WACO, Texas — Having grown up with a demanding offensive line coach for a father, Clint Trickett says he can accept hard coaching. And he took plenty Saturday night during a 73-42 loss to Baylor.
Dana Holgorsen, in a theme repeated from the previous week, became frustrated by the inability of Trickett to decipher sideline signals and get West Virginia’s uptempo offense in motion. Holgorsen gave his transfer quarterback an earful on several occasions, twice replacing him mid-drive with backup Paul Millard during the first half.
“I’ve dealt with some tough people in my life—look who my father is,” Trickett said. “People are going to yell. I yell all the time. Coaches are going to yell—you just have to listen to what they’re saying and do it.”
While fans spent the week wondering whether Trickett’s right shoulder would be healthy, Holgorsen was more concerned about his quarterback’s game-management skills.
“I’m not doing something right evidently, because there was a lot of times in the first couple series where I was giving (Trickett) specific orders and they weren’t being followed,” Holgorsen said.
Asked specifically about the reasoning behind Millard’s early cameos, the coach answered: “Because we weren’t getting called what I felt like needed to get called.”
Trickett threw for 161 yards on just 9-of-28 passing, repeatedly taking downfield shots as Baylor’s safeties crowded the line of scrimmage. On the plus side, he connected with Kevin White for a 39-yard touchdown and another 37-yard hookup, and twice netted pass interference flags on Baylor cornerbacks. Yet Trickett also left a number of deep throws off-target, missing opportunities that were crucial as WVU sought to keep pace with Baylor’s fast-break offense.
Yes, WVU scored six touchdowns, but Trickett was on the field for only two of them.
“We worked all week on getting that ball out in front, leading (the receiver) across the field because the corner’s going to be chasing,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “But there were times when we didn’t do that.”
Added Holgorsen: “We made a few plays down there, but we didn’t make nearly as many as we should have.”
After suffering three sacks and an interception, Trickett was lifted for good with 12:14 left in the game. By that juncture, WVU trailed 66-21, and from the coaches’ perspective, the benefits of giving Trickett more game reps became outweighed by the risk of further injury to a right arm he tellingly kept tucked to his side.
Asked if he had full range of motion in his throwing am, the quarterback said “Not necessarily,” though he didn’t fault the injury for any inaccuracies.
“I’m not going to make excuses or anything. I didn’t execute the way I need to for us to win the game, so I put that game on me,” he said. “I’m not a trainer, I’m not a doctor. I went out there and gave it all we had, and I’m proud of myself for that.”
And how did the arm feel afterward?
“Thank God for a bye week,” he said.
After Millard threw fourth-quarter touchdowns to Ronald Carswell (43 yards) and White (1 yard), Holgorsen suggested the quarterback competition would re-open during the off week, with Ford Childress also playing a role as his form pectoral heals.
“I probably could have put (Childress) in there, but he’s just not quite ready because he hasn’t had the practice reps,” Holgorsen said.
“We’re going to keep prepping them all and the guy who has the hot hand is the guy we’re probably end up going with.”