MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —The West Virginia quarterback race has been so tight this preseason that even the offensive dynamic duo of Dana Holgorsen and Shannon Dawson are atypically befuddled, entering an opener without a designated starter for the first time in their careers.

That’s the sort of indecision a team can stomach against the likes of William & Mary, but the coaches hope to tap their go-to guy—whether it be Paul Millard or Clint Trickett—before the pivotal Week 2 trip to Oklahoma.

Allan Taylor/MetroNews

WVU coaches say Paul Millard will split snaps with Clint Trickett against William & Mary on Saturday.

“You could look at it as neither of them rose or neither one of them fell off,” said Dawson, WVU’s third-year offensive coordinator. “They’ve been pretty dadgum consistent day in and day out.

“Both of them deserve an opportunity, and that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in. Whoever wants to take hold of it and run with it, I’m more than happy for him. … We’re trying to figure out who can lead this team to victory better.”

This who’ll-take-the-first-snap mystery is precisely the kind of dramatic subplot an opener against an FCS team craves. What better way to coerce fans into the stadium by kickoff? Close down that tailgate and grab an $8 beer as you rush to your seat … this ain’t just first-and-10, this is HISTORY!

And Dawson prays that is the only historic tidbit to stem from a game against a lower-level team coming off a 2-9 season.

“Hopefully somebody rises up,” Dawson said. “Hopefully somebody is a gamer.”

NO. 14 or NO. 9?
The Trickett-Millard competition is intense, though as we were told Tuesday night, it’s not quite Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan.

“When Coach turns his back, you’re not going to take a hammer to (Millard’s) kneecaps or anything,” Trickett said. “It’s friendly competition and both of us want the job.”

Funny guy, this transfer from Tallahassee. Then again, if Millard somehow winds up with a knee injury, Trickett immediately becomes a person of interest.

“Or my mom,” he said.

Yeah, funny guy.

Trickett obviously possesses the temperament to play quarterback, though he’ll need to suppress the inner-fizz sure to bubble up from returning to Morgantown, to the stadium in which he grew up aspiring to play.

“Winning. Winning. Winning,” is how he described Saturday’s mission. “I can’t really get caught up in the moment—first game back home, dream school, and all that. You’ve just got to get out there and play.”

Millard was lightly recruited out of Flower Mound, Texas, because many Division I recruiters doubted his arm strength. During two seasons as a college backup, he has added zip to his passes and curbed—at least somewhat—his urge to gamble on deep throws.

“It’s not always about forcing it downfield,” Millard said of his most crucial revelation. “Sometimes it’s about checking it down and getting as many completions as you can moving the ball forward.”

Millard dodged a reporter’s assertion the quarterback possessing a gunslinger mentality, but that’s precisely what Dawson alluded to in this same-day mini-critique: “There’s times where Paul tries to do too much, in my opinion.”

This is where the playing-within-himself axiom must become Millard’s mantra. Can he be patient enough to seek out the short-toss weak spots the Air Raid attack was built to exploit?

“I came here early as a freshman and my goal was to be a starting quarterback for the Mountaineers,” Millard said. “I’m excited about the opportunity ahead—I’m just ready to go get it.”

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  • Lambert

    "Ollie and WVU afraid of Marshall"

    Yep because Marshall has beaten WVU about.... oh yeah sorry I forgot

    • Rob

      You're trying to reason with a typical Marshall idiot. You're better off talking to a wall.

  • Nostrdamus

    My crystal ball is becoming clearer. Yes there it is. I can see it.
    WVU: 5-7, No Pinstripe bowl embarrassment this year. Thank the lord!! Dana Holgorsen rapidly becoming like yesterday's newspaper.

    MU:10-3 Liberty Bowl win vs. Arkansas.
    MU coach Doc Holliday coach of the year C-USA.
    Here is a Mountaineer Maniac towel for you all to use as your crying towel this year.

  • Rob

    Gotta love the Marshall trash...

  • IamTheMan

    That's my impression of a Marshall fan. The big 12 ain't that good or the little 12. Or yall are scared( even though we have never lost to lil sis) but you guys got it all figured out. Right.

  • IamTheMan

    Maybe we should open with Miami of ohio instead. That would be so much better right. Please Marshall needs to worry about beating conference usa teams instead of what is going on at WVU. I remember when you beat K State and it was the greatest victory for your sorry program but now the big 12 ain't that good. Your fanbase school players and coaches and meth dealers are pathetic. Go jump in the Ohio river. Please.

    • Nostrdamus

      How'd that K-State game in Morgantown go for you last year??? What was the final score? 59-14 or something like that on NATIONAL TV. When Geno Smith fumbled AGAIN just after half-time the MASS exodus of fans from the stands looked like the running of the bulls in Spain. There was still over 10 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. How hilarious was that?? Now that was pee your pants funny.

  • Harpers Ferry

    I think it's great that WVU is looking past William & Mary, it reminds me of when Michigan overlooked App State a few years back. How did that go for the Wolverines?

    • Rob

      Cool story bro..

  • JimJim

    Oh, well, is everyone ready for West Virginia's largest beer party???? Let's go "Bud" Yes a state supported school has the largest beer party in the state. Let's go "Miller Lite"

  • Phil M.

    As a West Virginia native I would really like to pull for Marshall. I went to WVU with Doc Holiday and like him a lot. But, if they can't keep their mouths shut about us then, well you know, the truth is they are our Little Brother and always will be. Plus have you seen their schedule ? Please what a joke. I know expansion has effected Conference USA as well but that schedule is really weak.

  • Mountaineer fanatic

    I surely do hope that Marshall has a great year this year.Why would that make a difference on how the Mountaineers play. It would be great to see Marshall win their league and WVU win there's. What a great deal for West Virginia. I will always prefer WVU but I always root for Marshall also. If you can't have pride in the Big 12 or CUSA at least have pride in your State.

    • big tom

      I will never root for marsha,, their fans, AD , and students have proven to me that they don't deserve my support

  • Crazyeer


  • Rob

    Idiots like nostrdamus are the reason I despise Marshall and their fans. I'm glad the series is over. I got so sick of their mouths then the excuses after the game.

    Marshall may have a good season in their conference this year but would get destroyed in a power conference.

  • Kevin

    And Nostradamus, could we really tell that Marshall "is gonna be good" this year years in advance. I mean, it's not like the schedules are made 3 weeks before kickoff, or even just one year ahead of time. You had multiple chances to get it done against WVU and failed. Get over it, move on, enjoy your good season...

  • Kevin

    Nostradamus, are you saying Huntington High is going to be good this year? We all know that is the only football played in Huntington.

  • big tom

    everyone got really tired of beating hapless marsha..they are a subdiv team with subdiv talent.. yes they may dominate cusa but what does that tell you.. the have nots , have not.
    marsha is rapidly sinking into a dark hole with no one really caring if they exist as a football team.. a little section of the state roots for them , that's it, who really cares, they are a laugher ,and w and m will give us a much better game than they would have.
    let's drop this marsha thing once and for all..we're tired of inviting them to Morgantown and watch a sad marsha team to once again get dominated.

  • Nostradamus

    How many empty seats will we see at kickoff Saturday in Morgantown?? 12,000?? 10,000?? How many of those empty seats will be in the student section?? About 4000-5000?? Could have had a sellout and a statewide TV audience with a game againt Marshall. But noooo. Ollie and WVU afraid of Marshall.

    WVU ought to be glad they are opening with a patsy patty-cake opponent instead of Marshall this year. Marshall is going to have a very good team this year. WVU will not.
    WVU is afraid to line up against Marshall just when they have gotten better. WVU would rather play the Norfolk States, the W&M's, the Towson States, the James Madisons, and the Georgia States of the football world than play Marshall, MAC teams, or other D-1 schools.
    Pitiful state of affairs going on up in Morgantown. They got it going on in Huntington though. If any WVU football fans are interested in watching winning football in 2013, just tune into MU football or go on down to Huntington and see it in person.

    • Art in Ohio

      I believe you had seven chances to show you should play WVU every year. Seven straight years we played you. Seven straight games you lost. That does not sound like we were afraid to play you, I can't believe a Marshall fan can continue to write that West Virginia University is afraid to play you.

    • Greg

      I swear, I think the worst thing to ever happen to Moo football was Don Nehlen, being the gentleman that he is, taking his foot off the gas in the second quarter of that first Modern era game. He should have just left the first teamers stay in the game and ran it up on Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and Co until it was merciless. Then we wouldn't have had to endure those last seven ridiculous games as no Moo fan would ever have again wanted a piece of WVU football. There's where an opinion from the real Nostradamus would've come in handy.

    • Mitch

      @ Nostra-dumba$$,

      Um...that's what you people say every year. How's that turned out? There are 200 tickets left for the opener vs. Wm. & Mary. Sounds like a sell-out to me. By the way, when you can actually beat Ohio U. or UAB, come and talk to us about how "tough" you are.

    • mauldawg

      You are a MU troll. Every year we don't play the herdies that is the year they would beat us. What a bunch of cry babies. The best team MU ever had lost to WVU. How does 12-0 all time sound to you. MU is nothing but a over hyped JC team. The C-USA is a nothing conference. I for one hope we never play the idiot herdies again. All they do is gripe and moan.

    • William

      WVU for the last 30 years have always scheduled cup-cake non- conf. games and played in the BIG EASY conf. WVU fans eat it up when they beat these teams, then say how great they are! Very sad WVU plays BILL and MARY & Georgia State this year, this is the only way they will have a winning season and pad the STATS!

      • hailey

        You are right the last 7 yrs vs Marshall validates your claim ...willie = troll

      • john

        William, lots of teams open with a couple of patsies, but it's changing. Look at 2014, ya goo!

      • Greg

        And WVU has opened up with Moo in how many of those 30 years? I do see a trend there.

      • WV07

        William you are sad little man.

        • hailey

          I for one enjoy destroying Willie after he posts, even a girl can beat him down without breaking a sweat

        • William

          @WV07 - To some, THE TRUTH HURTS!

    • jake

      this is about wvu not marshall....

    • JimJim

      Why not play Pitt????

    • Charles

      Funny the Marshall game drew so well that it was the least attended home game at wvu 2 of the past 3 years. Wvu will draw just fine on Saturday. Better worry about your own bleachers. I'm sure there will be plenty of good seating available in htown.

    • Mark

      I believe that WVU has opened a few seasons with'd they turn out?

      Here's wishing BOTH teams success!

      PS- Anyone else find it a bit troubling that Millard has been in the system for a couple of years, yet he hasn't won the starting position?

      • big tom

        my guess is that dana is just buying time for clint to learn the system a little bit better and then he takes over

    • Blue lot

      Everytime I read one of these ignorant posts, I am reminded how great it felt in Huntington, 2010, when the little brother was oh-so-close to finally pulling off the upset...only to have victory snatched away from you in the final minutes.

      Your obvious jealousy displayed here gives me reason to smile as I remember the heart broken looks on the MU fans when you poured out of your high school stadium, and watched us fire up post game celebratory tailgates.

      We were superior then, we're superior now, and we'll always be superior. Please, WVU is never going to fear the herd.

      • FungoJoe

        Marshall fans like sofas and couches. They use them to sit on and watch games on TV. They don't drag them out into the street and light them ablaze to burn them. In Huntington, that is called a crime. Arson. In Morgantown, its called Saturday night in Sunnyside.

      • Greg

        It's not so much jealousy as it is an inferiority complex.

    • BH

      No use in stressing since it's out of your hands. Just let it go. PS- Marshall should have "it going" . So why not just enjoy your teams season.