West Virginia Football: Quarterback play crucial to second-half success

West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has thrown for 470-yards and two touchdowns

West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has thrown for 470-yards and two touchdowns

The West Virginia Mountaineers have struggled to find a go to guy at quarterback, and that’s putting it mildly.

Thus far, it’s been a roller coaster ride, with three different players sharing the snaps. Clint Trickett, Paul Millard, and Ford Childress have all started and played, but none have been consistent enough to gain the confidence of anyone.

All three have won one game each. Paul Millard led the Mountaineers to a victory over William & Mary to open the season. Ford Childress did so against Georgia State, and Clint Trickett led them to a win over Oklahoma State.

With that being said, none have been able to string two successful starts together in a row. That is not only frustrating, but it’s been detrimental to the team up to this point.

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen explained that many teams in the Big 12 are going through the same process at quarterback this season.

“What we are going through at quarterback, a lot of teams are going through it as well,” said Holgorsen. “It has happened at Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Everyone is dealing with the same thing, but it’s not an excuse to not be successful.”

If the Mountaineers have dreams of getting back to a bowl game, one of the three quarterbacks must step up, and provide the team with some consistency. I’m not sure that there’s a long term answer at the position on the roster right now. Childress would seem to be the obvious answer for a long term solution if he ever comes around.

Both Clint Trickett and Paul Millard only have one more season to play after this year. Maybe one will become more consistent and show some major improvement by seasons end, but I just don’t see it at this point.

Millard is the leading passer, having thrown for 581-yards and three touchdowns. Trickett is second with 470-yards passing and two touchdowns. While Childress has thrown for 421-yards and three touchdowns. None have been overly impressive.

It seems unlikely that the Mountaineers can continue in this manner and have much success.

We’ll find out a lot more when Texas Tech arrives this weekend, if the Mountaineers are going to pull the upset, they’ll need one of the quarterbacks to step up and lead the team.

From an overall talent perspective, Childress seem to be the guy, but it’s clearly going to take him some time to grasp the offense and grow.

I just don’t see the talent level WVU really needs in order to be successful with Millard or Trickett. The reality seems to be that West Virginia might be able to scrape by with a winning season this year, but to make a run at a Big 12 title in the future, they must recruit better at the quarterback position.

As far as this season goes, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen says the Mountaineers are struggling in the passing game for many reasons.

“We have had a more difficult time in the pass game for a lot of different reasons,” said Holgorsen. “That is not an excuse for not being successful; we have to focus on that, and we have focused on it.”

Holgorsen isn’t making excuses, he’s just trying to get things fixed.

“We have inexperienced guys all around,” said Holgorsen. “When it comes to running routes, catching balls and timing with the quarterbacks, whether the quarterbacks are inexperienced or because we are playing three of them, whatever it is, we have to get better at it.”

The Mountaineers should have elite quarterback prospects knocking down the door to play in the “Air Raid” system, but it just doesn’t seem to be the case.

Maybe Holgorsen has a few more QB’s up his sleeve, he’ll need to find a good one if he’s planning an extended stay in Morgantown.

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