CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Twice quarterback Skyler Howard drifted into and out of the pocket, scanning for downfield receivers, and failing to spot the dump-down man open in the flat.

The same dump-down receiver standing directly in front of coach Dana Holgorsen.

Finally, Holgorsen threw up his hands in exasperation, before pointing for Paul Millard to replace Howard mid-drive.

On the heels of another frustrating scrimmage Saturday, the junior college transfer clearly remains in developmental mode. As his inability to spot the uncovered check-down receiver showed, Howard needs time to grow comfortable with his options.

Holgorsen wasn’t available to reflect on Howard’s struggles because the coach had met with the media pre-scrimmage. But offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson admitted the newcomer wasn’t making decisions quickly enough.

“There were a couple times down here with Skyler, where he needed to put the ball in play,” Dawson said. “Taking a sack when somebody blitzes and comes wide-open free is one thing. But sitting back there holding the ball for 10 seconds and taking a sack? I mean, come on—get rid of the damn ball.”

Howard also was hemmed up for a safety when the situational scrimmage called for the offense to start against its own goal line.

“I thought we got caught with the ball a couple times—Skyler and Paul both,” Dawson said. “You’ve got to have a clock in your head.”

The day wasn’t a total bust for Howard, who bought time for one 20-yard completion to Cody Clay.

Logan Moore found Devonte Mathis along the left sideline for a 31-yard touchdown on third-and-16.

Redshirt freshman Elijah Wellman, the Mountaineers’ 235-pound H-back, lined up in the slot and easily beat man coverage on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Millard.

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  • FNP

    Its all about bodies so they can run the offense in the offseason. Trickett will start agains Bama and Millard will back him up. Crest will redshirt and by his sophomore year he'll be the starter. Millard does know the playbook but his arm strength is weak when trying to throw to the sidelines. At this point Trickett gives you the best chance to win some games. If the running game is as good as advertised then they will be able to keep their D off the field and thats something we didnt do last year.

  • Ben

    Get Crest in, give him the starting job, and don't look back....Do not make the mistake you did last season by playing musical QBs. At least that would be my wish for this season. I'd rather go in a completely different direction and forget that 2013 ever happened. I'd be fine with another 4-8 season with a freshman at the helm...the same result as last season with Millard or Trickett would be a huge mess.... Holgorsen doesn't have the patience of the Mountaineer faithful or the front office to go out and do that again.


    It's going to take time and these boys need to work together in the off-season to get to know one another so we can execute the offense.

    three seconds and the ball needs to be gone from his hands, out to a receiver and depending on the receiver, how high or low ;and down and distance where the ball is going to be as well.

    There will be times where this kids feet can by time for us /him time and allow our WR to get open deep.... But he needs to learn how to get rid of the ball fast and on time; & on target first and foremost.

    I wish Paul would learn how to put some muster on his balls / heat that is ; I feel the soft passes he throws makes it harder on our wide-outs judging the velocity of the ball to catch (from QB to QB)it on a consistency biases. (Paul gets the ball at fast but with zero velocity to the receiver)

    Let's GOOOOOOOOO!!Mountaineeeeeeeeer!!!!

  • DirkaDirka Holgorsen

    I'm not surprised he was horrible. Dawson sucks he recruited him & didn't address what the team needed this kid is years away from any playing time.
    Next time just go to Motown High School Shannon

    • squad

      I cant see for the life of me why you haven't gotten the call to come save the day...

    • Get Real

      Howard is just a body for practice, guys. Without QBs to drill and scrimmage the WRS can't get their work in. It's not as if we had anyone better to give a scholarship or we would have done it. He helps us out in practice this year when we are shorthanded and then he can transfer down to a level where he might get a chance to play. That's a win for us unless we carry him as a scrub for 3 years which isn't likely.

      Some might say we are using him if we convinced him that he had a chance to actually play for us, but unless he's in la la land mentally, he had to know that when he had to walk on at Stephen Austin and still couldn't get a single offer from another major conference school after a year in junior college that he had no real shot of starting for us.

      Skyler probably thinks that since Holgorsen has (maybe soon to be had but for now he's still given credit) a good rep for developing QBs, a year of practice with us will make him better at a smaller school when he ends up at one than if he just went straight to one out of the junior leagues.

  • Real WVU Fan

    I would absolutely love to see any of you "experts" get out there and do any of wut these QBs need to do...Howard is new to all of this yet you guys expect him to be clicking on all cylinders and doing everything perfectly...shut the hell up and let it play sure if they go undefeated and win a national championship you all will say that you knew it would happen...sounds to me like some of ya'll need to get a life instead of bashing a bunch of kids...

    • Rick

      I don't see anyone claiming they should be the QB. Most people fully understand they do not possess the physical ability to play major college football.

      Your logical fallacy (and that of many others) is the absurd notion that only people who do have the ability can recognize the lack of it in others.

      It's really not very hard to look at an undersized kid with a weak and inaccurate arm who is totally outclassed by a walk-on from Fairmont and conclude he's not good enough. People keep talking about how he is more mobile than Millard (true, but so are almost all players) but fail to mention that he simply cannot throw even the simplest pass on the run. Taking 3 seconds longer to get sacked or throw a terrible pass does not make an offense better.

  • RPP

    Shannon Dawson has to go before the offense improves. We lost the best offensive coach to Texas A&M two years ago. Jake Spavital. Just ask Johnny Manziel.

  • WV Grad

    More Moore!

  • don

    For goodness sake pick a guarterback & go with him. My choice would be Millard. At least he knows the playbook, has some experience, and has a strong arm. T rickett is a great kid but fragile, not the best arm by a long shot, and seems to have a real problem learning the playbook. Just don't think he is big 12 caliber.

    • Joe

      You are correct. In hindsight, sticking with Millard through the '13 season would have been the best bet. He took a lot of knocks for his '13 performance, but vs Texas, he was all we had left, and coming off of the bench, he stepped up in that game and gave a really good performance, despite the blame fingers being pointed at him. The defense lost that game.

      • ole sasquatch

        It was the Texas game that exposed one of his few weaknesses and it was big. He has the agility of a 300 lb lineman. His feet are extremely slow and grades out as extra poor in averting the rush. Given that if the offense performs in perfect step - he is a fit. We just can not count on that. There must be options or the season is in jeopardy early on.

    • Grant

      Why should they pick one in Spring ball?

  • Charles

    I'm glad the mountaineer fanbase has soooo many qb coaches in it. It's amazing. I'm glad these coaches can determine qb's 10 practices into their career. I'm glad you guys wasn't the qb coach during the pat white era. Because he looked like garbage every spring!!!!! Period. This is a kid learning this style for the first time ever. Just like pat trying to learn how to run a college passing game. This is practice. Where a kid is supposed to learn. Here's what a qb coach can tell you. He has one of the quickest deliveries I've ever seen. He can make all the throws. In warm ups throwing back shoulder throws 30 yards on a rope. Very mobile. Can throw very well on the run. So half of his game is taken away in the confines of a non contact rule. Was playing to not make mistakes instead of playing ball yesterday. About what you expect for a first year player in his 10th practice!!!!

    • Call S

      You have either not seen a single practice, have no clue about football or lying for some bizarre reason. Howard has a VERY weak arm and is VERY inaccurate to boot-- and that's during drills with no defense. His delivery is so slow that when we go semi-live he can't even get a pass off half the time and the coaches blow the play dead because sacking isn't allowed.

      I know you are making your story up because the drills in Morgantown included having the QBs throw approximately 15-20 yards in to a large net off a bootleg roll-out. Millard hit the net every time with no problem and so did Logan Moore. Howard missed the entire net half the time rolling to his left and EVERY SINGLE FREAKING time rolling to his right. This was a net about 8 foot square and he couldn't hit it when there was NO DEFENSE and no reading defenses or going through progressions or anything other than making a simple throw involved. He can't do it! EVERYONE there was shocked at how incredibly bad he looked. I seriously doubt any of our coaches ever saw him play live before offering him.

      WVU has never in my lifetime played a QB anywhere near as feeble as he is.

      If he was 15 year old High school sophomore you might argue with a straight face that he needs time to develop. He's a college sophomore though and there is NO CHANCE he plays for us unless raging virus fells every other QB on the roster.

    • ole sasquatch

      White is a good example. He had a terrible summer season with the Washington Redskins last yr. Then during the preseason games he did well. He guided them to an undefeated preseason and then never got to enter a real game. But the key to White was his legs. The key to Skyler is his feet. Give him some time.

  • Baldeagle

    Once and for all, let's face the music….there is no QB to be found and 4-8 sounds like a good year. How Dawson and Holgersen got caught with their pants down on this is beyond belief.
    I hope the defense is in really great shape because they will be on the field for a very long time.

  • jay zoom

    posters -- you think is was bad yesterday -- wait until December. like I said before 4-8 at best nothing really impressed a friend of mine who was there as well. said it was all show nothing more. THANKS OLLIE

  • Brian

    Howard only been at WVU for two months? Give times for him to grow. He could be ready by summer.

  • JimmyJoeBobRoy Jr.

    I did notice the accuracy drills and he was average at best...but... Millard hit the square in the net 90% of the time (very accurate). but the agility drills showed Millard's true weakness-- The kid can't move at all. His footwork was embarrassing. Howard can dance but he is just not a Div 1 QB. To short, he can't see over his linemen.

  • pghmontaineer

    Wvu fan, I;m afraid you may be right. Our only hope is that Trickett comes around. Without him it could be a long year.

  • Wvu fan

    Skylar was horrible. I was stunned at how awful he was. He couldn't hit anything during the accuracy drills unless he slowed way down and aimed.

    He literally looked like a deer in headlights during scrimmage and didn't have a clue what to do with the ball. The last series he was in after another incomplete pass, it looked like Dana gave up on him and just worked on the running game.

    The QB position is in dire straits again. Sorry for the criticism, but it's going to be a long year.

    • Mohigan #22

      Several here got mad when I said this last week but NO ONE could watch Howard practice and think he belongs at this level. He is much worse than Logan Moore physically as well as mentally. Howard would not start for many DII teams. I played at that level and most QBs were better and many a lot better.

      No ill will toward the kid
      By all accounts he is working his butt off. Unfortunately in the real world that is not enough to overcome a HUGE gap in talent level.