MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday’s Gold-Blue spring game will offer West Virginia fans an extended look at quarterbacks Paul Millard and Ford Childress, but the players said the emphasis is more on “spring” than “game.”
“You’re not playing Oklahoma or William & Mary — you’re playing yourself,” said Millard, the junior from Flower Mound, Texas. “You’ve got to look at it as just another day to get better. It’s all about the process right now, because those opponents will eventually be there.”
GOLD-BLUE SPRING GAME
Kickoff: 2 p.m. (gates open at noon)
Tickets: $10 at stadium’s north and west gates on game day, or they can be purchased in advance online at WVUGAME.com or at the WVU Coliseum ticket office.
Radio: Coverage begins at 1:30 on the Mountaineer Sports Network
With three-year starter Geno Smith departing for the NFL, Millard and Childress are waging a daily competition to become the new face of Dana Holgorsen’s typically prolific offense. The coaches have said for months they expect the battle to continue into fall camp, and evaluations have been impacted by WVU breaking in an inexperienced group of receivers.
“I feel like I’ve gotten more accurate through spring, and that usually happens as you get more time with guys,” said Millard, who has focused on improving his footwork in the pocket. “We’ve definitely got some talent at wide receiver — we’ve just got to get the ball to them.”
Millard has appeared in 10 games the past two seasons, mostly in a mop-up duty. He has completed 16-of-34 passes for 211 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, a stat line offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson defended by noting Millard was primarily on the field with backups “who didn’t know what the hell they were doing.”
Only once has Millard appeared in the first half of a game. That came last November at Oklahoma State when Smith was temporarily banged up, and Millard promptly lofted a 37-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey.
While Childress, a redshirt freshman from Houston, Texas, has yet to make his college debut, Millard said both quarterbacks are striving to make consistent reads now that they’re out of Smith’s shadow and splitting first-team reps.
“I know what (the coaches) want out of me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t screw up sometimes and call the wrong play,” Millard said. “I know what they want out of me and I know what they want out of the offense.”