MORGANTOWN - When Paul Millard and Ford Childress finished spring practice in late April, their battle for West Virginia's starting quarterback job was pretty much neat and tidy. The only other scholarship quarterback on the roster, freshman Chavas Rawlins, was obviously not a factor after being wholly ignored during the spring game.
Less than a month later, neither had so much as taken a snap or thrown a pass, but the competition was dramatically different. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett had been wooed back to his hometown after deciding to transfer from Florida State. Rawlins, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, packed up and left.
If the presence of Trickett in the mix deflated either of the holdovers, however, they won't admit it. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Trickett has jumped into the mix on seemingly even terms right from the start and, given the lukewarm performances of Millard and Childress during the spring, might even have the upper hand.
He's certainly getting a closer look from the coaches as practice begins, if for no other reason than they want to see what he can do.
Again, though, if that bothers the other two they hide it well.
"Honestly, it really doesn't change a whole lot for me,'' Millard said. "I'm a competitive guy. I love competition. So I was just excited for the opportunity. When you bring another guy in, the competition just rises even more.''
Trickett, though, isn't the only infusion of veteran talent on West Virginia's offense. West Virginia's running backs face a similar situation with the arrival of Houston transfer Charles Sims.
"I honestly don't care,'' Buie said. "I'm me, regardless. Other players shouldn't change how you feel about your game.''
There are obvious differences between adding a quarterback and adding a running back, of course. The addition of Sims, while it might take some playing time away from other backs, simply adds depth to what was already one of the deepest positions on the team. Buie, Dustin Garrison and junior college transfer Dreamius Smith aren't likely to sit because of Sims.
At quarterback, though, only one is likely to play. So from the moment Trickett arrived in May and began working out in the weight room and with the receivers, it dramatically raised the competition level.
"It just makes you try to work harder in the weight room and work harder during 7-on-7s,'' Childress said of the summer months with fresh competition at the position. "You try to win that every day.''
All three of the quarterbacks have their pluses. In fact, Childress probably cut to the heart of their differences quite succinctly.
"Clint is probably the most athletic of all of us and has the most game experience,'' Childress said. "And then Paul has been in the offense the longest and kind of knows what's going on.''