The Times West Virginian

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
  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

  • Black Diamond.jpg Black Diamond Express looking to add elite players

     Travel sports are said to be the cream of the crop for young athletes.
    Generally, youth are selected to play on travel league teams based upon a heightened skill level or an ability that exceeds the everyday athlete.
    That’s what the Black Diamond Express softball team in Morgantown is looking for, along with a few new elite players.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers’ Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 28, 2014

  • All tickets claimed for LeBron’s homecoming show

    LeBron James’ Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    July 28, 2014

  • FSU to hold Falcon Fantasy Camp

    Ever want to be a college football coach? Now you’ll have your chance thanks to Fairmont State University’s Falcon Fantasy Camp.

    July 28, 2014

  • Lawyer: Wife plotted to take over Sterling trust

    A lawyer argued Monday that the estranged wife of Donald Sterling plotted to strip his client from the family trust that owned the Los Angeles Clippers after the head of the NBA said she couldn’t negotiate a sale of the franchise unless she owned all the shares.

    July 28, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • Steelers’ Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year

    Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.

    July 28, 2014

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG Post 17 falls short in Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.
    Post 17 Fairmont is hoping that they’ve now gotten all of its bad games out of the way, falling to Post 2 Morgantown, 10-0, via a 7th inning mercy rule, crowning Morgantown Area II American Legion champions.
    After playing 18 innings the night before, Fairmont couldn’t seem to get anything going at East Fairmont High School Sunday afternoon.
    As rain clouds loomed over the field, so, too, did one settle in over Post 17’s offense, Fairmont collecting just four hits the entire game.
    “Definitely not one of our better games as a team,” Fairmont’s Austin Norman said of his team’s performance. “We’ll come up tomorrow, hit and get on the same page.”

    July 28, 2014 7 Photos

  • Harrison’s 4 hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos