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.”

WHEN GOING LONG EQUALS GOING WRONG
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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Comments

  • 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.
    LETS GOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS

    • 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

    if

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • Greg

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

      • 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.

    • Mark

      I believe that WVU has opened a few seasons with MU...how'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

    • 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.

    • JimJim

      Why not play Pitt????

    • jake

      this is about wvu not marshall....

    • 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!

      • WV07

        William you are sad little man.

        • William

          @WV07 - To some, THE TRUTH HURTS!

        • hailey

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

      • Greg

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

      • john

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

      • hailey

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Jason

    What a waste of a game. Why in the world does WVU schedule these FCS games? They get them ready for nothing. They are a step backwards from the internal scrimmages they have. I am not suggesting they open up with an SEC or Big 10 team or anything, but at least try to find a Sun Belt or MAC team. There are tons of better caliber teams out there that will better prepare them for future competition instead of a complete steamroll.

    • chad

      Do you follow college football at all?

      • William

        Next they will be playing CLAY-BATTELLE

        • JimJim

          Wait a minute, Clay-Battelle isn't that bad. Let's see who has the best record this year Clay-Battelle or WVU. I could be close. ;)

        • hailey

          or Marshall , .... good ole wet willie = troll .

    • DC

      Well next year they will be opening with a SEC team...

      • cutty77

        The Crimson Tide. And I'm sure someone will complain about us going down there to play them. What are doing playing Bama at Bama.

        • WVAtty

          It's actually in Atlanta I believe.

          • cutty77

            You are 100% Right.The Chicky Baby Bowl. Last Time WVU played the ATL. it did OK.

            P.S. The Chicky reference came from the Great L.A. Laker Broadcaster Chick Hearn. He use tell them to come see ole Chicky Baby.

    • Art in Ohio

      Contracts are signed years in advance and the NCAA gave D-1 teams the 12th game so they could play a William and Mary. This was set up give D-2 teams a chance at some big money. NCAA trying to spread the wealth around.

      • JimJim

        Why not play Pitt???

      • Jason

        I understand the logic for William and Mary, just doesn't understand it for WVU. I have always believed in playing better competition or at least teams that will better prepare you for who you will be playing. WVU starts out year after year with some team that gets them ready for nothing. I just think they should find a mid-major that could actually expose some problems for them to iron out before they actually play some real competition is all.

        • Eric

          The MAC teams want $1 million dollars to play "one and done's" now- much more than smaller class schools. Our last attempt to play a MAC team bit us in the butt!

    • al

      Big 10 team? Are you kidding? W and M is better than half of the Big 10.

    • DWM

      I echo the sentiment, do you usually pay attention to college football?

      Its impractical to scrimmage other schools and we need a scrimmage before we play Oklahoma. That's what this is. Every D1 school does it, including Alabama.

      It is very important this year since we have such an important and difficult 2nd opponent.

    • MountainMover

      There's no pre-season in college football, you really don't know what you have until you play another team. I have no problem with a tune-up game as the opener. Especially with Oklahoma coming right behind.

  • Doug

    219 on Direct TV

  • Chet Ubetcha

    I liked the Tanya Harding reference, I appreciate they both are good kids who don't take themselves too seriously

  • Bob Mayhew

    Also Dish Network channel 150, the old Speed Channel.

  • Kevin T / WVAtty

    Good job Allan ...

    Dumbed down a pretty good article with a cheap shot at Luck.

    "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!"

    Was that necessary? In italics no less.

    • Gary

      What more would you expect from JR's henchmen? But hey, his radio personalities do have almost 30,000 twitter followers...

    • Neal

      You have to be looking pretty hard for cheap shots if you consider that a cheap shot. I thought it was more of a toungue in cheek kind of statement. When you're playing a bad FCS opponent I'm sure finding storyline angles isn't the easiest.

      • chad

        Exactly Neal. Name me any other stadium in the country where you can purchase a brewski for under $8.

        • cutty77

          Oliver cares nothing about Cheap Shots. He brought WVU into Big Time Football. He has Vision,and some people don't like the Change. Just think we could still be in The Big East or AAC or whatever you call it making 6 mill. a year.Go Big or Go Home.

          • Maxxajay

            @ Cutty77 ...Well said ....I agree

          • john

            ditto cutty

    • Allan Taylor

      Apologies, Kevin: Wasn't meant as a shot at Luck. (I don't think he personally set the pricepoint for ridiculous beer prices at entertainment events.) It was a shot at stadium-level pricing industry-wide.

    • David

      What cheap shot? I don't see it. Paying $8 for a beer is not cheap so it appears to be true.

  • richard

    thanks jeff

  • Jeff James

    Fox Sports 1 - Suddenlink in Kanawha Valley Channel 31 - 231 if you have the DVR and HD

  • richard

    does anyone know what channel the game will be on?

    • JS

      FOX Sports 1 which used to be the Speed Channel on most cable/satelite systems.