West Virginia turns to Childress at QB
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is hoping Ford Childress has a better idea of how to run the Mountaineers' sputtering offense against winless Georgia State.
This isn't meant to be a quick look. It's not an audition.
Holgorsen believes Childress can be his quarterback. The redshirt freshman will get his chance at noon Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Childress, the son of former NFL Pro Bowler Ray Childress, did not appear in the first two games; junior Paul Millard ran the offense for all but two series. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett went 0 for 3 on his pass attempts in his game action.
“We feel like he's ready,” Holgorsen said of Childress. “His fire is lit.”
Childress took 80 percent of the reps this week, and plans are for him to play as No. 1 without sharing the job.
The change was necessitated because WVU (1-1) is ranked 109th out of 125 teams in scoring, which put it behind even Georgia State (104th). The passing attack is ranked 64th. Childress will start with three new wide receivers out of junior college — Kevin White, Ronald Carswell and Mario Alford.
While Holgorsen understands he doesn't have the same dynamics as last year when his passing game sent three players – Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey — to the NFL, he believes he potentially has an offense that can be as effective.
The running game figures to be far more potent, and the Mountaineers have more depth at wide receiver. But the coach knows it is going to hinge on quarterback play. He's hoping Childress can get his feet on the ground against Georgia State before having to travel to Maryland and then return to Big 12 play against Oklahoma State, the conference preseason favorite.
“There's potential on offense, and that word disturbs me,” Holgorsen said. “I don't like it very much, but there is potential on offense.”
Talk, though, is just that.
“We need to prove that. We need to make some plays,” Holgorsen said. “You need to make plays when you are put into those situations, and if you don't, we will try and put some other guys in those situations.”
Holgorsen is trying to find offensive balance. Running back depth includes Charles Sims, Dreamius Smith, freshman Wendell Smallwood and holdover Dustin Garrison.
“It all depends on what the defense does,” Holgorsen said. “We ran it so much more against William & Mary because we had the numbers. Oklahoma had one more guy in the box every time we snapped the ball. So how much sense would it make to run it against unblocked people?”
Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.