MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As West Virginia’s three-way quarterback scramble unfolds, redshirt freshman Ford Childress gets kudos for confidence.

“Obviously I want to start now,” he said Friday. “The whole reason I came here was so I’d have an opportunity to start for four years, and that’s what I’m planning on doing.”

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt freshman Ford Childress says he’s planning on being a four-year starter at WVU.

Last season’s backup Paul Millard and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, both juniors, have more game experience, but Childress doesn’t perceive that as a decisive factor. The 6-foot-5 three-star recruit from Houston said Dana Holgorsen’s spread offense isn’t some exotic system that requires years to comprehend.

“(Our offense) is actually really, really simple,” Childress said. “It looks complex, but it’s not. That’s what makes it so good—you don’t have to think that much.

When a reporter pointed out that last year’s Heisman Trophy went to another Texas-bred redshirt freshman operating out of a spread attack, Childress suggested that wasn’t startling.

“With a simple offense, you can make an impact no matter how old you are,” he said.

Childress even surmised he could have effectively operated West Virginia’s offense last season, though he acknowledged “I don’t think I could have done as dynamic a job as Geno did with his check and reads.”

With Geno Smith posting a second consecutive 4,000-yard passing season, the senior quarterback earned play-changing flexibility at the line. The result was a 42-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio for Smith and an offense that generated more than 500 yards and 39 points per game, ninth-most in the FBS. (“I don’t think Dana would like it if I changed every play, but Geno was at that point,” Childress said.)

Regardless whom Holgorsen taps as the starter, more than a decade’s worth of precedent shows he’s likely to produce 4,000 yards and a pile of touchdowns. The system constructed on simplicity, and refined by repetition, keeps churning out high-yield quarterbacks. And with such prosperity awaiting this fall’s chosen guy, the Ford-Millard-Trickett competition won’t lack for intensity.

“I’m good friends with Paul and Clint—we hang out all the time,” said Childress. “But on the field I’m not too fond of them.”

Millard said he anticipates Holgorsen naming a starter at least two weeks before the Aug. 31 opener against William & Mary. That means the next 15 practices could drastically impact the trajectory of three playing careers.

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

Junior quarterback Paul Millard appeared in 10 games as Geno Smith’s backup.

“You just show up every day and do what you can do,” Millard said.

The native of Flower Mound, Texas, made 10 appearances the past two seasons, all of them in mop-up situations except for his mercurial two-pass cameo at Oklahoma State (a 37-yard touchdown followed by a near-interception).

Millard’s career numbers: 16-of-34 passing with three touchdowns and the same number of interceptions.

Trickett played in 12 games at Florida State, amassing a stat line of 66-of-106 passing for 947 yards with seven touchdowns and four picks.

At the time Trickett announced May 1 his intentions of transferring to WVU, Millard was just days away from marrying his high school sweetheart. No, he didn’t spend his nuptials fretting about the quarterback race growing more crowded.

“I’m a competitive guy, so I was excited for the opportunity,” he said. “Obviously, I saw they were bringing someone else in, so the competition raised a little bit.”

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Okey Robinson

    If he truly has the whole package, as Dana has hinted, he should win the battle. He has everything except the experience, and there's only one way to get it.

    Ford knows his time is now, and if he doesn't take advantage of this opportunity to win the job, it's his own fault.

  • Guardian

    Trickett didn't leave his dad and FSU to sit. He knows something.

    • cutty77

      Yea him and His Dad knew he couldn't play at FSU anymore. He can't play here either. But alot of things are better at home. His Dad wanted to come Back to,but Stew Didn't want him back.

  • cutty77

    I don't think Ford will start,but before its all said and done it will be his Job. Maybe between games 4 an 5 it will be his Job. I've seen Paul, throws to many int's for no more passes than he throws,Bad int's too.

  • Helen5844

    I hope all three stay. Don't know who should start but never have too many backups. Just ask Maryland!!!!!LETS GOOOOOO

  • Duggie

    I think Clint will start even though I hope Ford gets it. I am afraid Ford will transfer if he doesn't. This kid came here to play. Not sit. You have to think like he does. I know not starting could be a benefit to him. But he wants to play 4 years. I hope if he isn't the starter he stays.

  • Keith

    You just can't tell till they play in a real game. Pat White and Steve Slaten were just sitting on the bench till someone got hurt. That Rich Rod (spit) sure had an eye for talent.

  • Smokehole

    Lets Go Mountaineers....

  • David Lowdermilk

    Good luck to all 3 , I hope they all get a chance to play.

  • Davy

    Defense win titles. Period!

    • Keith

      Last season sure proved that.

  • John Evans

    Ford should start...then if he gets hurt or plays poorly Trickett should go in...Milliard is a nice guy and all but not Big 12 material only an extreme emergency QB...He should be happy that he is smart, good looking and playing for a Big 12 team.

    • Lewis

      I agree with John Evans

  • leroy j gibbs

    A simple offense is fine but does it take a simple defense to defeat it?

  • leroy j gibbs

    Pray for a decent defense

  • Tim C

    Trickett may beat out Ford due to the experience factor, but Ford is the real deal. This guy can throw a frozen rope in any conditions. Millard is a good QB but I think he will drop to 3rd on the depth chart. We are not QB poor, that's for sure. Our offense will be very good. Lets just hope our D can improve dramatically over last years squad. If they do, the Big 12 better take notice.

  • Joe

    Honestly, this is terrific. Three qbs who expect to start. This is very encouraging. If you are a qb and ok silently accepting your backup role on thepractice field, you don't have the skills to be. On gameday, th:-)ey all should accept the role, but during the week, make sure the starter is always looking over his shoulder.

  • Maxxajay

    I like all of our prospects I do not care who starts at quarterback because we are going to score tons of points....West Virginia is a very good team ....offense minded coach we will score points... May the best quarterback win the job, fans will be happy players will be happy, just win is what it's all about, So many people will post something on here about this one and that one...something to think about, football is a team sport....