MORGANTOWN. W.Va. -- Three months remain until the start of spring practice and more than seven until fall camp, but at least at this early juncture West Virginia's football team appears to have solved at least one of the problems that plagued it a year ago.
There could be adequate depth at quarterback.
Still far from being determined, however, is the more significant question, namely who will emerge as the frontrunner from what could be a five-man group.
This week's signing of junior college quarterback Skyler Howard brings to four the number of scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. That includes the three holdovers from last season - seniors-to-be Clint Trickett and Paul Millard and sophomore Ford Childress. And if Baltimore Dunbar high school quarterback William Crest goes through with his commitment and signs a letter of intent in early February, it will be a quintet.
And it will also be wide open.
The signing of Howard and the presumed arrival of Crest will certainly add to the intrigue of the quarterback competition that will begin in spring practice and might not fully develop until the fall. But to imagine that either - or both - of those newcomers will cure what ailed West Virginia at the position a year ago is to ignore what just played out over that time.
In large part, coach Dana Holgorsen blamed the failings of his offense - in truth, the first of his offenses ever to fail - to inexperience. That inexperience was prevalent at all of the skill positions, but especially at quarterback.
Now, though, he has three quarterbacks with starting experience, plus at least one and potentially two newcomers. Will he risk putting an inexperienced quarterback on the field for the second straight year or use one of the three holdovers while the new ones learn?
Both Howard and Crest, incidentally, would have redshirt years to use.
Holgorsen's thinking on the matter isn't known, but at least one of those holdovers thinks he has the edge no matter how crowded the competition. Trickett was considered the starter for the final eight games of the season (although he didn't play in one of those games because of a concussion) and as far as he's concerned the job is his to lose.