Quarterback Competition Will Last Into Fall Camp - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quarterback Competition Will Last Into Fall Camp


One of the most popular questions facing the West Virginia University football team is who will emerge as the starting quarterback? There are three candidates to replace Geno Smith who may be a first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Junior Paul Millard has the most experience in the system and backed up Geno Smith each of the past two years. Redshirt Freshman Ford Childress spent the past year serving as the third-string quarterback. Freshman Chavas Rawlins is new to the program, but will get his shot to compete for the starting job as well.

"This is the first quarterback competition that I have had personally since my first year at Houston," Holgorsen told the media on Tuesday. "Coming here, we obviously had our starter in Geno (Smith) and at Oklahoma State, we had our starter in (Brandon) Weeden. Going to Houston, (Case) Keenum obviously wasn't our starter and we had a competition there."

Holgorsen does not expect to name a starter coming out of spring workouts. The only way that would happen is if one player jumps out and creates a huge gap between himself and the other two quarterbacks.

"Once spring is over, a lot can happen over the summer," Holgorsen said. "You have lots of tape to sit there and watch. You have 15 more practices that you can look forward to, so I would hesitate to do that."

Millard and Childress knew the day would finally come where they would get their shot at the starting job. That day is Sunday and the competition will likely last for months. The two quarterbacks know each other very well, which makes the competition that much more interesting.

"Quarterback competitions are always a little weird because that is one position where only one player plays," Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "You sit in a room and you hang out with these guys and you are friends, but at the end of the day you know only one of you is going to play. It breeds a lot of healthy competition. It will make them better."

Dawson serves as not only the offensive coordinator, but recently moved from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach. Jake Spavital held that job until recently when he left for Texas A&M. Dawson will get to work even more closely with the quarterbacks now than he did before.

"Ford's got a strong arm and he is just a big guy," Dawson said when asked about his two returning quarterbacks. "That is probably the biggest difference between them. I would think they would have a lot more similarities than they do differences. We are not going to sit there and run the option with either one of them."

Both Childress and Millard do their best work in the pocket. As Dawson said, neither one is known for what they can do running the ball.

Millard has made some appearances as Geno Smith's backup. Sometimes he has looked good, sometimes he hasn't. He has completed 16 of 34 passes for three touchdowns and three interceptions in his college career.

"The moments he got into the game he was typically playing with guys who didn't know what the hell they were doing around him," Dawson stated. "When you are the quarterback and X is supposed to run an out route and runs off the ball shrugging his shoulders and you don't have anywhere to go with the ball, there are 80,000 people that look at him saying he must not know what he is doing."

Dawson's point is that fans should not judge Millard by what they have seen to date because the coaching staff will not do that either.

The staff did not comment much on Chavas Rawlins simply because they have not seen him compete in any of their practices yet.

Here is a rundown on how these three quarterbacks look physically. Paul Millard stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 219 pounds. Ford Childress checks in at 6-foot-5 weighing 234 pounds and Chavas Rawlins stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 202 pounds.

Spring practices begin on Sunday. They will continue weekly with the exception of spring break up to the Gold-Blue spring game, which is set for April 20. No kickoff time for the game has been set.

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