Ben Queen/Metronews photo

West Virginia quarterback Ford Childress watches the fourth quarter unfold after a three-turnover day in the 37-0 loss to Maryland.


BALTIMORE, Md. — Reflecting on a 37-0 loss to Maryland that would have been hard for any coach to stomach (much less a spread-offense guru), Dana Holgorsen not only refused to pile on quarterback Ford Childress, but indicated plans to stick with the redshirt freshman.

“He’s going to be our guy,” Holgorsen said.

Holgorsen’s guy threw a pick-six in the first quarter. Holgoren’s guy set up another Terps touchdown with an interception at his own 6-yard line. Holgorsen’s guy lost a fumble. Holgorsen’s guy completed one pass to a wide receiver—all afternoon. Holgorsen’s guy threw for 62 yards—all afternoon.

WVU fans might be clamoring for Holgorsen to get a new guy, just as they clamored after the offense struggled in a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma. But Holgorsen is running out of new guys—only Clint Trickett is left in the bullpen—and in the aftermath of WVU’s first shutout in 12 years, Holgorsen said no quarterback could have prospered behind WVU’s shaky line play.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia’s Ford Childress was sacked by Maryland’s Darius Kilgo, part of an abysmal day for the quarterback.

“We could have had Peyton Manning back there, and if you’re not able to get any yards in the run game or not able to set your feet and throw downfield …” the coach said, an incomplete sentence that didn’t need an ending.

“We played incredibly poor up front. It was probably as bad as we’ve ever played on the offensive line.”

That frames up Holgorsen’s headline of the day: “Offensively we’re as inept as we can possibly be.”

Though Childress was sacked only twice, Maryland pressured him frequently—often without committing extra defenders to the pass rush. When West Virginia attempted to run the ball with a numbers advantage, Maryland typically stopped that too.

Dreamius Smith’s 51-yard run with four minutes left in the game—against second-team Terrapins—and Wendell Smallwood’s 30-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter helped WVU average 4.5 yards per rush, which is statistical folly. Eliminate those two outliers, and the Mountaineers averaged 1.3 yards per attempt.

“When they have five people in the box and we can’t get a yard, it’s going to cause a problem,” said Holgorsen, who wanted to emphasize more elements of power football into WVU’s offense this season. The running backs appear to be a talented group, but the offensive line has been mangled in two games against legitimate competition.

“I thought we’d be able to run the ball,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “(Maryland) definitely out-physicaled us up front.”

Those breakdowns make it impossible for Childress to do how job, and to some degree, make it difficult for coaches to evaluate whether Childress should continue a the quarterback or give way to the Florida State transfer behind Door No. 3.

Childress completed 11-of-22 passes for the aforementioned—and completely unfathomable—62 yards (a smidgen off last week’s pace of 359). Eight of Saturday’s completions went to running back Charles Sims on swing passes or quick screens, including an 11-yarder that opened the game. (Ah, those were optimistic times, indeed.) Two plays later, on a third-and-13, Childress fired an out route to Ronald Childress, who made a lunging grab a yard shy of the marker.

Make sure to circle Carswell’s catch, because it was the only one made by a West Virginia wide receiver. Childress overthrew a few others, guessed wrong at least twice when receivers broke off routes in different directions, and simply chucked some passes in hurried fashion when rushers leaked through.

“Did he play great tonight? No. Was it all his fault? Heck no,” Dawson insisted. “There’s a lot of things that have to get better offensively for us to get a quarterback going.”

While Dawson claimed he wasn’t trying to deflect criticism from Childress, Holgorsen went about defending his quarterback client harder than Alan Dershowitz, saying: “He never had a chance.”

Which sounds an awful lot like he’ll get another chance next week.

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  • cutty77

    This all started last summer,when WVU and Dana accepted Trickett,because he got most of the Reps,and Ford was 3rd man out. Now Ford is learning on The Fly. This is all on Dana,and like Dana alot. But this mess is all his fault. Ford is the Future so we have to live with it. You can't keep switching QB's all The Time. That being said this is going to be a Very long season.

  • FungoJoe

    BREAKING NEWS. This just in.
    The USGS has confirmed that the loud "sonic boom" heard all over WV on Saturday evening was not caused by a fast jet. It was caused by the collective fan base jumping off the Dana Holgorsen band wagon.
    Under OFFENSIVE GURU DANA HOLGORSEN, WVU put up more zeroes at Maryland than the Japanese Navy did at Pearl Harbor.

  • J the C



    pull together fans... These new player had know idea what it means to wear the ole Gold and blue (or Yellow & Blue) not prepared to play football from day one ( Mike Joesph) who had these kids and what was going on? playing music, running around and getting in shape ( but not thinking about football)what is going on? We look like Notre Dame before Brian Kelly. we are not ready to play football !!!!!! ( our D - looks like they want to hit, I'll take it...) Who was talking transfer if they don't get to play! Hit the road !! we can get anyone to put up "ZERO" on the board...(all the hard work WVU players did in the past) ( our new players its just a game to them) I like Dana... I don't like our new players ( they did not come ready to play)

  • Jack

    This is real football, and a kid from a private high school in Houston, in a league where there's no real competition will either get it, do something with it and grow, or he'll cave. That's up to him. What is unconscionable here is that there's no one else who can take over if there is a collapse, and I don't think WVU fans are going to be appreciative for very long.

  • JimJim

    Yes, at 2M+ he's going to man up. In your dreams.

  • Ragweed

    Good comments Brandon. What the team does from here on out will show what they are really like. It takes time to rebuild and make it work. Was I disappointed? Sure. So much of what happened Saturday was the fault of the team and not the coaches. Give them a little more time to develop, and then let's see what happens.

    • J the C

      Brandon, Ragweed, thanks for the sanity!

  • Phil M.

    It's not good. I'm far from a fair weather fan. I'm as devoted a fan as there is. A big homer. But, that was the worst performance by a WVU offense that I have witnessed in all of my years watching WVU football. Worse than any game we played in the Cignetti years. I know I was a student at WVU from 1974-1977. Never saw a performance that bad.

    Hey time will tell. But it's all about coaching that's easy to see. O lineman not staying engaged in their blocks, punt returners who will not even fair catch a ball. Bad play calling and on and on. Tell our head coach to get out a board and a sharpie and get over on the bench and coach these guys up. Not stand on the sideline shaking his head, popping his gum and wearing all black. Will somebody please get this guy in some blue and gold. I'm sick of the black shirt and hats. Maybe he's a guy that is a good O coordinator but can't manage the whole thing. He wouldn't be the first.

  • Eddie Young

    Also to continue last post. If recruits see all this negativity from the fan base, are they going to come to WVU? I saw a QB recruit on twitter Saturday and he didn't seem too happy.

  • Eddie Young

    I have been as upset as anyone about this teams failures. I do not know what the answer is. I agree the offensive line is not playing well. There are bad passes, dropped passes and mistakes on special teams. We are going to be down for a couple of years. But if we all keep bashing players, coaches and Luck, where's that going to get us?. Maybe we should rally behind everyone an encourage them. It couldn't make things any worse could it? Just a thought. Mountaineers stick together. Go WVU!!!!!

  • Dave

    Ford Childress DOESN'T have what it takes to be the QB this year...and we cannot wait to develop a kid who should be ready after sitting behind Geno Smith last year. PUT MILLARD back in, then Trickett as the back-up and let Childress go to a FSB school were he might be able to play and dominate.

  • Chris

    I may be showing my ignorance because I've never played a down of organized football in my life...but it seems that the timing is off without QBs and receivers. The QBs are slower in their movements and our receivers are quick. Perhaps Tricket's crispness would be better suited to our receivers natural timing. Could it be worth a try at this point?

    Gotta wonder if the Deforest situation is a distraction for the team. I'm sure he's a great guy, but the chemistry with the West Virginia as an honest blue collar working class state seems a bit volatile. This is all we have here in WV, and we want the thing to be right. That's very important in this state...character is so important.

    • Chris

      Sorry about the grammer, darned iPad.

  • Chris

    Mac Brown would fit perfectly at wvu...on second thought, Terry Bowden even more so....c'mon Terry we need you...send in your résumé Now! ...Come back home Please!

    Also, bring back E Gordon Gee...Make Jeff Hostetler Athletic Director with Nehlan calling the shots...and get us into the ACC!


  • phk

    First of all Stewart informed all the WVU folks that he was implementing more passing in the spread but really went into a traditional pro set (with spread guys) He deserved to be fired.
    Second, I firmly believe you are as great as the folks you surround yourself with, and Dana has surrounded himself we Oklahoma and Texas buddies with little connection in Ohio, WV, PA, FL, and VA high school coaches.
    The defense is much much better this year, but Dana and his coaches are learning on the job and it ain't gonna be pretty waiting for his crew to get established without solid local recruiting.
    Obviously the problem with the coaching crew is their lack of implementing fundamentals like pass blocking, following up blocking, and tackling.

  • tom

    anyone who watched the qb coukd tell he is over his head out on the field plenty of time on many plays terrible passing and decisions time for trickett defense played their asses off they need offensive help even 2or 3 first downs to rest