MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If you thought West Virginia’s receivers had trouble catching up to Clint Trickett’s deep throws at Baylor, you should have witnessed the trouble Trickett encountered catching flights during the bye weekend.

Aiming to spend some R&R time with his dad at Florida State, the quarterback suffered a false start when he missed Friday’s outbound flight from Pittsburgh International.

“The dang security line was all the way backed up into the tunnel—a lot of people missed flights that day,” Trickett said. (Swallow that advice about trying the alternative checkpoint, because as Trickett noted, “They had it closed, too.” Hey, at least the kid’s finally going through his progressions.)

Then came Sunday night’s tweet—”I am the king of missing flights”—which revealed Trickett had just as much boarding on his way back from Florida.

“Panama City is in a different time zone from Tallahassee, and I didn’t put that in my travel calculation,” he said. “So I wasn’t very happy when I got to the airport.”

In between airport adventures, Trickett enjoyed casually watching college football with his dad Rick, the offensive line coach at FSU, whose bye week happened to sync up with WVU’s. Trickett also joined friends for some dove and quail hunting—an outing on which the avid outdoorsman modified his shotgun stance in order to lessen kickback to the ailing right shoulder he’d been rehabbing all week.

“I tried to shoot with my left hand,” he said. “I shot about 100 times and maybe hit three birds.”

Equating those misfires with Trickett’s 41-percent completion rate is a punchline that comes too easily. But after many of his downfield flings wound up closer to Baylor defensive backs than West Virginia receivers, two factors became evident: Trickett needs to improve his deep-ball accuracy and he needs more time in the pocket to step into passes.

“With Baylor’s pressure, we were getting heated up pretty good … but a lot of times it was the throw,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “We ran good post routes; we just didn’t throw the ball very well. When we get those opportunities we’ve got to know where to put the ball.

“We threw, I think, 14 or 15 post routes and I think we competed three. Last year (against Baylor) we threw 16 and completed probably 13 or 14.”

The sprained throwing shoulder, numbed by painkillers, didn’t help matters as Trickett finished 9-of-28 with one interception and two more picks dropped. Further complicating the mission were the four sacks and seven additional hurries WVU’s offensive line surrendered—a performance that saved Trickett money even as it cost him some bruises.

“The deal is one sack or less, I’ll take them out to dinner,” Trickett said. “They didn’t get to go this week.”

Dana Holgorsen was noncommittal before Tuesday’s practice and Dawson was downright evasive afterward in discussing this week’s starting quarterback. But in light of the staff making sideline signaling changes to assist Trickett’s communication, the choice seems apparent.

Paul Millard, who started the first two games, and Ford Childress, who led the offense in Weeks 3 and 4, reportedly shared the practice reps last week while Trickett rested his shoulder.

“It’s close to 100 percent,” said Trickett, who described last week’s workout regimen as “a lot of ice, a lot of treatment, a lot of time in the training room.”

As for Tuesday’s practice, whereupon the Mountaineers actually began game preparations for Texas Tech, the split of reps remained pure supposition.

“Everybody got about the same,” Dawson said. “I’ll let the head coach talk about that.”

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  • cutty77

    WVU Team has almost 50% of the current players of the Team that had never played a snap. The Offense side has 80% of new players. Our problem is The O-Line. John Elway would get killed behind this line. When you can't run,and you can't throw,YOUR IN TROUBLE. Plain and Simple.

    • jimmy

      I wish I was able to go to the game this weekend. After reading all your commits I have to say im glad you guys joined the Big12.
      This conference needs more passionate football fans like yourselves. Im a Red Raider fan, and have been through thegood and the bad. You really do have a great HC in Dana. If you can be patient a little longer and let him teach all your new guys, you'll be back to your winning ways with some exciting football. Hope you don't mind my two cents.

      • Leonard

        Love comments from other fans. I agree, it will take a little time, time that some people think we do not need. Very few schools have enough quality players to loose 80% of their offense and still win 9 or 10 games and most of the ones who do are located further south and closer to the Beaches or in major cities with plenty of night life. All of this makes it harder to recruit to West Virginia than it does to a lot of other schools. Moving from what was actually a Mid-Major Conference, the Big East (I may catch some flake from that but it is the truth and everyone knows it) to a Major Conference like the BIG 12 is also turning out to be a lot harder than most people thought it would be and we still have "Growing Pains" to go through. We will get their though. There is not an FBS Team out their that has not had a few down years.
        Like I said, we love comments from other fans, especially positive ones. We hear a lot of crap from people who have never been here before and do not know anyone from here and so they have no idea how "GREAT, we the people who were born and raised here know, THIS PLACE IS".
        We have the same kind of "PRIDE" for "WEST VIRGINIA" that the people of the "GREAT" state of Texas have for the place they live in and call home.
        So "Thank You Very Much" for your comment.

  • Concerned

    Agreed. I believe the o line is the problem as well. This line isn't as good as last years when we were dominated on the line. And last year we had the qb to make the quick reads. Now without the qb it is problematic.

  • ron51

    big larry this may surprise you but I agree the o line is the biggest problem

    • Big Larry

      I have my moments...

  • tw eagle

    well, finally I've got an alternative to just watching the games on TV without the sound ... I got tired of listening to the bobble heads shill for players, awards, upcoming games, and umpteen other sporting events ... plug my phone into my Bluetooth enabled stereo and I got Tony Caridi calling the plays, and live, not a recap after the play is over ... thanks IMG.

  • richard

    maybe 2 weeks helped the o-line progress some. i sure hope so. open holes for the running game and passing game will get better.

  • Maxxajay

    After two weeks off everybody getting healed up. The question is did the passing game get healed up. I sure hope enough did to pull off the upset . After the TT game the Mountaineers have the lower half of the schedule left, Hopefully they can win out .

  • Jack

    The offensive line can't pass protect or open holes for the running backs. The O line should show improvement each week, but they are not. As big as they are, you would think they could push defenders off the line of scrimmage. It doesn't matter who you put at quarterback, receivers, or running back, you won't see improvement until the O line performs better. I agree with the short passing game. The quarterback needs to get rid of the ball quickly because he doesn't have the time to look deep.

  • JimJim

    I just hope that the b_e_e_r is cold, drink up fan.

  • richard

    peyton manning couldn't complete many passes with this offensive line. as bad as last years line was----this line is much worse. they need offensive line recruits bad. i don't think trickett is as bad as he has looked. the other 2 probably aren't as bad as they have looked. it's the o-line.

    • doug

      Richard you are dead on. I have been saying that since after the first game. Look back at the games and its clear. Our line get shoved back from the moment of the snap. Look at Baylors offensive line. Their QB could have had pizza delivered back there and the delivery guy wouldn't have been touched.

      • Steve

        He got rid of the ball so fast all he needed was the center

  • wvajoker

    The bookies have TT as a +7 favorite. They are not in business to lose money. It is going to be closer, I think.

  • Big Larry

    QUESTION: Did bye week heal passing game?

    ANSWER: No. The only thing that can heal the passing game at this point is a new offensive line who can protect the Quarterback.

    • doug

      My god Big Larry I agree with you. I think the O line is a big problem. They can't get the runningbacks the holes they need and they can't get the quarterback the time he needs to look at all the recievers and make a decision.

    • JamieNitro

      Big Larry,
      As much as I agree that the offensive line needs to improve (which stability among the positions/players would help), I think the biggest thing that would help the passing game is quick passes. Trickett doesn't help himself out by only throwing the deep ball, which takes more time to develp.

  • Cigarman

    Sorry Jane as much as I love the Mounties, TT 45- WVU 24

  • Bobby M

    WHAT?!? Entertainment enjoyment prediction site??! Sorry Friend but sounds like you've had one TOO many!

    The last TIME I checked - this was A media-journalst site with media informations AND commentary!

    AND what sport sections newspaper are you talking ABOUT anyway? You want t be brave and MAKE predicitons but you failing TO name the ACTUAL paper!??! Thats not much OF a prediction!

  • Randy

    One thing I will highlight that has been a common thread throughout this season is the yo yo affect of not having settled on a QB as of yet. That in and of itself is reflective of a team that is both unsettled almost halfway into the season and a team that will continue to struggle through the remainder of the season, in my opinion.

    • jason

      Only reason they havent settled on a qb in case u haven't watched any games is due too injury: if ford had not injured himself he would still be the starting qb right now

  • JaneM

    As this is a website for entertainment enjoyment making predictions I have mine as well... I am a true fan of WVU.... Don't have much to share with Fairweather fans as I see on this website, but there will be a big surprise for you Saturday afternoon... On Sunday morning the newspaper sports sections will read ''Mountaineers upset another top 25 in the big 12 Texas Red Raiders shocked''... By the way your best teams usually have a big senior class leadership we do not have that... That's why we are in a rebuilding year...

    • Rick S.

      Maxxajay did good research work last week. WVU actually has 13 seniors, but one of those (Dozie Ezemma) suffered a season-ending injury earlier this year. WVU had 12 seniors dress for the Oklahoma State game.

      Three of the seniors are offensive lineman (Eger, Feight, and Kindler).

      Typically, an FBS school has about 17 seniors on its roster. So we are only four short of typical. #1 Alabama has 16 seniors this year, #3 Clemson has 16 seniors, and #4 Ohio State has 16 seniors, and they are all doing okay. (#2 Oregon has 20 seniors)

      With only three fewer seniors than Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State, it appears that lack of seniors is no excuse.

      * All information on seniors in this post was obtained directly from the respective schools' web sites. National rankings are based on the AP poll.

      • eliotz

        There are Senior "starters", Senior "leaders" and Senior's that are just seeing their first playing time. Counting Senior heads has nothing to do with the fact that there is a lack of Senior Leadership with experience on this team. When the press refers to a team "losing their Seniors", they are referring to Senior starters with experience and leadership, not just a head count.

    • Art in Ohio

      I'm with you JaneM. Several of these people on this website could care less about West Virginia University football. Due to lack of numbers we do not have the senior leadership needed in this program. Now with that said, if we are in the same situation in two years--well--that's a different story. I hope for the big surprise on Saturday and witness a big upset. I will be at the game and look forward to everyone singing Country Roads after the game. I think we can all agree on one thing....we have to go with one QB for the last six games so to have continuity with this offense.

      • Maxxajay

        @ Art in Ohio day last week I looked at a website that according to ESPN ....WVU had 9 seniors on the roster..That is their report...I don't have any from anyone else that is not very many.