play was a 24-yard gain on a reverse.
Now it’s true the opponent wasn’t exactly Alabama, although if all goes well he’ll have that experience next year.
Instead it was winless Georgia State, a new Division I-A or whatever they are calling it these days, and WVU was favored by 38 points, so analyzing Childress’ debut is tricky.
Great, it was a freshman record at WVU, 359 passing yards, breaking Scott McBrien’s old record of 257 against Pitt in 2000, but how does 359 against Georgia State in Holgorsen’s offense match up with 257 against Pitt in Don Nehlen’s offense?
Certainly, Holgorsen liked it.
“Pretty good for the first game he has ever played in college football,” the coach said.
Holgorsen’s judgment wasn’t based just on the yardage and three touchdown flings.
“I look for different things than you do in completion percentage and yards,” he explained. “I thought his body language was good and that he handled everything well. He was communicating well with the running backs, receivers, in the huddle and with Coach Dawson. I thought he did a good job of just being in the game. That is what we were looking for. If you have a guy like that, then he can bring a lot of other guys along.”
In truth, a couple of the guys along for the ride were the other quarterbacks.
Through this competition they have become close, and when Childress threw his first TD pass, they greeted him with some leaping chest bumps.
“It’s great,” Childress said. “All of us like each other. There’s never that guy you always want to hit. They were supporting me all game.”
In a lot of ways this was the perfect game to break in a new quarterback. The outcome never was in doubt, and Childress was able to experience a lot of different things before having to do it in a hostile environment like Maryland next week.
“I got my first touchdown and I got my first pick, so … everything’s over now,” he said.
And next week he’ll be in M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens’ home stadium, running the team again.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
It came about in mid-week, the inevitable, really.
East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters
Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.
East tennis splits with Polar Bears
Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules
At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.
McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers
Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma
Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing
Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.
University hands Huskies first loss; East edges Elkins
The mercy rule has been a familiar part of North Marion’s softball season.
Through the first seven games, the Huskies regularly pounded their opponents with stingy defense, sharp pitching and timely hitting. Rarely did a game go all seven innings for the previously undefeated team.
Huggins signs junior college guard
Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing
The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.
Pirates shut out by Reds’ Cueto, 4-0
Johnny Cueto was on his game, and the only thing that the Pirates could do was watch.
Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the NL wild card game, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.
- More Sports Headlines
- East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters