Holgorsen searching for QB separation

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
4:00
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Dana Holgorsen insisted at Big 12 media days last month he would name a starting quarterback when one emerged. Asked on what the plan was if a quarterback never truly separated himself, Holgorsen had no plans to entertain the suggestion.

"He will," Holgorsen said.

[+] EnlargePaul Millard
James Lang/USA TODAY SportsAs a sophomore in 2012, Paul Millard appeared in seven games as Geno Smith's backup.
Unlike a few other coaches around the Big 12, West Virginia's coach won't put a timeline on when he wants to see that emergence, but his point was: At some point, he's going to make the decision between freshman Ford Childress, junior Paul Millard and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett and go with it.

A little more than a week into fall practices, however, it sounds like camp has lacked the major separation Holgorsen is looking for.

"Paul Millard makes the best decisions and the worst decisions. He has gotten the most reps and is pretty comfortable," Holgorsen said. "He will still do some bonehead stuff, as they all do. Any time you have guys that do not have a lot of starts under their belt, they are going to make some good decisions and bad decisions."

In a live scrimmage on Monday, however, Trickett came out with the first team offense, two days after Holgorsen said Childress had the best practice of his career at WVU, which included 45 live reps in the red zone.

"Every rep he takes he gets better and does some good things," Holgorsen said of Trickett. "They all make good decisions at times but because of inexperience, they make poor decisions that get them in trouble. The guy that reduces the poor decisions will be the guy that wins the job. I think they are all capable of being pretty good."

Holgorsen said Millard held a "Texas gunslinger" mentality, which is to say he's not afraid to make a few risky throws.

"You don't throw for 4,500 yards in a senior season without being able to take some risks," Holgorsen said of Millard's high school career in Flower Mound, Texas, just north of Dallas. "You do not want to handcuff him either because if you handcuff him and not give him the ability to be able to make decisions and pull the trigger, you get to the point where they are afraid to make mistakes. That is not what we do offensively."

Finding that fine line is key for figuring out who replaces Geno Smith, who threw for 4,198 yards a season ago and threw just six interceptions to 42 touchdowns on the way to being drafted by the New York Jets.

"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," Holgorsen said. "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."

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