WVU offense full of question marks - The Daily Athenaeum: Sports

WVU offense full of question marks

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Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 1:29 am

With just over a week until West Virginia’s annual Gold-Blue Spring game, it’s safe to say head coach Dana Holgorsen will not name a starting quarterback in time.  

Senior Paul Millard and sophomore Skyler Howard have split reps with the first and second team and Logan Moore has taken reps with the third team offense. Holgorsen is in no rush to make a decision, especially since injured senior Clint Trickett won’t take any reps until fall.

Millard impressed during practice Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium. He threw four touchdowns to four different receivers during the team sessions.

Howard has a skill set that fits where the position is headed as he’s more mobile and can extend plays with his feet but hasn’t impressed as much throughout the spring.

Howard is athletic, but there is still a learning curve.

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said multiple times WVU won’t pick a starter until the fall unless either Millard or Howard really shows a glimpse of why he could lead the team.

From what I’ve been able to see (from three open practices), Millard is simply ahead of Howard because he knows what to do. If given time to throw, Millard is the guy. He knows the ins and outs of the playbook, and he just has to throw from where he can set his feet. He gets in trouble when he tries to do too much.

At running back, the competition is intense – more intense than the quarterback spot. It is an NFL-like battle. At this point, the edge has to be given to senior Dreamius Smith.

Smith does everything a running back in the WVU offensive system needs to do well: He bounces off defenders when carrying the ball, makes catches out of the backfield and has improved his blocking. Smith is the top guy, probably followed by Rushel Shell.

Wendell Smallwood may see more time on the field than Smith and Shell just because he has more versatility than those two guys. Holgorsen even tabbed Smallwood as the second-best inside receiver on the team behind Daikiel Shorts. Smallwood is taking reps at both running back and slot receiver right now.

Finally, Adam Pankey already has locked up the left tackle spot. At 6-foot-6, 305 lbs, he’s the prototypical left tackle. With Pankey ahead of all the other tackles, it leaves Marquis Lucas, Marcell Lazard, Michael Calicchio and Slyvester Townes all battling for the right tackle spot.

From all appearances, WVU is in no rush to make this decision.

Lucas is still transitioning from playing guard during his first three seasons on campus. Lazard was a redshirt freshman last year who has to learn what it’ll be like playing week to week in the Big 12. Calicchio has always been a backup, and to go from starter to backup for just one season might not be enough. Lastly, Townes is the class junior college transfer. It’s taking him time to adjust to the Division I level.

There is promise on offense but still quite a bit to figure out.

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