For a second straight offseason, the West Virginia football team will head into the summer months without a clear-cut starter at quarterback.
The 2013-14 Mountaineer season was a failure for many reasons, but primarily because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Clint Trickett, Paul Millard and Ford Childress all started at least one game in September alone. Both an inconsistent relationship among the quarterbacks and an inexperienced wide receiving corps played a major role in WVU’s disappointing 4-8 season.
Childress has since left the program, but WVU still finds itself with five quarterbacks on roster. Trickett is still recovering from a shoulder surgery, and freshman William Crest hasn’t joined the team yet, forcing WVU to rely on Millard and transfers Logan Moore and Skyler Howard throughout the spring.
“We’re going to have to narrow it down,” said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen about the competition. “We are going to figure out who that guy is, and we’re going to have to give him all the reps.”
All three quarterbacks showed flashes of promises in WVU’s Gold-Blue Spring Game, but it is difficult to evaluate talent at such an early stage in the offseason.
Millard was the obvious standout, completing 14 of his 29 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Moore, a transfer from Fairmont State, ran the ball three times for 35 yards, including a scrimmage best 28-yard scramble.
Howard, a former Riverside C.C. transfer, completed nine of his 13 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
After transferring from Florida State, Trickett started eight games last season for WVU, but completed more than 50 percent of his passes – throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
He was the starting QB in WVU’s upset over No. 11 Oklahoma State, but he injured his shoulder in the game and hasn’t been able to the throw the ball the same way since.
Millard went into the 2013 campaign as the starter, but he also had an inconsistent season. He threw for 259 yards and a touchdown in WVU’s overtime loss to No. 9 Texas but also struggled against Kansas and Iowa State, arguably the Big 12 Conference’s two weakest teams.
With a season of starting experience under Trickett and Millard’s belts, the Mountaineer coaching staff should know what these two quarterbacks their capabilities.
What the staff hasn’t seen yet is Crest, a four-star recruit who signed with the program in February. As a dual-threat QB, Crest has already drawn comparisons to former quarterback Geno Smith.
“We’ve spent a good amount of time with William (Crest), and we’re excited about him joining our program,” Holgorsen said when the team signed him. “We feel very good about (Crest) as the future of this program.”
However, if Holgorsen and his staff want to see an improvement from the 2013 season, naming a full-time starter early in the season will be crucial to the team’s success.