MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Numbers can be deceivingly refracted, but the 65-to-6 disparity in Week 1 snaps sure felt conclusive: Paul Millard is West Virginia’s starting quarterback.
Clint Trickett, however, remains a developing option at No. 2 and might be called upon against Oklahoma next Saturday.
“I still think Clint brings something to the table that (Millard) doesn’t, so we will continue to rep Clint,” coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday.
With the Mountaineers on the verge of being stunned by William & Mary, Millard orchestrated a second-half rally and a 24-17 victory. An usually heavy reliance on the running game meant Millard wasn’t pressured to win the game with his arm—in fact, his 25 pass attempts were the fewest for a Holgorsen starter since he became a Division I coach in 2000.
“He did a good job of managing the game, and I thought he got us into several really good run checks.” Holgorsen said.
When Millard did throw it, the results were positive: A 69-yard scoring bomb to Ronald Carswell and a 76-percent completion rate hurt by three passes that glanced off receivers’ hands. With Holgorsen expected to rotate quarterbacks, Millard gave way to Trickett for only two second-quarter possessions, each of which ended in three-and-outs.
“Really happy with how Paul performed, and right now it looks like he’s our guy,” Holgorsen said. “But with that said, we’ll continue to rep Clint to get him in position to use him when we need him, because more than likely we’re going to need him at some point.”
That point may arrive as soon as Saturday, when WVU heads to Norman, Okla., as a 21-point underdog.
“It all depends on how the game goes,” Holgorsen said. “(Trickett) has played against Oklahoma before, and he knows what kind of speed that they have, what kind of athletic ability that they have. He’s been in that situation before, so I think he’ll help us from a maturity standpoint and being able to move the ball if we need to.
“We’ve just got to continue to rep him. He doesn’t understand the offense as well as Paul.”
While Holgorsen said the 409 yards West Virginia compiled “might seem satisfying to some,” there was nothing satisfying about his offense going three-and-out six times on 12 drives (the end-of-half, one-play possession excluded). Nor was he happy about WVU forfeiting early momentum with a negative-yardage play that stalled the second drive and led to a 55-yard field goal miss. Another promising drive to open the third quarter ended at the William & Mary 5.
“I don’t care about stats, I don’t care about numbers — I care about being efficient,” Holgorsen said. “There’s a lot of times we weren’t very efficient in finishing drives, but that’s part of the process with inexperienced kids.”