MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Today completes the eight-day video series providing a position-by-position examination of where the West Virginia football team stands after spring practice.

We scoured the two-deep and scrutinized the roster for any and all contributors as the Mountaineers turn their offseason attention to the 2014 opener against Alabama.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

THE LINEUP
Tue., April 15
 Defensive line: Can no-name group hold the front?
Wed., April 16
 Linebackers: Will they be nasty or negligible?
Thur., April 17
 Secondary: Trying to reverse two dreadful years of pass defense
Fri., April 18
 Special teams: Aiming to be really special in 2014?
Mon., April 21
 Offensive line: Are the Mountaineers vulnerable up front?
Tue., April 22
 Receivers: Can they get their swagger back?
Wed., April 23
 Running backs: Is this the best unit in the Big 12?
Thur., April 24
 Quarterbacks: Can any of the current QBs win eight games?

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Junior college transfer Skyler Howard endured a bumpy month of spring practice at West Virginia.

 

Projected starter: Without taking snap during spring practice, Clint Trickett (6-2, 175, redshirt senior) managed to extend his lead in the quarterback battle. That’s because none of the other contenders showed enough consistency or playmaking ability in his absence.

Trickett started seven games in 2013, a season hampered by a shoulder injury that required postseason surgery, a concussion suffered against Texas and communication problems that prevented Dana Holgorsen’s uptempo attack from gaining traction. He wound up completing only 52.8 percent of his passes—lowest among last season’s three QBs—some of which was attributed to Trickett attempting far more downfield throws. That flat touchdown-to-interception ratio (he had seven of each) needs to improve dramatically next fall.

Backups: Though the post-spring depth chart lists three quarterbacks in the No. 2 spot, Paul Millard (6-2, 230, senior) would be the guy behind Trickett. He showed some spark out the bullpen last season, throwing for 259 yards in three quarters of action during a 47-40 overtime loss to Texas. Millard’s lack of arm strength doesn’t create downfield concerns for secondaries and he’s an easy target for pass rushers, yet he’s clearly the best of the backups.

Skyler Howard (6-0, 200, sophomore) may evolve into a capable Division I quarterback but his spring struggles revealed the junior college transfer has miles to go. At least he exhibited better decision-making in the Gold-Blue game, spotting checkdown receivers as opposed to bogging down plays when the pocket collapsed.

Former walk-on Logan Moore (5-11, 198, redshirt senior) made enough plays to become a legitimate backup candidate, though anything beyond a wildcat-type usage in the fall would be shocking.

True freshman William Crest will likely become the most talented quarterback on the roster upon arriving this summer, but he’ll require time—perhaps an entire redshirt season—to develop.

Watch the video at the top of the page for player highlights and to learn how Allan Taylor and Justin Hoff grade the quarterbacks after spring practice.

bubble graphic

48

bubble graphic

Comments

  • 1olewvufan

    I do agree that Trickett will be the starter, but I truly believe that Logan Moore has a legitimate shot at being the No. 2 QB. Moore is more mobile and has a better arm than Millard. Howard is way too far behind the learning curve.

    I truly doubt if Howard will ever be the starter at WVU. Crest should be the starter in 2015.

  • Rick55

    Quotes from Wikipedia for your consideration:
    "Quarterback Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense....quarterback Cody Hodges was # 2 in the nation....quarterback Case Keenum led the nation in total offense as a sophomore ( and as a) junior....(Keenum) would go on to become the all- time leading passer in college football....quarterback Brandon Weeden became the first OSU quarterback ever to earn first- team all Big 12 honors. He was also a finalist for the Manning Award...."

    • BR

      Hey Rick - using "Wikipedia" as any kind of reliable reference tells me all I need to know about your post -

      I quit reading after that third word.

      Hope you were able to make your point, but I kinda doubt it.

      • Donald Powell

        You didn't stop reading after the third word and you know it ...you read every word he wrote

    • notorious

      That doesn't change the fact that we have bad QBs on this team.

      That also doesn't change the fact that the DH has yet to recruit a serviceable D1 QB.

      Millard, Childress, Rawlins, Howard, Trickett = Holgy on the hot seat.

      • 1olewvufan

        I have to agree!

        When Holg came to WVU he stated he would never bring in more than one QB a year. Holg in his first year brought in Millard (TX); in his second season he brought in Childress (TX); in his 3rd year he brought in Rawlins (PA) who left after 1 term and later he brought in Trickett in the same year. Then this season he brought in Howard and Crest. Holg had 4 offers out to QBs for the 2015 season.

        Holg's one QB a year backfired on him, and did little to help the football team. However, if he can get 3 QBs in 2015 and continues to do this, WVU may be good for QBs by 2016 at least until he reverts back.

        • TrueWVU

          Dana's a great offensive mind but looks to be inept at recruiting QB's, all the way down to the walk-ons. He has guys on this roster that didn't even start at their own high school.

  • Rick55

    VaultHunter
    You may be correct to some degree about RichRod's philosophy about fitting a round peg into a square hole but let's be real- without Pat White as QB we're not scoring all those points. And if you'll remember RichRod had no intention of starting PW. He only got in because the starter-a drop-back passer if there ever was one- got injured.

    • ole sasquatch

      It should be mentioned here that Rich Rod had an offensive line coach name of Trickett - yes, Clint's dad, a native W.V., X- Marine, and the offensive line Coach for Florida St. and we all know what they done last yr.
      Let's hope Crook can put last yr's. performance behind him and match what he was involved in at Stanford.
      It is probably more likely that the key to our season revolves more around the offensive line than anything else. NOT THE QB.
      That is why we can't let Crook off the Hook.
      He has the chance to be the hero of the season. Good Luck - Coach Crook

      • pat

        You sir, are correct. Seems to always come down to OL play.

  • jay zoom

    this team and dana has no Idea who the potential starting quarterback will be come fall practice. and the way things are going they won't know who the starting QB will be on opening day probably will be a game time decision 4-8 again providing they catch a break in the Maryland game and in my opinion from what I heard out of College Park they are going to need one. THANKS OLLIE

  • VaultHunter

    I guess the reason no big time programs offered Howard is showing. I really hoped this kid was jusr a diamond in the ruff we got lucky on finding but that was the Mountaineer pride making me delusional.

    I'm sorry I have been a fan of Dana since he arrived but the one thing that made Rich Rod such a great
    coach is the fact that prior to coming to WVU Clemson ran a Run and Shoot offense he quickly realized he didn't have a qb to run that system and molded his system to fit the players we had. He did not try and fit a square peg in a round hole like Dana. I f Dana dosnt realize that he could take the most athletic qb and run more of a zone read system with our stable of running backs he needs to go.

    Like my father who is a life long WVU fan told me the other day " Dana has been a great offensive coordinator but has had all the players he needed to run a air raid before coming to WVU if he isn't smart enough to figure out he needs to tweek his system to fit our players and show us something this year he can head back to where he came. from"

    My dad is an alum and golfing buddies with Ken Kendrick and they are both big time contributers to WVU there are plenty of people in their circle ready to pony up the dough to find us a coach that fits WVU.

    Good luck Dana I hope you get your gead out of the Red Bull can and realize your ego for wanting things done only how you have done them and not swallow your pride and change a few things you will be gone. I hope you can get it done I had a lot of faith in you when you came here but some coaches are not cut out to be head coaches.

    • Mister Man

      Your dad should have ponied up some money for an English tutor.

      • notorious

        I find it funny that the grammar police comes out in force with they can't refute posts that list DH's many shortcomings.

        • Tyrone

          when

    • RS

      I can tell you're not the biggest Dana fan, but I do like your points. People who can't adapt in life, business sports, etc., watch opportunities go by them.

  • P B and J

    Of course 8 wins....in 2 seasons.

  • Low Rider

    What? Win 8 games? How about 6 games. There is no way WVU will win 8 games with the schedule they have in 2014. 6 wins and a minor bowl is a realistic expectation. 8 wins in 2014 is a fantasy.

    • Donald Powell

      I hate to say this but i don't see them winning more then 4 games.

      • Redford

        I agree. Will be lucky to win more than four games this year. Go Eeers!

  • Rich

    This is the exact opposite of our RBs. Not a lot of talent here. I like Trickett, he's got moxie but he is tiny, has mediocre arm strength and is an injury waiting to happen behind our OL. Millard was brought to WVU to be a back-up QB and that's exactly how he plays when he gets in. Hopefully Skylar Howard can grasp the O fast and develop. I'd really like to see Crest redshirted because I don't expect anymore than 5-6 wins this year. Let Crest redshirt, learn the offense and get us to a major bowl in 2015 when the rest of our talent is ready

  • mad hatter

    being holgie's fourth yr, it's amazing how he has downgraded the qb position with lacking , and inept recruits. A once proud wvu team , with a history of darn good qb's has pretty much been out recruited by Marsha at the qb position.It's sad that we don't have a def. , an average off. and inept qb's and the main reason collectively they threw for what ever ydage. they did last yr. was because the opposing defenses went into prevent def/s and allowed us to throw the short pass.. Holgie and dawson have shown we have no idea on recruiting at the qb position.. hopefully <crest will be different.

  • don

    T rickett seems to be the consensus pick here, and that really shows our weakness at the quarterback position. I repeat what i've said previously; he is small, fragile, slow, and has a weak arm. The way he floats the ball downfield its no wonder his interception percentage is too high. Being able to go long doesn't mean much if the ball is in the air so long that the entire secondary can get to it.

  • notorious

    Howard will never play a meaningful down of football at WVU. He probably redshirts this year, along with Crest.

    If Crest can't beat out Howard in 2015, then this program is in deep trouble.

  • Aaron

    I think Trickett gets the call and if he can remain healthy, can lead WVU to those 8 wins that seem to be the benchmark. If he does get hurt, I think Mallard is the first replacement then when coaches get frustrated, they start plugging others in. I just hope that extended injuries do not lead to them throwing Crest to the wolves and burn his learning year.

    For me, the biggest unknown this year is if the coaches can call games based on the ability of their players instead of trying to do things the players aren't capable of, as they did much of last year.

    I'll stick with what I said yesterday. 6-6 and the New York bowl. I do agree with one statement I read on one of the stories and that is the season will be good enough that when combined with the next recruiting class, Luck will give Holgorsen another year.

    • ViennaGuy

      Aaron, I agree with your 6-6 prognostication. In my view, the team has to post at least a 6-6 record or it will be very tough for Oliver Luck to justify keeping Dana Holgorsen another year.

      I also think that Holgorsen knows that he's on the hot seat and must deliver this year. If he doesn't deliver and Luck fires him, he will not hold another D-1 head coaching position for a long time to come.

      • Aaron

        I agree, especially on Holgorsen becoming a head coach again. And in truth, if he fails this year, I would not give him a shot were I an AD. In 3 years, the offensive guru has failed in recruiting a high caliber quarterback and he's not shown much ability to adjust to a game.

        I recently watched the 1982 upset at Oklahoma. WV's offense was out manned by a superior defense but by moving the pocket to throw the ball and not only calling draws at the right time but using them in play action to freeze linebackers and slow the rush, they managed to pile up 400 yards and score 41 points in upsetting a preseason favorite national championship contender. It was truly a thing of beauty.

        If the offensive coaches call the right game by adjusting to what they have, it can be a very successful season. I'm just not so sure they have the moxy to adjust to the players instead of expecting the players to adjust to them.

  • ole sasquatch

    Ole Sasquatch said from the time the film came out on Skylar Howard that he would be the QB.
    Despite many opinions to the contrary the Ole one is sticking to what he saw as opposed to what the many are saying. Apparently during the Spring game Skylar competed pretty much equal with the other two. So much progress must have been made during the early Spring when he was generally judged poor. Therefore it is not a stretch for his improvement to continue in the summer.
    I do not trust the offensive line and he will extend the plays and give us a chance vs. Alabama and the like.
    The Ole one is also holding Crook responsible this yr. for the offensive line play. Motto: Don't let Crook off the Hook. Come on Mitchell, say it with me: " Don't let Crook off the Hook."
    Everybody now: "Don't let Crook off the Hook."

  • chad

    Just mind boggling how our QB situation has gotten this bad. I don't think it really matters which of these guys starts at QB.

  • Mike

    I say Clint or Skylar. Trickett's first start equalled a win vs OKST. For not knowing the offense very well, that's not too bad. Let's not forget he played hurt the rest of the season, which limited his production. Hopefully, Howard will start to pick it up. With his mobility, I think he might actually give us our best chance of having a winning season.

    • Mitch

      Skyler's best days (if he ever has any) will be somewhere down the road. Logan Moore is by far the 2nd best QB on the team right now.

      • Poochie

        Wow Mitch, a voice of reason in the wilderness! Does anybody think Logan Moore would even be considered, if he wasn't one of the best QBs at WVU right now? If he wasn't at least even with a Juco and senior that has started, would a walk-on, non scholly player be mentioned? No way. Would he have even gotten a shot if the players and coaches didn't think he deserved it? Mr Taylor has given the kid no love, for whatever reason. I will keep my opinion to myself on that.

        I'm happy that Coach Dawson and Coach Holgorsen have given the kid a chance, because they didn't have to. Let's see how he does if he gets the chance this fall.