Senior selected as starting QB
By Dave Hickman
MORGANTOWN — Roughly 5 1/2 weeks before it is set to begin, Dana Holgorsen removed much of the suspense from West Virginia’s fall football camp Tuesday.
He did so by settling the team’s quarterback battle even before it begins. He named Clint Trickett the team’s starter.
“Clint is 100 percent healthy and is ready to play,’’ Holgorsen said in a rather unexpected release issued by the school Tuesday afternoon. “He worked hard last season and showed a lot of ability and leadership and deserves the chance to lead the team as a senior. He will be our starter.”
In truth, however, only the timing of the announcement was a surprise. While Trickett sat out spring drills after undergoing shoulder surgery, the team’s other three quarterbacks did little to indicate they were ready to challenge him.
Senior Paul Millard, junior college transfer Skyler Howard and former walk-on Logan Moore split the spring reps almost equally, but none seemed to jump to the head of the line.
When fall camp opens at the beginning of August, freshman William Crest will join that group of quarterbacks, but with Tuesday’s announcement it would seem that Crest and the others will merely be battling for the backup job, at least in terms of the Aug, 30 opener against Alabama in Atlanta.
Trickett is the logical choice for the job because, when healthy, he has displayed a knack for making plays. The Florida State transfer, who didn’t practice with the team until the beginning of fall camp last season, got his first start in a home game against then-No. 11 Oklahoma State in the fifth game of the season and helped the Mountaineers to by far their most significant victory during a 4-8 season. He completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards in the 30-21 win.
The problem for Trickett, though, was that was the only game he was healthy all year. He was slammed to the turf by a tackle late in the game and injured his shoulder, which never fully recovered. He also suffered at least two concussions.
Still, he started six of the seven games after the win over OSU, finishing the season 123 of 233 passing for 1,605 yards and seven touchdowns.
In the final game of the season, he threw for a season-high 356 yards on 21 of 37 passing against Iowa State.
More than anything else, naming Trickett the starter ahead of fall camp allows Holgorsen and the offensive staff a full month to work one quarterback with the first-team offense, rather than split reps among several while searching for a starter.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.