MORGANTOWN - Early in the fourth quarter of West Virginia's 16-7 loss at Oklahoma Saturday night, Clint Trickett warmed up during an injury timeout and even got on the phone to offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson up in the press box. It seemed all but certain that he was going to replace starter Paul Millard at quarterback.Didn't happen. But coach Dana Holgorsen said it almost did on several occasions."Yeah, I did [think about it],'' Holgorsen said. "I almost did it.''Why he didn't is perhaps the biggest question West Virginia fans were asking afterward. The Mountaineers scored just seven points. Millard, while making some good throws and decisions, also badly missed two receivers who had gotten behind the Oklahoma defense. And as the fourth quarter began, Millard seemed to be in one of those ruts that just beg a quarterback change if there is another one available.
Holgorsen later said he didn't use Trickett because the Florida State transfer isn't ready to handle some of the nuances and complexities of the offense. He played two series a week ago in the opener when WVU was using a bare bones game plan, but this week the plan had to be more complex.It was more complex not just because of a rise in the level of competition, but because Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops know WVU's offense so well."They know all of our signals and they know all of our route combinations and we had to be smart with that. We had to put our guys in position offensively to where you aren't just going against a defense that knows exactly what you are going to do,'' Holgorsen said. "So we felt like it was in the best interest of our team to do some specific things, and that means the communication on the field had to be spot-on."Paul is the best we've got at that. Because Clint is inexperienced in our offense, I didn't feel comfortable doing that. But I thought about it a bunch.''
Trickett has played just those two series against William & Mary this season, but that's likely to change Saturday when West Virginia faces Georgia State, perhaps the worst FBS team in the country. Against the Panthers, Holgorsen may well be able to experiment and see what his quarterbacks can do. And he made it clear that nothing at the position has been settled after two games, even though Millard has taken almost every snap."It's open competition and it's going to remain that way,'' Holgorsen said. "We'll evaluate Paul and see where we're at with it. I'm not happy with seven points, but I felt we did some good things periodically."Guys have got to make plays, too. He put the ball there for some guys to make some plays and we didn't. So, we have to take all of those things into consideration and evaluate it and see where we are at. Maybe Ford [Childress] gets reps next week. Maybe Clint gets reps next week. I don't know. That's why we practice and that's what we'll do."BRIEFLY: After missing the first game, junior college wide receiver Kevin White made his debut and had a team-leading seven catches for 80 yards. But his best play turned out to be his worst when he fumbled at the end of what would have been a third-and-20 conversion at the OU 15."We had the fumble, which was devastating, but he did catch the ball and slipped a tackle or two every now and then,'' Holgorsen said of White. "And we need that to happen more. I told guys all week about picking your feet up and having some yards after the catch and having some yards after contact."How bad is the Georgia State team that plays at noon Saturday at Mountaineer Field? The Panthers are in their first year in the FBS and last year in the FCS finished 1-10 and lost 35-3 to a William & Mary team that was 2-9. This year the team is 0-2 after losing to two FCS schools - 31-21 to Samford and, on Saturday, 42-14 to Chattanooga, which gained 509 yards, including 401 rushing.
Needless to say, Georgia State coach Trent Miles called it "really embarrassing.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1