The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Sports

May 5, 2013

WVU quarterback battle ‘wide open’

MORGANTOWN — The biggest question facing West Virginia as it heads into the summer is whether the arrival of Clint Trickett solved the Mountaineers quarterback riddle when they head to camp in August or made it any more intriguing.

As usual, Dana Holgorsen, the head coach, is the man who must decide between Trickett and his two holdovers from last year, Paul Millard, the junior backup to Geno Smith, and Ford Childress, a redshirt freshman who has yet to throw a pass in a game.

Certainly, in Trickett, Holgorsen has brought in a player with more experience than the other two combine to have, Trickett having thrown for more than 300 yards against Clemson in one of his two starts in place of an injured EJ Manuel.

On the other hand, he could not win the starting job at Florida State and that throws up some caution flags, having lost out to a redshirt freshman. Was it because at 185 pounds Trickett is somewhat frail and coach Jimbo Fisher may have had questions if he could hold up for an entire season? Was it a matter of talent?

Certainly it has nothing to do with intelligence, Trickett having earned a degree in three years and having grown up in a football family, with former WVU offensive line coach Rick Trickett as his father. You can bet at bedtime as a youth he had Xs and Os dancing in his mind.

It’s easy to understand why Trickett left Florida State considering the circumstances he faced, especially with two years of eligibility ahead him.

It’s also easy to understand why he elected to come to West Virginia, even though there were opportunities elsewhere, opportunities where, he says, he had promises of a starting job.

“That was kind of a turnoff,” he said, quite honestly, adding a statement that shows a strong understanding of what recruiting is all about. “You don’t know how much you can trust that.”

He, along with Holgorsen, swear that there was no promise of a job at West Virginia.

“Coach didn’t give me a guaranteed starting job and I didn’t want a guaranteed starting job,” Trickett said this past week. “Coach said he was going to give me a chance to compete and that’s all I could ask for. My expectation is to go in there and be able compete.”

Certainly, Holgorsen would have put himself in a difficult situation promising the job. What does he tell his two holdovers? How does he keep them around, especially Millard, who is a junior?

Holgorsen, in fact, when asked about the quarterback situation gave a brief but telling analysis of it.

“Wide open, man,” he said.

So Trickett didn’t come because he was promised a job, but he was here for the spring game and saw both Millard and Childress perform.

Neither looked as if he would be on any pre-season All-American teams, leaving him believing that his best performance in summer camp could assure him the job.

Trickett also knows the magic over the years that Holgorsen has worked with quarterbacks within his offense. He wasn’t blind to Geno Smith being a second-round draft choice of the Jets or to the fact that Smith was the latest 4,000-yard passer Holgorsen has developed.

If he is going to reach his full potential, Holgorsen would figure to be the man who can get it out of him.

His track record is mind-boggling. At Texas Tech, Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense and was No. 2 in the nation with 398 yards a game in a different year. At Houston, quarterback Case Keenum led the nation in total offense, and at Oklahoma State. Brandon Weeden became the first OSU quarterback ever to earn first-team all-Big 12 honors while heading off to the NFL.

Millard and Childress have benefitted from their time with Holgorsen, know the playbook and have worked with the receivers, especially since none of them were first team a year ago, allowing them to take reps together.

What’s more, whoever wins the job need not be the next Geno Smith. If WVU’s defense is improved as expected, you won’t need 40 points a game to just get to a 7-6 record.

And, the quarterback should benefit from a far stronger running game than the Mountaineers were able to mount a year ago – save for the game in which Holgorsen moved Tavon Austin to running back. With Dustin Garrison hobbled as he recovered from knee surgery, WVU never could use the run successfully.

This year, with Andrew Buie back, Garrison healthy and a couple of newcomers expected to make huge contributions, there is depth and versatility that will keep an opponent from playing simply against the passing game.

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

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg 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.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 17, 2014

  • 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.

    April 17, 2014

  • 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.

    April 17, 2014

  • 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.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos