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Who’s at QB for WVU?

MORGANTOWN - If Dana Holgorsen had his druthers, there seems no question he would start Clint Trickett at quarterback Saturday night when West Virginia faces Baylor.

That decision might be out of his hands, though.

Trickett, who helped provide the Mountaineers with their first real offensive spark of the season in Saturday's 30-21 upset of Oklahoma State, goes into practice this week with an injured shoulder suffered late in that game.

Ford Childress, the redshirt freshman that Trickett replaced, is still battling the injured pectoral muscle he suffered a week earlier at Maryland.

And so when the Mountaineers gathered for their usual light Sunday practice, the only healthy quarterback was Paul Millard, the starter for the first two games of the season who hasn't taken a snap in the last three.

In other words, don't expect a decision on a Saturday starter right away. There are too many variables, with the greatest being health.

"They're both banged up,'' Holgorsen said Monday of Trickett and Childress. "Clint got banged up a little bit on the right side of his arm. I don't know how they're going to react to that. I've got to wait until [today] when we get back out on the practice field and see how he is, see how Ford is.

"Fortunately we've played all three of them. I will evaluate how they do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and make a decision on who it's going to be.''

Again, there seems little question that if all the quarterbacks are available, then Trickett would get the call.

Strictly from a statistical point of view, Trickett has actually fared worse than the other two. His completion percentage and NCAA quarterback rating are well below Childress and Millard and his interception rate is higher.

But as far as leading the offense and making things happen under pressure, there is no comparison. Trickett did that far better in his first real chance to play this season.

"He reacted well. I was happy with how he reacted,'' Holgorsen said Monday after further evaluating Trickett's performance against OSU. "And I kind of had a sense that he would do that because he's got experience and he's been around the game his whole life.

"Having Clint out there really gave our guys a sense of calmness because he's got experience."

The one thing Trickett doesn't have is experience in West Virginia's offense, which was the reason Holgorsen went five games into the season without really giving him a chance.

Until Saturday, the Florida State transfer - who didn't arrive on campus until May and has been taking snaps in the offense less than two months - had been given just two series this season, both in the opening game against William & Mary.

"How we coach offense is foreign to him. How we play offense is foreign to him,'' Holgorsen said. "So it's going to take some time for him to really grasp that. We've known that, but being able to get him out there and just watch him react to the game of football, he did well.

"He got the ball out of his hands, he kept the play alive a lot [and] he kept his eyes downfield. He got knocked around a little bit, but that doesn't bother him. He jumps back up and gets ready to play the next snap. He reacted well to the situation. I was really proud of how he did that.''

If Trickett is able to overcome his shoulder injury and play Saturday night in Waco, Texas, it can do nothing but help the Mountaineers. Through the first five games, the Mountaineers have used three starting quarterbacks, made almost weekly changes to the depth chart at receiver and on Saturday shook up the offensive line. Being able to settle at least on a starting quarterback would certainly do no harm to an offense that seems yet to have created an identity.

"It still doesn't look very good. We've got a lot of work to do on the offensive side,'' Holgorsen said. "I've said this from day one with the offense: I don't know when the finished product is going to be available for people to see. But we're far from being there at this point.''

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

 


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