WVU spring game provides another look at QB competition
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The last time West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen didn't know who his quarterback would be this late in the spring, he wasn't a head coach.
In 2008, Holgorsen was Houston's first-year offensive coordinator attempting to choose between Case Keenum and Blake Joseph, just as he's now trying to select from junior Paul Millard, redshirt freshman Ford Childress and true freshman Chavas Rawlins.
Not that Keenum — who developed into one of the elite quarterbacks in college football — should be confused with Millard, Childress or Rawlings. However, Holgorsen admits it's been a long time since he didn't already know the status of his starting quarterback.
What's more, Holgorsen said he doesn't anticipate his starting quarterback will emerge immediately after Saturday's annual Gold-Blue Spring Game at 2 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“This is the first quarterback competition that I have had personally since my first year at Houston,” said Holgorsen, whose starting quarterback the last two seasons, Geno Smith, is expected to be the first quarterback selected in the upcoming NFL Draft.
“Coming here, we obviously had our starter in Geno and at Oklahoma State, we had our starter in (Brandon) Weeden,” he said. “Going to Houston, Keenum obviously wasn't our starter, and we had a competition there where we went 15 practices in the spring and 15 practices in fall before we made that decision.”
WVU's 15 practices this spring failed to yield a starting quarterback. Entering the spring game, Millard — the only quarterback on the roster with game experience — is listed No. 1 on the depth chart. Childress is next, followed by Rawlins.
“We will mix them,” Holgorsen said. “What we have been doing in previous practices is Paul will go with the first team then (Childress) will go with the first team. Not only do they switch, but the receivers rotate. ... We will keep doing the same thing during camp (in August). There will be a lot of moving parts during the spring game.”
Millard has appeared in 11 games as a backup, including seven games in 2012. He completed 9 of 19 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns last season.
“They are letting Ford and I go at it,” Millard said. “We are taking half and half with the reps, so it is all 50-50 right now.”
Childress redshirted last season. Rawlins, who started at Monessen, enrolled in January.
“It is not where they are right now, it is where they end up,” Holgorsen said. “Once spring is over, a lot can happen over the summer. You have lots of tape to sit and watch.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.
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