Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Future Arrives Early for QB Childress

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Future Arrives Early for QB Childress

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Ford Childress always was West Virginia's quarterback of the future. Saturday, though, the redshirt freshman also cemented himself as the quarterback of today.

Childress completed 25 of 41 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns in his debut, a 41-7 victory against Georgia State at Milan Puskar Stadium. His performance set a school record for passing yards by a freshman -- the 19th most by any quarterback in program history.

It's safe to say the starting job now belongs to Childress.

"If it's not [his], then I'm not very smart," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Because we just gave him 100 percent of the reps."

Four days earlier, Childress was still the No. 3 option at quarterback, stuck behind juniors Paul Millard and Clint Trickett on the depth chart.

It took just two midweek practices for him to rise from third string to starter.

Millard was cast out of the competition after two rather mediocre starts, a move made "because we wanted to win a game," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.

That left Trickett and Childress to challenge for the start. The blueprint called for Childress to take first-team reps in practice Tuesday and Trickett -- his roommate -- to follow suit Wednesday.

But when he arrived to practice Wednesday afternoon, Childress was with the first team again -- "a pretty easy sign," he said.

Dawson rallied the quarterbacks after practice to tell them Childress would start Saturday.

Childress was admittedly "really excited." His first call was to his father, Ray, a five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the Houston Oilers and a two-time All-American at Texas A&M.

"He said he was really proud of me," Childress said. "I've been working really hard, and he knows it."

The promotion marked a definite turnaround in a disappointing month for Childress.

In late August, after no quarterback distanced himself in fall camp, Holgorsen decided to give reps just to Millard and Trickett in hopes of finding an opening-day starter. …

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