MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- In the three-man battle for West Virginia's starting quarterback spot, Ford Childress might be considered the long shot.
Yes, he's bigger and stronger than juniors Paul Millard and Clint Trickett. And because he's younger and still has four years of eligibility, that means he might have more potential to improve and grow in the position.
But he's also the only one of the three without an ounce of college football experience, which would seem to put him at a disadvantage as head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson look for the best option for the here and now, not the future.
Don't think for a moment, though, that Childress is conceding anything.
"Obviously, I want to start right now,'' said the 6-foot-5, 234-pound redshirt freshman from Houston. "The whole reason I came here was because I thought I had a great opportunity to start for four years. And that's what I'm planning on doing.''
The next week will likely decide if he has a chance. The last few days might have proven that he does.
"Ford Childress continues to get better. He had his best day on Saturday since he's been here,'' Holgorsen said Monday. "We took about 45 live reps from the red zone and he had his best day. He made some really good decisions and good throws in the right situations to get the ball in the end zone.''
And that's what's going to separate the three - live reps in pressure situations. The offense last week went from simply running plays to putting the quarterback into situations. Instead of lining up and simply running what is called, the quarterback now has to adjust to those situations and to defensive alignments.
"The situational part of it is a whole different deal. Now, the thought process comes in,'' Dawson said. "You have to think your way through a game. We're working on red zone and goal-line stuff. We're working on third-down stuff. It's certain situations where if we're not necessarily in a great play, it's the quarterback's job to get us in a good play and make checks.''
Millard has been in the offense a year longer than Childress and has at least some practical experience, although never under real pressure. Trickett is new to the offense, but was in plenty of tough situations in two years playing - and occasionally starting - at Florida State.
But Childress knows what the coaches are looking for.