The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

August 9, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: When will coach reveal WVU’s QB?

MORGANTOWN — It’s hard to imagine that no enterprising business major or TV professor failed to use this past off-season to create a reality show based upon West Virginia University’s three quarterbacks and their battle for the starting job.

It would be sort of a morphing of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and “Hatfields and McCoys.”

Certainly, it would be far more intriguing than either show and, the way things are going in that quarterback battle, it might run longer than both … combined.

“We have nine more afternoon practices before we break camp,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I do not anticipate doing anything before that.”

Holgorsen has three quarterbacks involved in this battle for the starting job, none of which was a starter last year. Junior Paul Millard was Geno Smith’s backup last year and the year before, while redshirt freshman Ford Childress was sort of Millard’s backup as he sat out last season.

Meanwhile, Clint Trickett, a junior who already has a degree and a good bit of big-game experience at Florida State, from where he transferred this year, has become the fly in the ointment, the quarterback most expect to win the job but certainly one who can’t count on it yet.

And Holgorsen seems to be enjoying the mystery in the whole affair, so much so that he isn’t sure he’s going to announce who won the job even after he has made his decision.

“I do not know if I will tell you or not,” he said smuggly. “We probably want everyone to be in the dark like everybody else does, but we won’t go into the first game without a clue of who is going to be the first guy.”

In many ways, the decision is far too important to rush. Holgorsen’s offense, like so many in college football today, is QBcentric. Everything begins and ends with the man who takes the snap.

He has to be certain he is correct, which means repping them day in and day out, over and over until he sees what he wants to see.

There are so many variables in the position … throwing, running, leadership, ability under pressure, intelligence … that it changes from day to day. In truth, it is a difficult job because there is no standout, no one blowing the field away as Geno Smith had to do the first time Holgorsen took a glance at him.

One thing is certain.

Holgorsen does not plan to split the job.

He believes in a No. 1 quarterback, a starter, a man in charge.

“I have never done it and do not plan on doing it,” he said. “It does not mean that we cannot have two that are ready to play. Guys get hurt and go down all the time. That is a reality in college football, and that is one thing that the second-team guy always has to keep in mind. They are a play away from getting in and playing a lot of ball.”

But he will be the second guy.

So, is it possible that Holgorsen could actually keep it secret right up until the team walks out on the field to line up for the first play of the season.

Understand, he would do it if he thought he could.

But reality tells him that won’t happen.

“I would be surprised if you don’t know,” he said. “With social media, and we try to get our guys to keep as much what happens inside the building to the people that need to know, but with social media and emotions, I would be surprised if you don’t know.

“It depends on how clear-cut it is. If it is really close, then we are going to keep it as close to the vest as we can. If it is clear-cut, then we will probably let you know.”

Of course, if it’s that close Holgorsen really might not pick a QB until the final week. Certainly, he would need a full week to work with the other starters.

“If it is that close, it makes my job harder. It is no different here than it is anywhere else in the country. If you get one, two or three quality guys in a position battle, then obviously at some point you have to make a decision.

“The closer it is the harder it is,” he continued. “Those decisions are not easy when you are talking about who is going to play and not going to play. It affects kids’ lives. These are guys that are working hard, and someone is going to be the guy and somebody is not. It is hard to deal with if you are not the guy.”

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

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