Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports

Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat strips West Virginia’s Paul Millard during the Longhorns’ 47-40 win. Millard and Clint Trickett combined for six fumbles in the game.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The first priority for West Virginia’s Paul Millard, this week’s likely starting quarterback against Kansas, was learning from mistakes he made against Texas.

The junior fumbled four times in a 47-40 loss to the Longhorns, three of those on third-and-long sacks when Millard failed to make the necessary quick throws.

“When they’re bringing more guys than we can block, it’s my job to get the ball out of my hand or make somebody miss. So for me,” joked the notably immobile Millard, “I’m probably going to need to get the ball out of my hand.”

Texas registered six sacks total, one of which knocked out West Virginia starter Clint Trickett and resulted in another turnover. WVU’s quarterbacks combined to fumble six times, losing three.

After emphasizing ball security during practices and meetings, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was chafed by his quarterbacks’ sluggish reactions.

“The times we fumbled the ball were third-and-long, high-blitz percentage by them,” Dawson said. “We knew that going into the game and we hold on to the damn football. For me to be able to explain that to you, is outside my realm of knowledge.

“It’s something we harped on. It’s third-and-long, what are they going to do? They’re going to blitz. Well, should you hold the ball on blitz or get rid of it?”

With Trickett awaiting clearance from post-concussion symptoms, it’s likely Millard will garner his third start of the season during Saturday’s game in Lawrence. Better decision-making in the pocket will be crucial, though the Kansas pass rush has lacked the fervor MiIllard witnessed from Texas. Though six Big 12 games, the Jayhawks have a league-low seven sacks, compared to the Longhorns’ 24.

Millard’s bullpen appearance against UT had its moments: He led WVU to 31 points and threw for 259 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown to Mario Alford. But he also was picked off twice, missed two open receivers on possession routes and overthrew an uncovered Charles Sims on a seam pattern that could have become a 75-yard score with the middle of the field vacated.

No longer dwelling on those mistakes, Millard said he’s focused on playing better at Kansas: “If you ask yourself what-if questions you’ll make yourself sick all the time. We had a lot of chances to win that game and didn’t get it done.”

If Trickett can’t play Saturday, Millard’s backup becomes an interesting hypothetical. Walk-on Logan Moore, the former quarterback at Division II Fairmont State, would be an option after shifting to receiver during fall camp. Then there’s Ford Childress, who last played Sept. 21 at Maryland, but has begun throwing again after experiencing setbacks in his rehab from a torn pectoral.

“He did more quarterback drills (Tuesday) than he usually has done (since the injury). He’s slowly getting involved,” Dawson said. “I don’t know what that means at this point, other than he’s taking a few reps.”

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  • Mountain man

    Wow,we all know Paul is not the most mobile of QB's. I think he had a go ahead touchdown pass dropped at Oklahoma & another wideout fumbled after a catch on another drive or we would have won the game. I'm not sayin Pail is a H-Trophy candidate, but he is just a young guy doing the best he can. Take the Georgia State game out of the mix & we haven't put more than 30 on the board in a meaningful game. 31 points off the bench after sitting most of the season not bad & he gave us a chance to win. Lets get behind this young man & support him this week. We need this win. Lets go Mountaineers!!!

  • Mentalvoyeur

    I love the attitude on here that we really don't want to bother ourselves or come down from our ivory towers to attend a third tier bowl, but if it means extra practice time then we will make that sacrifice.

  • Mister Man

    Millard should have been the starting QB from the get go. He would be more proficient if he had started more games. We may have won a couple that we lost.

  • Doug

    Neither Millard or Trickett is any good but Millard looked better than Trickett. Please just start Millard the next two games. William Crest can't get here fast enough!

  • pghmountaineer

    WV Bud. I agree. Dana and Ollie have it under control. Within the next 3 to 5 years we'll be consistently wining 7 to 9 games a year.

    Let's GOOOOOO Mountaineers!

  • pghmountaineer

    Thanks Pru. My subscription ran out though.

  • Jon

    Good stuff

  • WV Bud

    Sure don"t look forward to The Pinstripe Bowl and losing it probably also. But the extra practices would sure not hurt anything. WVU will have a team next year and on and on unless the world ends.We can and will get better.Dana will help this team improve or he will be replaced,its as simple as that.No one likes to lose,including him.Once you get to the bottom of the barrel the only way to go is up.Don"t give up fans. It will get better.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Dana doesn't like to lose? He fooled me!


    Nice read, I am with coach Dawson on the fact that he needs to tell you to be ready for a biltz on third and long from the Texas longhorns....Really... Really..... Did you watch any film / video of Texas or any NFL games in your life before you became a QB at WVU? (Dawson should know his players better...) some players you need to tell them not to catch a punt inside the five yard-line....some players need to be coached up on the game of football...I guess even guys that have been at WVU for three years playing football...Who was leader the QB's in the off season before Clint Trickett got here... Ford & Millard sound like good ole knuckle heads to me, they have a lot of growing to do for me to believe in them. We are missing both coaches QB coach that went to Texas A&M and our O-line coach that went to Oklahoma.... both area's really has hurt this team this year ... Let's Gooooooooooooo! Mountaineeeeeeeeeers!!!!!!

    (pull together and get ready for Kansas who is looking for there first win in the Big 12 , who wants this game more us or them?)

    ** Hint they are going to try and pressure you in the pocket Paul because you haven't shown you can handle it very well ...I'm just saying **

  • chad

    “It’s something we harped on. It’s third-and-long, what are they going to do? They’re going to blitz. Well, should you hold the ball on blitz or get rid of it?”

    Hey coach maybe you should just run a draw and punt. Especially when you have the lead and your defense is playing well as was the case in the first half....

  • pghmountaineer

    Pruny, Thanks form the award. Is my check in the mail? :)

    • Pruntytown

      It should be there this afternoon along with your Men's Health Magazine. I know, I know, you just like it for the articles.

  • cummjl

    Its a sad day to be big Larry wherever you are.

  • Artie Smithers

    Maybe it's just the "guy who never got to see the field even in Junior High" in me.....but I think it would be kinda cool to see Logan Moore get some playing time. You know EVERYONE has told him "you'll never play a down at WVU". Be neat to see him get to realize a dream. (And what happens if he comes in and just tears it up? How funny would that be?)

  • pghmountaineer

    Not sure if you all know this, but talk in the inner circles say Luck is going to give Dana and the assistants long term extensions to keep them locked up so they don't bug out once they turn this thing around.
    Things are lookin up!

    • Pruntytown

      This years BassMaster's champion is pghmountaineer. Troll.

    • Billy

      Sounds like another stupid move. That is the problem now, too high of a buyout to payto part company with him. Another potential questionable move by the over glorified luck

      • JimJim

        The Dude doesn't have to take the extension, does he??? He will want to move on, please!

  • pghmountaineer

    Big Larry. We're on the verge. I think Mallard needs two more games under his belt to get the offense down and then we'll be rollin.

    Let's GOOOOOOOOOO Mountaineers!