MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — It’s Decision Saturday for West Virginia’s quarterbacks, according to the timeline put forth by head coach Dana Holgorsen and his right-hand play-calling man, Shannon Dawson. Within a fortnight of the season opener, the deadline for picking a horse and putting him in the shotgun is now.

Might it be Paul Millard, the Texas kid who apprenticed under Geno Smith the past two seasons?

Could it be Ford Childress, the other, slightly larger Texas kid who opened camp saying he came here “to start for four years, and that’s what I’m planning on doing.”

Or will the torch, and a 4,000-yard passing season, go to Clint Trickett, the quasi-native son who wasn’t merely drawn back to Morgantown for the duck hunting?

“All (three QBs) at times look really good. All of them are right around 70-percent completion in team (situations) and they’re taking care of the ball better.” — WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson

Today brings the final practice of fall camp, after which Dawson said the quarterback race “is over with.” It provides one last chance to impress Holgorsen, who by day’s end anticipates “being 100-percent sure of the direction we’re going to go in.” (Though it’s almost 100-percent assured he won’t be publicizing the winner’s name for a while.)

Dispense any notion that having three equitable contenders might lead the Mountaineers to use a hot-hand-of-the-week approach this season. That has never been Holgorsen’s philosophy. Once he makes up his mind, the starting quarterback dominates the reps.

“And,” as Dawson noted, “it usually works out.”

Holgorsen hasn’t faced this type of preseason pick ’em since 2008, when he became the offensive coordinator at Houston and chose between junior Blake Joseph and sophomore Case Keenum—both of whom had split starts the previous year.

“Dana and I were talking all during that camp, and it went back and forth in his mind,” said Dawson, then the coordinator at nearby Stephen F. Austin. “At times he was really torn about who was the starter. Ultimately he chose Case and dumped all the reps into him, and he ended up being Case Keenum.”

That’s the thing about Holgorsen’s selections—they all end up being somebody. And even if there’s not one guy in the WVU quarterbacks room capable of matching Keenum’s NCAA record of 155 career touchdowns, it’s possible more than one is suited to compile numbers on par with what Smith produced.

“We’ve got capable guys,” Dawson stressed. “If we didn’t have capable guys we would have eliminated one already and dumped reps into the other two.

“All of them at times look really good. All of them are right around 70-percent completion in team (situations) and they’re taking care of the ball better.”

Millard has emerged from a similar quarterback competition before, winning the starting job as a junior at Flower Mound High School near Dallas.

“There was a younger kid who a lot of people thought would probably play over me,” he recalled. “It was kind of the same thing as here—we were splitting reps and it was all divided equally before eventually someone came out on top.”

Of course Millard rewarded his Flower Mound coaches with two outstanding seasons, eclipsing the 4,900-yard mark as a senior. That earned him invited walk-on status at WVU, which turned into a scholarship during his first day on campus.

Childress committed to WVU during April of his junior year at The Kincaid School near Houston, pledging just as Millard was going through his first spring practice with the Mountaineers. The 6-foot-5 son of Texas A&M legend Ray Childress was later approached by Texas but essentially shut down recruiters after announcing his plans.

Just as Millard and Childress finished last April’s spring game with their aim on battling one another for the job, then came the late insert Trickett, making the race more crowded and complex once fall camp opened. Though Trickett easily grasped the vaunted “three-day install”—which makes learning Holgorsen’s offense about as laborious as determining how to cook the French fries juuuuuuuuust right—there’s still the matter of mastering tempo, something Trickett didn’t face at Florida State.

Yet to hear Dawson hint at his grading system, it sounds as if Trickett merely has to match, and not necessarily surpass, the other two QBs to win the job.

“There is a curve to him you’ve got to take into consideration,” Dawson said, “because obviously he hasn’t come close to reaching his potential in this offense.”

Of course, in the ultimate decision for who quarterbacks WVU this season, no grading system will trump good old-fashioned instinct.

Said Dawson: “The decision isn’t made on paper—you’ve got to take a lot of intangibles into it. Who’s the most charismatic guy? Who’s the guy this team’s going to follow?”

By tonight, the coaches plan to choose their guy. When they’ll choose to reveal their charismatic new leader, well, that could take longer than the three-day install.

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  • Magic Mike

    NO defense. No matter how good the offense is defense wins championships. That is what Holgerson does not understand.

    • The Sarge

      Defense and Special Teams win games!!!!

      • JimJim

        Special teams should be great, we're paying their coach $500.000 per year.

  • john c

    This is not the same team defensively people...year older bigger kids twice the depth..not saying the defense will turn out the lights but will be greatly improved...depth is the big key...

    • cutty77

      @ John,
      They can't be any worse thats for sure. You have to be able to put pressure on every QB. If you let anybody stand back there they will complete every pass. Plain an Simple.

  • Big Larry

    WVU recruits Two (2) Offensive Players to every One (1) Defensive player. It's what they do now under Holgorsen.

    WVU will have to score over 50 points a game in the Big 12 in order to win because the defense will give up 45-50 points a game.

    It's the same players from last years defense who were the nation's worst.

    Are the new Junior College transfers going to come in and save the day? No. Of course not.

    Anyway... that's just my opinion and I think everyone is entitled to hear it.

    • Ragweed

      Everyone is also entitled to ignore it.....

    • j

      Keep beating that drum. No one gives a crap of your opinion sir

    • Big John

      With a 9-4 record will you eat your words?

    • Darrell

      You did mean every one is entitled to read it . Udfr.

  • cutty77

    I want Trickett to start so we can get this Travesty over with. I still think Ford is The Man,and if he leaves i can't say that i blame him. Dana brought this kid in and has done everything Dana ask him to do. Then bring a Kid that has been here for 15 minutes,and can't play. Then start him over Me. Its time for me to Leave the building as Elivs would say.Plus the big thing it says is Dana can't recurit QB's. Thats another Problem,and another Story. LOL

    • JimJim

      Dana can't recruit ANYONE. How many Junior College and transfers (drop-outs and misfits from other programs) do we have on this team. If you start with second best, don't think that you are going to be number one.

      • Davis

        Junior college players were brought in to give this team some depth and older players. We were too young in the secondary last year. One of the quickest ways to get quality players is not from high school but from a juco where they have been going to college classes and being on a college campus. Juco's are not always misfits but most of the time players who didnt test well or graduate with a good gpa. So Juco gives them a chance to get used to college life and to see if they can hack it. As you may or may not know college life isnt for everyone. Remember Gary Stills, Solomon Paige, and a host of former Mountaineers were Juco players first.

  • bva24

    The QB won't matter. This team still won't be able to stop anybody.

  • Geno

    If Trickett or Ford don't start and Millard does I will lose any faith I have in this year

  • Shane N

    Hoping #9 will bring good things to the eers like another #9 from years past!!!

  • john c

    bottom line whoever starts the first game will not be the starter midway thru the season the games will seperate them and ford childress will earn the starting nod and be one of wvu best ever....rememebr pat white?? he got beat by adam bednarick in fall camp then got the nod after he earned it in game situation.. hell i could look good in practice ... the games will determine it...

    • dave

      Actually PW got the job because Bednarik seperated both shoulders and was lost for the season.

      • Brent

        So are you saying the only reason PW got the job was be Bednarik gor hurt? If I remember right early in that season he lead several td drives and it was pretty evident that he was the better choice. Even through a nice TD vs V tech. I dont understand people's love affair with Bednarik

      • john c

        exactly my point and he would have beat him out anyways

    • Wemakerain

      He got it after Bednarik got knocked out of the game by Louisville, but either way the argument is the same I think.

  • Jt

    Wow how about a little optimism, I think Trickett will start and have a great 2 yr run, Childress at #2 and Millard will transfer back to a Texas school, Childress will be a stud QB in 2015!

    • Thecrow2123

      Childress would be a stud QB this year. If he doesn't get the nod look for him to transfer.

      • Keith

        It's a great problem to have, three good quarterbacks. I like all three but I'd like to see it settled for four years.

  • rekterx

    Trick Milford will be the quarterback.

    • Keith

      Sorry. JimJim offered me the job. I'm digging out my lucky jock strap from high school now. My wife said I don't need a helmet.

    • tw eagle

      and how will trick milford's child dress for the first game ?

  • William

    Quarterback controversy will end up been a big mess for this football season! Which one will transfer? Which one will be upset? Which one will ride the bench? BY MID SEASON IT WILL BE ONE BIG MESS!

    • JimJim

      If Dana Dude were a good coach he would know which QB is the best. Judging talent, isn't that what the good coaches do???

      • 1095 jones

        amen 2 that....

    • Big Larry


      Love your Work!

      • Barry


        Love your work!

        • Kevin T

          Thank you my friend.

    • Art in Ohio

      I don't believe this will be a big mess. DH is a proven offensive coach that produces great quarterbacks that can light up the score board. He is raising the bar of competition with this position and you will see great results on coming football Saturdays. I hear the starter at QB is going to be a surprise to many---a few hours to go---can we stand the pressure--time will tell...

    • Mike

      I bet you wear a helmet when you go outside.

    • Kevin

      Sir CutNPaste has struck again.

      Please, William, just go away. We have listened to your thoughtless drivel for far too long. We are all that much dumber for reading it. You are truly Lord of the Village Idiots.

      • Grant

        He would post on the Marshall articles, but he knows nobody reads those.

  • TFC

    Who cares what C.F.T. thinks? She's a TFC wannabe.

  • C. F. T.

    Who cares WVU is an wannabe. Until Luck and Holgorson move on, my bet is the program will be 2nd tier.

    • JimJim

      Along those lines, with the O line we have do you really want to be the starting QB???

      • Keith

        Yes JimJim, I want to be starting quarterback. Thanks for the offer. I'll only do it if you block for me. Go Mountaineers!

    • Billy

      Agree, one is a drunk and the other is ruthless.

    • Yogi Wahoo

      Gomer C...go back to watching Springer

    • Kevin


      "an wannabe?" Great grammar in such a lengthy, well thought out post.

  • GridironGladiatorI'mNot

    Dang it. I thought we would know who it's going to be today. I don't want to wait longer than the three day install. Besides, I heard it was or could be leaked out on twitter. Anyone heard anything?

    Had to do homework to find out what a "fortnight" was. Great article here.

  • Maxxajay

    As what I have seen and heard I say Trickett will be the starter ..and Millard number two man....Just a feeling ...May the best man win..

    • William

      The deal was done when Trickett left FSU that he would be the starting Quarterback. He was told if he comes to WVU, then he would be the STARTING QUARTERBACK

      • westfair518

        William, you sound as if you are on the staff @ WV. Why are you so sure?

      • Hailey

        Come on Willie you are ruining all the suspense for us fan will all your trollsider information

      • Boomgrounder

        Both Trickett and Holorsen deny Trickett was promised the job. I believe Holgorsen, he doesn't strike me as the kind of coach who would promise anyone anything. Also, I believe the other 2 QB's would know if Trickett was "promised" the job. Holgorsen is not a difficult guy to read.

        • JimJim

          And you trust Dana Dude to tell the truth?? Drink Up, there on me!

      • Brian

        Well i am glad you know. Now i dont have to read anything else on who the QB will be . From every thing i have read he was not told he would be the starter he would have to earn it but i see you have a inside track lol

      • Grant

        He and Dana both said no guarantee was given, and Clint said he turned down offers guaranteeing him to start; however, think what you want. Now, could he have EARNED the job? Yes.

        • Wvcouch49

          No he was not