By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian
"The Mystery of the Starting Quarterback” continues into game week for West Virginia, even though head coach Dana Holgorsen released a depth chart, one that contained a couple of surprises.
Holgorsen, who has had a three-pronged battle at quarterback all summer for the starting assignment in Saturday’s noon home opener against William & Mary between last year’s backup Paul Millard, Florida State transfer Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Ford Childress, had said he would have it worked out this week, but he either has failed to make a final decision or wishes to keep it secret right up until game time.
There was no statement from Holgorsen with the depth chart, but he has stated that one of them will be the starting quarterback and it won’t be a situation such as Don Nehlen had with Jake Kelchner and Darren Studstill in 1992.
At the quarterback position it was listed Millard or Trickett, with Childress third.
Millard has limited experience as backup to the departed Geno Smith, playing in 11 games, completing 16 of 34 pass for 211 yards with three TDs and three interceptions.
Trickett, a junior who has already graduated and has two years’ eligibility left, saw some meaningful playing time for the Seminoles, backing up EJ Manuel last year, completing 22 of 34 passes for 272 yards without a touchdown or interception while throwing for 336 yards and three touchdowns with one interception as a redshirt freshman.
Whomever wins the quarterback battle will be throwing to a starting receiver corps that surprisingly listed Ivan McCartney at the X position. McCartney is the most experienced of the receivers with 11 starts and 59 catches, three for scores.
His name was not mentioned often during workouts as he fought to get back into Holgorsen’s good graces after leaving the team following nine games last year.
The Z receiver spot was won by sophomore K.J. Myers over the highly touted junior college transfer Kevin White, although both are expected to do a great deal of playing.
True freshman Dakiel Shorts stepped up to win the inside Z receiver spot over redshirt freshman Devonte Mathis.
The depth at running back, considering WVU’s deepest position, is displayed by the fact that the highly thought of transfer from Houston, Charles Sims, is listed as the starter but three backups are listed behind him in freshman Wendell Smallwood, junior college transfer Dreamius Smith and Dustin Garrison.
Conspicuous by his absence from the depth chart is last year’s leading rusher Andrew Buie.
Cody Clay, as expected, is listed as the No. 1 H-back, a position that is part fullback, part tight end.
Left guard is the one position still up for grabs on the offensive line, sophomore Marquis Lucas battling veteran Pat Eger.
Other than that Quinton Spain will anchor the line at left tackle, Tyler Orlosky is at center, Mark Glowinski at right guard and Curtis Feight at right tackle.
The defensive line has Will Clarke at left tackle, Shaq Rowell at nose tackle and Eric Kinsey at defensive end, as expected, while the linebackers will be Isaiah Bruce at Spur, Jarad Barber and Doug Rigg listed at Sam, Nick Kwiatkoski at Will and junior college transfer Brandon Golson at Buck.
The corners, picked on so badly last season, were listed as Travis Bell and Ishmael Banks with veterans Karl Joseph, last season’s leading tackler, and Darwin Cook at the safety position.
Josh Lambert will do the placekicking, Nick O’Toole the punting, Mike Molinari the holding and John DePalma the long snapping.
With Tavon Austin gone to the NFL, where he already has an 81-yard punt return to his preseason credit for the St. Louis Rams, Ronald Carswell moves in to return punts while Sims and Smallwood will return kickoffs.
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