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Trickett looking more like starting QB

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- It's looking more and more like Clint Trickett could be West Virginia's quarterback to start the season.

At least that's the appearance judging by the only two opportunities the media has had to see the Mountaineers actually run plays.

For the second time this week - and only the second time during WVU's two weeks of preseason camp - West Virginia scrimmaged briefly during the open part of practice Thursday. And for the second time, Trickett took the field with the No. 1 offense.

Unlike the first time, however, on Thursday Trickett took every snap with the starters, while Paul Millard and Ford Childress split the time with the No. 2 offense. When the team went through the same drill on Monday, Childress also worked with the first team.

There is a chance, of course, that Trickett's appearance with the No. 1 offense was merely coincidental both days. Coach Dana Holgorsen has maintained all along that all three quarterbacks would rotate the first-team reps, and they do so in a three-day rotation. The two brief scrimmages that were open to the media were three days apart.

Still, with just two days remaining before camp breaks and classes begin, it seems logical that the leader in the competition would be getting more reps with the first team. And in the two open sessions this week, Trickett has clearly gotten that, taking the field first both times.

Holgorsen, though, still maintains that he hasn't made a decision. Then again, he's on record saying that even when he does, he might not divulge it.

"We're close. We're getting close to figuring that out,'' Holgorsen said earlier in the day. "To be fair to all of them, we've got three more days to let them play.

"I've said it since the beginning of camp, if you have a bad day you need get prepared to come out and have a good day. I anticipate by the end of practice on Saturday being 100 percent sure of the direction we're going to go.''

The public buzz, of course, surrounds Trickett, not only because he's the newcomer in the race, but because the Florida State transfer is the only one of the three who has been through real pressure during a game. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior made two starts at Florida State and was forced into action in several other critical spots.

Childress, a redshirt freshman, has never played in a college game and Millard, a junior, has played really only one play in two years when he wasn't replacing Geno Smith with a game already decided. He played a snap when Smith had to come out of a game because his helmet came off last season at Oklahoma State and threw a fourth-down touchdown pass.

But Holgorsen maintains he isn't discounting the chances of either.

"I think Paul and Ford have elevated their game,'' Holgorsen said, again before Thursday's scrimmage. "Is that because there's another body or because they've had all spring and all summer and 17 days of camp to take reps? I think they've gotten better, which isn't making our job any easier.''

As for the rest of the No. 1 offense during Thursday's brief scrimmage, West Virginia lined up in a two-back set with both Houston transfer Charles Sims and junior college transfer Dreamius Smith in the backfield. The wide receivers were sophomore K.J. Myers and junior college transfer Ronald Carswell, while junior college transfer Mario Alford was in the slot.

That's a group of six skill position players in which only Myers was even on the team last season. Only Myers and Smith were on the roster as recently as spring practice.

Kevin White, another junior college transfer who is thought to be the standout in the group, sat out the scrimmage in a green medical jersey.

When the first-team offense returned to the field a second time, freshman Daikiel Shorts was in as a slot receiver in a four-man wide receiver set, having been moved to the position just that day from outside receiver. Freshman Wendell Smallwood was the lone back in that formation.

The line once again was Quinton Spain and Curtis Feigt at tackles, Marquis Lucas and Mark Glowinski at guards and Tyler Orlosky at center.

The No. 1 defense had Travis Bell and Ishmael Banks at cornerback and veterans Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph at safety. The linebackers were Isaiah Bruce, Jared Barber, Doug Rigg and Brandon Golson. The front consisted of Will Clarke, Shaq Rowell and Eric Kinsey.

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

 


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