MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Redshirt freshman Ford Childress, relegated to third-team status in the preseason, will be West Virginia’s starting quarterback against Georgia State, coach Dana Holgorsen announced Thursday night.

Paul Millard started both games this season, and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett played two series in the opener against William & Mary. But when a frustrated Holgorsen re-opened the quarterback race this week in practice, Childress leap-frogged both juniors and earned the right to take his first college snap Saturday.

“It’s his time, it’s his job and we’re going to see what he can do,” Holgorsen said on his weekly call-in show. “We opened (the competition) up on Tuesday and Ford took it and ran with it. He threw the ball as well as he’s ever thrown it and he managed the huddle really good.”

Holgorsen suggested there will be no scripted quarterback rotation against Georgia State, meaning the job solidly belongs to the 6-foot-5 Childress.

“He took about 80 percent of the reps today,” Holgorsen said, adding that he doesn’t want Childress going into the game and being “scared about making a mistake.”

“It’s his time, it’s his job and we’re going to see what he can do. We opened (the competition) up on Tuesday and Ford took it and ran with it. … The dude, he’s got all the tools.” — Dana Holgorsen

In 13 previous seasons as a Division I coach, Holgorsen has stuck with his opening-day starter throughout the season. But his patience quickly dissipated after WVU (1-1) committed five turnovers and scored only four touchdowns through two games.

Millard lost a fumble in Week 1 against William & Mary when he completed 19-of-25 passes for 237 yards with one touchdown in a 24-17 comeback victory. And there was no comeback during a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma, where Millard went 21-of-41 for 218 yards with an interception and another lost fumble.

With WVU’s offense misfiring against the Sooners, Holgorsen considered replacing Millard with Trickett, who had gone 0-for-2 passing during two three-and-outs in the opener. The coach made no mention that night of Childress, whose practice reps had been curtailed after Millard and Trickett became the frontrunners in late August based on their edge in experience.

“We had to make a decision at that point (in the preseason) and it didn’t work out,” said Holgorsen, ticking off several factors that initially sank Childress to No. 3 on the depth chart.

“It was a combination of things—communication and just (not) making throws and he fumbled a couple of snaps. He did a couple things we really weren’t thrilled about.”

Holgorsen was more thrilled with the freshman’s demeanor in the three weeks since. Instead of making a knee-jerk decision to transfer before fall semester opened, Childress stayed and was quickly rewarded with his first college start.

“I loved his attitude on the sidelines last week—he was probably the most active guy we had,” Holgorsen said. “I think he sat there on the sidelines and said, ‘I think I can do this.'”

Childress possesses the strongest arm of WVU’s three quarterbacks and could stretch defenses vertically, especially with receivers Ronald Carswell and Kevin White lining up on the outside.

Said Holgorsen of his new quarterback: “The dude, he’s got all the tools.”

Middle linebacker Doug Rigg (concussion) and safety/nickel back K.J. Dillon (leg) have been ruled out for Saturday’s game, Holgorsen confirmed.


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  • john

    Kid needs to just play and not be scared against Georgia State. There is no way Georgia State can win this game so he/Holgs can try to practice everything in real game competition. We need him to be ready for Maryland. Maryland is usually the barometer of how good or bad we are going to be for the season. Going in with a qb who can make the throws makes me feel better. Millard, seems to have a great understanding of the game, but lacks the physical tools to make him a great overall player.

    • Kevin

      Thank you captain obvious.

  • David J.

    Keep in mind at the top of this site there was a story asking if Georgia State was the worst team we ever played.

    This makes perfect sense to me. Play the young kid in this game. See how he does and go from there.

    Evidently Trickett is not the be all end all everyone made him out to be and Millard needs a lot of work.

  • Joe Joe

    Hello...I am William's psychotherapist. I apologize for his/her posts and behavior in general.

  • Keith

    If Childress can pull this off, imagine the numbers he can put up with Holgerson's offence. This could be the start of something special or the most embarrassing game ever played at Mountaineer field. It should fill a lot of seats at a potentially humdrum game.

  • polarbear

    William your like school in summer... No class

    • William

      WVU=NO CLASS!! I mean they didn't accept me into college of course they have NO CLASS.

  • Shawn

    I really think Holgs wanted to go with Ford originally but he couldn't pull the trigger. I think he felt he owed it to Millard but its time to move on. I think Ford is the future and you have to get him some game reps. Let's Go EERS!!!

  • StatMan3

    There is a nationally ranked Div. 1 college offense and defense in the state of WV.
    But it is not in Morgantown. It is located in HUNTINGTON, WV. That team is being coached by ex-WVU coach Doc Holliday and has one of the top QB's in the nation leading it.
    I thought the offensive guru was supposed to be in Morgantown. Nope, he is in Huntington and he knows how to pick and hire defensive coaches too.
    Looks like Ollie Luck picked and hired the wrong coach to lead the Mountaineers. Holgorsen could only win with Stew's recruits. Now in year 3 with his own recruits the WVU fortunes have plumetted like Obama's approval ratings. If you want to see big time college football and a big time college offense, come on down to Huntington. You won't find it in Morgantown with Holgorsen.

    • Doc Holliday

      Thanks Bro

      • cutty77

        @ Doc Hoilday,
        Your welcome,again you are what you are.

    • cutty77

      @ StatMan3
      Last year WVU was in the Top 10 in several offense Numbers. Marshall is very good this year,but Beat Ohio Sat. night before you go Bumping your Gums. Marshall had to go get a WVU Coach to start to get into Big Time Football. You are What You Are. Conference USA. and Don't forget it.

  • cutty77

    About Time. I said by the 4th of 5th game. This is his Time. I think he is Big Time,but he needs some time,so we will see. Big Strong and fast Kid. Kinda looks like a Andrew Luck Size Kid. Good Luck Ford.

  • WVU MA 82

    Now, the defense is working harder than last year, the special teams have a good kicker and punter, good coverage, and the offense seems to have made a concentrated to protect the quarterback. All that needs to come together is a punt receiver, protection for receivers, time to get open, better foot and handwork for receivers, healing for linebackers, and POINTS.

    It really is all about the points.

    Ford Childress will have four years to play Mountaineer Ball if he is successful, and five if he does well academically.

    Ladies and Gentlemen--that is the Mountain Strong way--Hard work, dedication, and improvement.

    I realize it is only the Panthers, but, they are working toward a prize as well.

    • big tom

      you must have missed last weeks game,,,,the special teams essentially lost the game,, thanks to deforest our 500,000 dollar babies; lack of coaching, and our run defense was destroyed with over 300 yds rushing,,,,
      let's keep this real,,, we aren't there and may just be a long ways from being there.