The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

September 7, 2013

WVU, OU QBs similar, yet different

MORGANTOWN — A football game never boils down simply to one quarterback as opposed to another

Someone has to catch his passes, block for him, tackle the opposition and cover its receivers while others kick and return kicks.

Yet, in its simplest analysis, tonight’s West Virginia University-Oklahoma game at Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium, shown at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports, can best be seen as a confrontation of two first-year starting quarterbacks in the Mountaineers’ Paul Millard and Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight.

They are different, yet the same.

As odd as that may sound, it is a statement of fact.

Different?

Millard is known as a thrower, a “gunslinger” in high school who, in his debut as a starter completed 19 of 25 passes, which is 76 percent.

As a runner, Millard carried once, for minus-14 yards on a sack.

“I don’t think anyone is going to get a kick out of watching Paul Millard run the triple option or the speed option,’’ West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “There are obvious differences in what we’re asking from them. Not putting too much on the quarterback is important.’’

Knight is known as a runner. In his first start, he led the Sooners with 103 rushing yards on 13 carries.

But his passing was, shall we say, lacking, as he completed just 11 of 28, 39.3 percent, for 86 yards.

Hidden in those statistics, though, is that Millard managed only one touchdown pass while Knight had 3.

In truth, there is potential for Knight’s passing to come around quickly; certainly he has more of a chance to become a passer than Millard has to become a runner.

“His completion percentage wasn’t very good, but when I watched the tape, he’s pretty good. He can throw,” Holgorsen said. “I would anticipate him figuring things out and being a very good quarterback for Oklahoma. Hopefully he doesn’t get things figured out this week.”

So, you can see, they differ, but as stated they are also the same.

Holgorsen hinted at that when he said that not putting too much on the quarterback is important.

Both are limited by a lack of experience, and with that lack of experience comes a lack of confidence from the coaches until they prove themselves the way Geno Smith at WVU and Landry Jones at Oklahoma did.

Actually, Holgorsen admitted Oklahoma put more on Knight that WVU did on Millard.

“They’re asking Knight to do a lot more different things than we’re asking,’’ Holgorsen said. “Look at what we did last year. We were throwing the ball all over the place last year, and this year we’re running the ball a lot.’’

Stoops, by nature of his offense, had to have Knight do both for if he shows a reluctance to throw the football it will take away much in the running game as defensive backs crowd the line of scrimmage.

“He did some things really well obviously with his legs when you rush for over a hundred yards,’’ Stoops said. “That part was really good. Throwing the ball early wasn’t very good.

“But I’ve got great confidence in how he does throw the football. Once he settles down and gets more comfortable with the situation, I expect him to throw the ball in a better way. He made some nice throws, particularly in the second half. He’s got a great arm, so it’s just getting him comfortable to manage and handle the situation a little bit better early.’’

Conversely, Holgorsen saw Oklahoma hold Louisiana-Monroe to just 34 rushing yards this past week and realizes he is going to have to trust Millard and allow him to become more “Genoesquian” in his quarterbacking.

“I’d like to throw the ball a lot more than what we did,” Holgorsen said. “You’re talking about throwing the ball about 30 percent of the time. That’s embarrassing. We’ll try to correct that, that’s for certain. I say I don’t care much about stats, but we’ve got to be a little more balanced.

“What the heck’s going on here? I’m talking about balance, and everybody says it’s an Air Raid and we throw the ball 80 or 90 percent of the time. I’m talking about balance because we can’t get the ball in the air 50 percent of the time.”

The most likely scenario is to see Holgorsen use Charles Sims, his talented new running back, much as he used Tavon Austin last year against Oklahoma, perhaps trying to catch lighting in a bottle again. Austin rushed for 344 yards and WVU gained 778 total yards, more than any team previously had gained against the Sooners – ever.

Sims almost certainly will run many of the Austin pass patterns, too, for the key will be using safe passes to get it in his hands and try to let him gain yards on his own, just as Austin was able to do.

WVU is a 21-point underdog going into the first conference game of the season, so Holgorsen has to feel he has nothing to lose by opening up the offense.

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

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos