Sizing Up WVU Quarterback Competition - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Sizing Up WVU Quarterback Competition


The West Virginia University football team entered spring practice with two quarterbacks competing for the starting job vacated by Geno Smith. Junior Paul Millard and Redshirt freshman Ford Childress received equal reps in an opportunity to try and establish themselves as a frontrunner for the job.

Neither one took control of the competition through 14 practices and the Gold-Blue game. While Millard and Childress were trying to put on a good show in the Gold-Blue game, another quarterback was watching from inside Milan Puskar Stadium.

Redshirt junior Clint Trickett took a visit to WVU to try and decide if that was the destination for him to complete his transfer from Florida State. Trickett is the son of former WVU offensive Line coach and current Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett. He grew up in Morgantown while his father coached at West Virginia University.

Trickett saw enough out of the two quarterbacks to decide he indeed wanted to throw his hat into this competition for the starting job. The coaching staff left spring practices saying that competition was still wide-open.

With that in mind, let's take a look at how these three quarterbacks compare.


Trickett has more college experience than Millard and Childress combined. He has started two games and played in a total of 17 games. Trickett has completed 66 of 106 passes for 947 yards and seven touchdowns while throwing four interceptions. Trickett served as EJ Manuel's backup at Florida State.

Millard has played in 11 games with no starts. He has completed 16 of 34 passes for three touchdowns while throwing three interceptions. Millard was Geno Smith's backup since his arrival in 2011.

Childress has no college experience through no fault of his own. He was redshirted last year to preserve his eligibility. Childress was the third-string quarterback behind Smith and Millard.


Childress is the tallest and the heaviest of the three quarterbacks. He stands 6-feet-5 inches and weighs 224 pounds.

Trickett is in the middle in terms of height, but the lightest of the three quarterbacks. He stands 6-feet-3 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds. Trickett's weight has been a battle for the quarterback due to Celiac Disease. He was diagnosed with that disease in 2011. It prevents his body from processing foods that contain gluten. Among the foods that he had to eliminate from his diet were any foods that include bread. His weight dropped as low as 165 pounds, but has since gone up 20 pounds as he learns how to manage Celiac Disease.

Millard is the shortest of the three, but only four inches separate himself and the tallest of the three, Childress. Millard stands 6-feet-1 inches and weighs 221 pounds.


Millard and Childress are not quarterbacks who will run around and make plays with their feet. They can move out of the pocket to make plays if needed, but lack any breakaway speed to pull away from a pass-rusher attempting to chase them down.

Trickett is a better quarterback at escaping pressure and making a play downfield. He also has enough speed to turn a potential sack into a short gain.


All three quarterbacks have strong enough arms to throw the deep ball. Trickett completed a 56-yard bomb in his sophomore season at Florida State. Millard relieved Geno Smith for one play when his helmet came off and on 4th and 13 went through his reads and found Stedman Bailey in the back of the endzone for a 37-yard touchdown.

Childress is unproven at the college level, but showed signs throughout the spring of having the ability to connect downfield. More reps should lead to more consistency.

Clearly Trickett feels he has a legitimate shot to win the starting job or he would not have transferred to WVU. Millard and Childress have more experience in Dana Holgorsen's offense, but it does not take long to understand. The key is understanding it well enough to play up-tempo within games and make the right reads and plays within the offense.

Holgorsen installs the offense using a three-day formula. The team learns certain plays and formations on day one, different plays and formations on day two and the same on day three. Those three days are repeated for a few weeks throughout training camp. 

Trickett will undoubtedly spend as much of the summer watching film and talking to coaches as possible in an effort to understand the offense before he takes his first snap in training camp.

Bottom line, WVU has no idea who its starting quarterback will be in the season opener on August 31 against William & Mary. There will be roughly four weeks of practice for the staff to make that decision. 

Millard and Childress will need to show improvement and consistency. Trickett will need to make a good first impression and follow that up with consistency.

Regardless of who wins the job, that person will need to produce. Following the season opener against William & Mary, WVU travels to Oklahoma for its Big 12 opener. That provides little time for the starter to get comfortable in his new job.

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