"I would say that, yeah,'' the Florida State transfer said just after West Virginia's 4-8 season came to a merciful end. "At least that's the way I'm going to approach it mentally.''
Critics of the three returnees will no doubt point to their failings in 2013 as evidence that none are the answer for 2014. All had completion percentages under 60 percent, threw exactly as many interceptions as touchdowns and none were over .500 as starters. Childress also missed most of the season injured, Trickett suffered two concussions and a shoulder injury and Holgorsen seemed to have little confidence in Millard, playing him almost exclusively when the other two were injured or otherwise not ready.
But how much of that was due to inexperience, both their own and the other offensive players around them? Holgorsen places great emphasis on his quarterbacks learning the system and playing within it, and heading into the spring those three will be worlds ahead of the newcomers on that front. In fact, he talked constantly late last season about how much good a full offseason would do for Trickett.
Howard will be enrolled and eligible to go through spring practice, so he will get a solid head start. But it was still less than a year ago that he was an unrecruited high school quarterback in Texas who enrolled at Stephen F. Austin before deciding to go the junior college route in California. He had a spectacular season, but likely in a far-less complex offense against junior college competition.
Crest could also be enrolled for the spring semester, but at last word was struggling to convince the Baltimore school system to allow him to do so. He's rated as a four-star recruit, but whether he arrives in the spring or the fall he will have a lot to learn.
There seems a prevailing theory that Holgorsen would not have brought in a junior college quarterback if he didn't think he had a chance to play. And that's probably true. But play when? After his experience with new quarterbacks last year - two of whom had actually been in the program but hadn't played much (Millard) or at all (Childress) - is he likely to roll the dice again?
Or given that he could redshirt both Howard and Crest and not lose any eligibility for them (Howard has three years remaining, Crest would have four) while they learn the system, might he put the job in the hands of one of the more-veteran QBs? The 2014 season is important for Holgorsen in a job-security sense, so he will no doubt play the quarterback he feels has the best chance of winning right away, not planning for a future that may not include him.
And perhaps in that context, the smart money should be on Trickett, Childress or Millard next year. Playing one of them to win right away and redshirting the newcomers to plan for the future could provide him the best of both worlds.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.