Millard Show Flashes in First WVU Action - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Millard Show Flashes in First WVU Action

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MORGANTOWN -

Jogging out of the locker room facing a two-point deficit at the start of the second half, Paul Millard could not have been overly confident in his prospects of getting any playing time.

The true freshman quarterback had to stay behind his starting counterpart and hope that the offense he saw in the first 30 minutes would look completely different in the second half.

Somehow, that's exactly what happened.

"We came out and we played our kind of ball [in the second half], so I was very fortunate to get in the game," says Millard.

Millard didn't come into the game just to sit on the ball, either. His coaches trusted their backup enough to allow him to go out and try to execute the offense just as he would if he were the team's starter and the game still had not been determined one way or another.

"That's what we try to teach those quarterbacks," says their coach, Jake Spavital. "Even though it's the fourth quarter and you're getting backup time, you've still got to go out there and you've got to execute our offense. We don't want to teach them any bad habits, we just want them to go out and operate."

And operate he did, though it got off to a rocky start. When Millard came into the game, he was announced as the team's new quarterback. What wasn't announced is that John Bassler was his new center, and the first snap wasn't quite as pretty as Bassler would have liked.

After making sure he had a good grasp on the ball, Millard thought his only real option was to tuck it and run, and he gained five yards on the ground.

"I was over on the sideline for like three and half quarters, get thrown out there and I've got to run the first play," Millard laughs. "I wasn't very loose, but that's alright, it's all good."

Spavital said after the game that he has told Millard in the past never to run because he simply can't do it. At least for one play, he proved his coach wrong.

The play that would define the drive came on a 4th-and-8 when the Mountaineers decided to go for the first down rather than send out the field goal unit. It turned out to be a good gamble and when Millard lined up for the play, he knew based on the coverage that he had a shot at his first career touchdown pass.

A 30-yard toss to the end zone connected with Bradley Starks, putting Millard on the board for the first time as a Mountaineer.

"It's a great feeling being out there with the guys and get the first one under my belt," he says. "Hopefully there's a lot more of those in the future."

Spavital says he was pleased with both of his quarterbacks' performances.

"I go, ‘Hey, you were 5-of-6, congratulations, you threw your first touchdown pass,' and he goes, ‘Yeah, but I had five rushing yards,'" Spavital says of Millard. "That's something that we'll laugh about."

Millard, who came to WVU all the way from Flower Mound, Texas, made it clear after the game just who it is he's playing for when he suits up on game days. His goal is to always leave them with a smile on their faces.

"Hopefully my family's really proud of me, my dad's hopefully watching over me, I know he'd be proud," says Millard.

It was just one performance, but Millard took advantage of the opportunity and proved he is a capable quarterback with a bright future.

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