Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Shortage of Options in QB Battle

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Shortage of Options in QB Battle

Article excerpt

Dana Holgorsen is widely regarded as one of the sharpest offensive minds in college football, a man at the helm of an explosive scheme that can score at a dizzying pace.

As he enters his fifth season as the West Virginia coach, though, the most crucial cog in that system is unknown.

After the graduation of Clint Trickett - who threw for 3,285 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior last season - the Mountaineers continue their spring practice without a clear-cut answer at the sport's most important position, spawning a competition among a handful of promising yet inexperienced quarterbacks.

There is plenty of time before the start of the season, but spring practice will provide an early glimpse at how things might unfold under center.

"They all are great-looking guys who had loads of potential, but we just have to start coaching them," Holgorsen said. "We don't know where they're going to be."

On the surface, the race to be the starter for the Sept. 5 opener at home against Georgia Southern is crowded, with six quarterbacks listed on the roster (four of whom are freshmen). It's a situation that might rekindle some not-so-fond memories of the 2013 season, when an indecisive, quarterback-by-committee approach led to a forgettable 4-8 finish.

In reality, it's simpler.

Junior Skyler Howard and freshman William Crest, who redshirted last season, entered the spring as the two favorites to win the job, and signs from the first few practices have indicated that is still the case. They have received a majority of snaps with the first team in practice, distancing themselves from freshmen David Sills and Chris Chugunov.

Howard has the most experience of the group, having started two games last season in relief of an injured Trickett. Though he struggled with his accuracy, the junior-college transfer threw eight touchdowns and no interceptions filling in for Trickett, including the Liberty Bowl loss to Texas A&M. …

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