MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia will reach the halfway point of its 15 spring practices this weekend without one key element in any successful football team - a starting quarterback.
That's actually no surprise, of course, given that Paul Millard and Ford Childress are essentially starting from scratch in their battle to replace Geno Smith.
But even offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson finds the closeness of the competition startling.
"They're even,'' Dawson said of the two. "There's never been a quarterback race more even than this one.''
And at least for now, it's apparently kind of ugly, too.
"They're doing the same things good, the same things bad. One day one of them might do things slightly better, but to be honest it's probably a lot more bad than good,'' Dawson said. "That's just the way it is. They're growing. They're learning.
"To expect them to be in a place where we can send them out there to perform on Saturday, we're not there yet. I think everybody understands that we're not there yet. We're dealing with guys that are inexperienced. But it's not the only position we're inexperienced at. Thank goodness for spring ball, right. Fifteen practices. We'll take it. We're not in any hurry to get on the field yet on Saturdays.''
Millard is a junior who has spent the past two seasons as Smith's only real backup, but never was called on to play in critical situations. Childress is a redshirt freshman who has been in the program now for a year.
"They still make inexperienced mistakes every day,'' Dawson said. "And the only way you correct that is with experience.''
In a way, Dawson would prefer that he had his quarterback right now. It certainly would make preparing one for the season easier.