MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- It's been a little over a year now since Ford Childress arrived on campus at West Virginia and immediately jumped into his college football career.
He arrived from Houston as an early enrollee last January, went through winter conditioning and then hit the field for his first spring practice.
He certainly looked the part. At a strapping 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds, he stood out even among West Virginia's quarterbacks at the time, Geno Smith and Paul Millard.
And then practice began.
"I was watching tape the other day from last spring. Man, it was ugly,'' Childress said. "I can't even [point out the worst part]. The whole thing was just ugly.''
Well, to a certain extent, things are still a bit ugly for Childress. For Millard, too. As the two battle this spring for the right to succeed Smith as West Virginia's quarterback, that word still finds its way into coach Dana Holgorsen's vocabulary every now and then.
But have no doubt, progress has been made. And from last spring to this, the progress has been dramatic.
"This spring I actually know what's going on - what to do, what reads to make,'' Childress said. "Last spring it was kind of all hurried and I was just thrown into the fire.
"I watched that tape from last spring and it's just completely different. The way I play, the speed of my game, all of that is just completely different.''
When considering Childress and his progress, of course, it's probably prudent to recall that he isn't exactly a quarterback lifer. Yes, he grew up playing the position, but when he entered high school he was moved to tight end because there was a quarterback already entrenched in the position. He didn't move back until he was a junior, so he had just two years of real experience when he arrived in Morgantown.
In other words, he wasn't only getting used to playing college football, but was also still getting used to being a quarterback.
"Yeah, it's difficult,'' Childress said. "It's always been difficult because [as a quarterback] you have pressure and you're expected to do everything right. But Geno made it look a lot easier than it really is. He was pretty good.''