MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews concludes our countdown of the Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for 2014. Today the series wraps up with a surgically repaired quarterback trying to win big in his final college season:

Position: Quarterback
Class: Senior
Measurables: 6-2, 175

Though Trickett didn’t throw a pass during spring drills, his presence was thunderous. Junior college newcomer Skyler Howard looked discombobulated and rising senior Paul Millard looked best suited for the No. 2 role. That essentially meant the starting job and WVU’s hopes for a bounce-back season remains in the hands of Trickett, who is recovering from labrum surgery. Dana Holgorsen made it official in late June, with an oddly timed announcement that Trickett was his starter.

Trickett’s 2013 stats were uninspiring—a 57 percent completion rate, seven touchdowns countered by seven interceptions—but his attempt to play through shoulder pain and a concussion scare revealed plenty of leadership potential. He has the mobility to extend plays, though blitzers often reached him unimpeded last season. There’s no certainty his line will be improved this fall as it breaks in two new tackles.

Not only would keeping Trickett healthy afford WVU the pass-game continuity that was missing last year, it also would carry down-the-line benefits of allowing top recruit William Crest to learn at a more digestible pace.

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  • WVU1

    What? No Logan Moore? How can you guys be missing him in all of the comments about Trickett, Millard, Howard, and Crest?

    Right, he's not on the depth chart.

  • Doc78

    First let me say that I am a loyal Mounteeer. I like Holgorsen But, I've yet to see his touted offensive prowess. If it is so dynamic, why can't he adapt it to the players, ie talent, he has to work with. No coach gets exactly the team he wants, but the characteristic that separates the perennial top teams from the also ran's is the ability to adjust his offense to the players he has. If Holgorsen is the offensive guru that is his reputation he's yet to demonstrate. I don't expect us to due much better this yr than last. This is due partly to the strength of schedule but the lack of offensive imagination will yield the same or a little better W vs L and will result in another also ran season.

  • Mountaineer Uncle

    I am amazed that we are still looking to Trickett for the answer. He is a ragdoll. One hit and he will be right back on the sideline. Oh wait, that's not right. He will keep playing even when he is injured because he is tough. Really? Tough is taking a hit and being able keep playing at 100%. Heck, I'll even take 80 or 90%, but not 40. At least it didn't phase Millard when he got hit. I just don't get it. If you go back and watch the tapes you will clearly see that Millard is the better choice. He is more accurate and runs the offense a whole lot better. Oh well, no one will listen anyway. Go Mountaineeeeerrrsss!!!!!

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    In Jan of 2014 Saban hired Kiffin as offensive coordinator. In February of 2014 Saban had a 5 star QB named Rick Town de commit. In March of 2014 Saban lost at an attempt to slow down the offense , otherwise known as the" 10 second rule" . In April of 2014 Fla State transfer Coker arrived on campus to play QB ( yes when we play Alabama it will be a battle of X Fla State QB). We see a lot of moving parts - especially when you consider how dominate Alabama has been in college football recently . What is going on ? Consider this - Alabama hasn't had a 1st round QB drafted in the NFL since 1976 ( Todd ) . In fact since 1977 , in over 8000 NFL games , Alabama QB's have started in only 21 games ! That's incredible when you consider we are talking about one of the most dominate college football programs ever . Think about what I said , 8000 NFL games since 77 , and only 21 times the starting QB was from Alabama . By comparison Wvu has had 203 starts . Its been a long time since Bart Starr , Joe Willy and Ken Stabler were NFL stars , but that's how long Alabama had a star Qb in the NFL. So Saban finally gave in , he hired Kiffen so he can attract a pro style qb and juice up his offense . Saban finally realized if he didn't do something soon Alabama would fall behind the rest of college football and won't be able to compete . I'm surprised it took this long .

  • any major dude

    Hop'sHip: Sweet Steely Dan reference. Liked the (re)arrangement. ; )

  • Ben Dover

    Trickett will be relevant until sometime in the 2nd quarter of the Alabama game... hope we have a good back-up...

  • TruthTeller

    The SEC is highly over rated. They are all about defense. They put all the best athletes on defense.
    They play sleeper ball on offense. YAWN!!! With the exception of the two ex-Big 12 teams. SEC offense is mostly running. They don't pass that much. If Oklahoma and Texas A & M can challenge Alabama so can WVU. All you fair weather pessimist can just go jump on the Marshall band wagon and enjoy Division II football.

    • Jim

      A team that wins that many National championships doesn't deserve to be called "over-rated". So what if they center on works! If they are tossing your offensive line around like little dolls and sacking your quarterback or throwing your running backs to the ground, behind the line, a top-tier offense isn't really needed. It works! What make Bama really great is depth. A third string OT is just as talented as the starting OT.
      But Bama's Achilles heel is fielding big ...really big players who are not conditioned physically to keep up, play for play with up tempo offenses, like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and (if running NORMALLY) West Virginia. If our WVU line can win enough battles against Bama's D line to let Trickett, or whoever is under center enough time to pick the LBs and secondary apart, WVU can win big. Bama will reach the QB. It's what they do. We just need to recognize that and eat the ball instead of turning it over for a pick 6. Our guys can go head to head with any team, at any time. They just need to FINISH what they started. Go 'EERs

  • daddyo

    hopefully we can put the last three yrs behind us, and fans turn out and support the team and wvu,,, let's go eers

  • mad hatter

    waiting for the D to show us some improvement,,, will coach bradley be enough to fill in the gaps and improve this horrible defense.
    I don't know,, let's hope,

    we need great recruiting for three yrs...

  • Troll

    Don't understand all post here, the article states the qb is the number 1 most pivotal player on the team and as with every other team in the country snuff thru NFL that is true. That's all that needs to be said. These predictions, dislike for the qb and coaches have nothing to do with that position being the most pivotal. 99% on here to grow up or move on, tired of the same old banter regardless of the story. Wish all well in Morgantown and hope we have a good season.

  • John

    Love everyone's enthusiasm for the Alabama game. Would like to join the bandwagon but don't see it coming when we play them on Aug. 30.

    Alabama has lost 2 in a row and I doubt Saban is going to have that streak increased to 3. The last time Alabama lost their last SEC game and then a bowl game was 2008 when they lost the SEC championship game and then the Sugar Bowl to Utah. In 2009, they went 14-0; beat VT in the Kickoff Classic; and won the National Championship.

    WVU may hang in there for a while but in the end, it will be too much for them to handle. Bama wins by 14-21 points.

    Prediction for WVU's season: 4-8. Unless the D can stop somebody which they haven't in 2 years, the QB play from Trickett or any other QB, will not be enough to potentially outscore people. Seat will get really hot for Holgs but I think Ollie will give him one more year.

    I really hope that I am wrong and WVU finds its way to a bowl game but I believe they only beat Towson, Kansas, TCU and either KSU or ISU.

    • Tyrone

      And you were the same one saying we would lose big in the Sugar and Fiesta Bowls i bet .. Just another fair weather fan . Probably even doubted the old gold and blue in the Orange Bowl. you need to go root for Marshall ..

      • John

        Hey Tyrone, you are so wrong with your post it would be funny if it weren't so sad. You know nothing about me nor I about you but your statements are completely false. WVU grad here. Don't cheer for Marshall and don't like them at all. I thought WVU would beat UGA; OU and Clemson just because of the underrated/underappreciated talent we had on those teams. This team is different and so is Alabama. Get over yourself and when you post something have some facts to back it up.

        • Tyrone

          I have been a mountaineer fan probably longer then you have been alive.. This team here has talent lots of it . And all you have to say is a bunch of negative stuff.. a person with no hope is all you are All i read in your post was a bunch of stuff i have heard on here over and over again ..

          • Tyrone

            Oh yea when you have some real news that is relevant and not what we have heard over and over form all the negative fans get back to me . Oh and by the way when i was kid i sold coca cola at the old stadium . and you didn't have any facts in your story it was stuff that we have heard from all the negative fans .

          • John

            Congrads on your longevity. Another unfounded statement on your part as you have no idea how old I am compared to you. However, I am a realist and past performance is the one of best predictors of the future. You can shoot the messenger all you want but you haven't said one thing about how WVU will do or why.

            WVU has talent on offense but not as good as those teams that beat UGA, OU and Clemson and two of those wins were won without the current HC. Defense has not proven it can stop people and UNTIL (I repeat until) they can, W's will be hard to come by. Truth hurts. I am hoping for the best and that my prediction is way off but to not think they will struggle vs. Bama and the majority of the Big 12 is foolish and you head is in the sand.

  • WVian

    Anything less than 9-3 is unacceptable. Alabama will be down and we will edge out a close one bc they will underestimate us. All you "fans" predicting anything less are pathetic. Don't forget how we blasted Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma.

  • Bulldawg

    If the O line can protect and if they give CT time, we can score if the receivers catch the ball and if the opponents D don't tackle us. I like our chances if we run the ball cuz if the backs break thru the line and if they cause defenders to miss tackles, we can score if they can out run the D. We will beat Alabama if we score more points than them before the clock runs out. That said, if we can get dem bama boys a lookin at our cheerleaders, we may be able to win on looks alone.

    Just sayin

    • wv_hawk

      ... And if worms carried machine guns, birds wouldn't mess with 'em...

      Just sayin'...

    • Beaver Sniffer yourself on Seinfeld...good stuff. Go eers!

  • Maury Franklin

    It's going to be a long season.

  • any major dude

    Everybody brings up good points here. I share your concern, Aaron, about the Mummy/ Leach/ Holgorsen system and how flexible it really is; the jury is still out.

    In regard to defense, I'm convinced that Horgorsen knows squat about defense except for how to beat it. But the hiring of Tony Gibson and the other coaches on the D-side is a plus. These are good, experienced coaches, and if you don't know what you're doing, you've gotta have guys that do.

    Offensively, the System relies heavily on the downfield pass. Yes the running game is an important counterbalance, and the speedy smaller slot receivers are somewhat useful, but the way I see it if you can't chuck it, f--- it. This in turn depends on a big, pass-blocking line. It's no coincidence that in Holgorsen's offenses in the Big 12, the passing game worked well and the QBs never got injured, because he had these pass blockers. So if he does not, can he adjust and use more pull blocking to open up the running game? You still need long passes to loosen the D, but is he capable of running the System with the players that he has?

    • Aaron

      Rich Rod came to WVU with much the same reputation as Holgorsen and in his first year, he tried passing with Brad Lewis but that didn't work out. Once Rasheed Marshall was inserted into the QB position and WVU started running the ball, they started winning and the rest is history. I don't see why this offense cannot utilize the running game effectively, particularly if Clint Trickett can hit on a high percentage of passes.