MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Between now and the start of the football season, Paul Millard will take a step that these days seems almost a prerequisite to becoming a top-flight quarterback in the Big 12.
He's getting married.
OK, so maybe his May 12 nuptials back home in Texas aren't with an eye on football success. Nor is it a necessary step, given the success of unweds like Geno Smith.
Still, it's hard to argue with the success of those who recently have acted similarly:
Oklahoma's Landry Jones.
Kansas State's Collin Klein.
Baylor's Nick Florence.
And Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden.
Not bad company, huh? The top two passers in the Big 12 last year (Florence and Jones), the top two from the year before (Weeden and Florence) and a Heisman Trophy finalist (Klein). All played as married men.
Again, though, Millard isn't tying the knot with football in mind.
"When you know, you know,'' Millard said of his high school girlfriend, Laura, who is now in school at WVU. "It wasn't a hard decision.''
There is, of course, just one catch to this married-man-advantage where Millard is concerned. He hasn't even won the job as West Virginia's starter.
As the Mountaineers wrap up the first part of spring drills with today's practice - they will be excused for spring break and not return until April 2 - Millard, a junior, and Ford Childress, a redshirt freshman, are waging a two-man battle for the upper hand in the race to replace Smith, the school's all-time passing leader. Chavas Rawlins, a true freshman who enrolled in January, is also in the mix, but at least through the spring he's likely just to be getting his bearings straight.
So far, it's hard to imagine that either has separated himself in the closed-door practices. A lot of that has to do with circumstances, not ability.
"It's a process. You don't all of a sudden overnight get good at this offense,'' Millard said. "It takes constant repetition. And with new quarterbacks, new receivers, new offensive linemen stepping in, it's a process. We're just trying to get better.''
Millard, though, clearly has the advantage where knowledge and experience are concerned. Practically since the day he stepped onto campus two years ago and proved only that he could catch a shotgun snap, he's been Smith's backup. Coach Dana Holgorsen really had little choice given that in 2011 Millard was the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster and in 2012 he was joined only by the relatively raw Childress, who hadn't even become a full-time quarterback in high school until he was a junior.