Decisions, decisions, decisions … a lot of decisions still have to be made before West Virginia begins game prepping for its season opener against William & Mary on Saturday, Aug. 31.
At the top of the list is the guy under center – namely, who the guy is going to be? - and the impression you continue to get from the decision makers is that no definitive decision has been made yet.
“We really aren’t close to deciding one,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson Wednesday morning. “We’re still giving them all equal reps, basically, so that will tell you something right there. It’s going to be interesting to me, too.”
Perhaps the deciding factor in who wins the starting job between holdovers Paul Millard
and Ford Childress
, and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett
is the decisions they make on the football field.
Coach Dana Holgorsen touched on that subject earlier this week.
“I would say Paul Millard
makes the best decisions and the worst decisions,” he said. “He has gotten the most reps (in this system) and is pretty comfortable. He will still do some boneheaded stuff, as they all do. Anytime you have guys that do not have a lot of starts under their belt, they are going to make some good decisions and some bad decisions.”
Holgorsen noted that Childress had one of his best practices last Saturday and continues to develop. As for Millard, he has that Texas gunslinger mentality which enabled him to throw for more than 4,000 yards during his senior season in high school. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s not so good, depending upon which colored jersey the guy is wearing who is catching his passes.
And Trickett has a presence about him when he’s on the field and it is obvious that he has played in college football games, however, it was in a completely different offense and it still shows at times.
“For Clint, the wheels are still spinning a lot of times when he looks for signals,” admitted Dawson. “You take that into account, too.”
There have been times when all three quarterbacks have efficiently moved the offense down the field, making the correct reads and the proper throws. Dawson said the quarterbacks are also handling the football much better than they did during the first week of practice.
“All of them are right around 70 percent completions in the team deal,” said Dawson. “I’m telling the group the same thing I’m telling Dana, ‘I want one of you guys to make this decision easy on us. And that’s up to you guys.’ I said, ‘If you don’t we’re going to make the decision and we’re going to live with it.’”
Dawson admits that he still frequently oscillates between different players after each practice based on how they performed that day.
“I’m doing that with a lot of positions and that’s natural,” he said. “I think at some point you have to step back and look at the whole deal. At times, I probably look at things a little bit different because the level of reps they’ve had (in the system) is different. It’s hard to sit there and have a true evaluation based on the number of reps all of them have had in the system.”
Yet what all coaches strive for is consistency, and that’s not always happening right now with the quarterbacks as a collective group.
“There are times when it looks really bad out there and there are times when it looks really good,” said Dawson. “That’s what is frustrating about it. In my opinion, we’ve got to be somewhere in the middle in how we execute.
“It can’t be that big of a high and a low and right now it is,” Dawson added. “Maybe it’s because we are repping too many guys around them and there is not that cohesion. There are times when we can score in two or three plays and it looks like, ‘dadgum, those guys look pretty good!’ And then there are times when we go backwards 15 yards in three plays.”
The bottom line for the decision makers is determining which player gives the team the best opportunity to win football games. And that will likely boil down to which guy makes the best decisions on the field.
“We point out the bad decisions and say you should have done this instead,” said Holgorsen. “If you make some poor decisions or take some risks and they result in turnovers, then you are not going to win football games. The quarterback that doesn’t make the bad decisions and turn the ball over is the guy that will have the chance to be the guy.
“That is probably the same everywhere,” Holgorsen added. “I do not care what offense you run or where you are at, the quarterback that takes care of the ball and puts guys in position to be successful is the guy that will be your quarterback.”
Decisions, decisions, decisions …