Teammates Say WVU QB Race Too Close to Call - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Teammates Say WVU QB Race Too Close to Call

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Junior Paul Millard is one of three battling for WVU's QB job. Junior Paul Millard is one of three battling for WVU's QB job.
MORGANTOWN -

Dana Holgorsen made it quite clear when he and Clint Trickett decided to join forces that he was not handing his new weapon the quarterback job.

Despite his experience stepping in to start for Florida State at times in his career, Trickett would be treated just like either of the other candidates to line up behind center at the season's start. The work to get the job would play out in the summer months and throughout camp leading up to Aug. 31 when the team welcomes William & Mary to Morgantown.

At the same time, the other two contenders, both of whom have been battling since the team walked off the field at the Pinstripe Bowl, are brought to the same level as Trickett for the purposes of this competition.

Junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress entered camp thinking they simply had to beat out each other for the job, but with Trickett, well, it gets trickier.

So it stands to reason that the quarterback race was a hot topic of conversation when select football players were made available to the media for the first and only time this summer on Monday.

"They're doing a good job communicating with each other," running back Dustin Garrison said of the quarterbacks. "Clint is doing a great job learning the offense and Paul and Ford are doing a great job teaching it, so having those guys back there competing … only makes the team better. I think this camp is going to be a good one and it's going to be a lot of competition."

Garrison has his own competition to focus on in the backfield, but that doesn't keep him from paying attention to the battle playing out between those guys handing him the ball.

The quarterback is the face of the team, for better or for worse. It just so happens that at this point, WVU has no face. None of the players competing for the job are making the trip to the Big 12 Media Days, a function that frequently features signal callers among those who speak on behalf of their team.

Offensive tackle Quinton Spain will represent his unit instead. Whose blindside he protects will still be in doubt at the end of this month and, if Holgorsen is to be believed, maybe even the month after that.

"Clint, Paul, Ford – all of them, they're all putting in great work," junior receiver Connor Arlia said Monday. "They're working hard every day, they're great students of the game and it's great to have that. Not only there, but there's competition everywhere and that's what is going to make us better. If you don't like competition, you're playing the wrong sport. It's going to be a great thing for us. We want to bring as many great players as we can in here and that'll allow the team to get better."

The answers are about what you would expect. They are politically correct and do not give away a single thing that could only be learned by actually witnessing the occurrences in the team's drills. Sophomore fullback Cody Clay is the only player who seemed willing to divulge a real assessment of the situation, focusing on the newest stallion in a three-horse race.

"I feel like Trickett's done a really good job of coming in and understanding it as quickly as he can," Clay said. "I haven't seen him make a logistical mistake in a while. Everybody makes throwing errors and all that, but in terms of his thinking behind it, I haven't seen him mess that up at all."

Clay believes what others have said in that the offense is not terribly difficult to pick up and that possessing the physical tools is perhaps the bigger challenge in conquering Holgorsen's quarterback position. With that in mind, he feels that Trickett did not join the competition with some sort of disadvantage behind two players who had one and two years to learn the scheme.

In fact, with his 947 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions, Trickett has something the other two do not: experience.

"I feel like that's going to help him a lot, especially in camp. He won't be as nervous," said Clay. "That experience he's got is definitely going to help him out in the long run."

Time will tell with the quarterback position. WVU's offense will continue to have question marks that may take longer than the season opener to turn into periods. Holgorsen hopes they'll be exclamation points.  

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