MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen already knows what he has in quarterback Clint Trickett.
That's why the West Virginia coach named the redshirt senior the Mountaineers' starter despite Trickett missing all offseason practices while he recovered from a sprained AC joint and torn labrum.
But who is the No. 2 quarterback?
Photo by Tony Viola
West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, left, talks with true freshman quarterback William Crest Jr.
Trickett could be described as fragile after all, considering he is one of the smaller guys on the team, weighing in at 175 pounds.
Much like last season, if a blitzing linebacker gets a solid hit on him, he could, at the very least, reinjure his shoulder.
Of course, Paul Millard returns for his senior season and would be the easy choice to backup Trickett.
He's been in Holgorsen's system for three years now and there's no doubt he understands the Xs and Os. There have been times during games, however, where he looks shaky and his confidence has been called into question. (Does anyone else remember the tongue-lashing he got from Holgorsen during the second half of the Oklahoma game Fox caught on its sky camera?)
Junior College transfer Skyler Howard and Fairmont State transfer Logan Moore are also listed on the depth chart, but there is another option: William Crest Jr.
While he is a true freshman, he brings intangibles to the table the other quarterbacks simply do not possess.
First is his size.
At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he is by far the biggest signal-caller on this Mountaineers squad.
He also has an excellent arm strength and the speed to make him a dual threat.
''He's big, he's fast, he's strong, and he's got a good arm,'' Holgorsen said. ''There's a reason we recruited him for three years.''
Holgorsen has noted numerous times Crest Jr. and cornerback Dravon Henry are the two true freshmen West Virginia is likely not to redshirt this season.
''William goes in there at some points and just doesn't know what he's doing, and it still looks good,'' Holgorsen said. ''The biggest challenge with William is that his expectations of himself are extremely high, and he's extremely competitive. He wants to please, he wants to learn, and he wants to do good. It just doesn't look good at times. It takes time to be able to understand. He's ahead of the curve as a freshman quarterback.''
Still, Holgorsen's system is tough to master.
Trickett said he is just now getting comfortable with it and he's been in it for an entire year.
With Millard being in it for three years, he holds the advantage over Crest Jr.
But there is another option for the true freshman.
Actually, it is the option.
While Holgorsen never has used a read option or wildcat package before, he could now.
''(Trickett) just has to be smart with (the ball),'' Holgorsen said about using a read option. ''Our quarterback depth, as odd as it sounds, is much better than it has been in the past.''
Instead of Trickett being the one to pull the trigger, how about Crest Jr.?
The Baltimore native did run for 672 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior at Dunbar High.
Holgorsen, however, noted he's not very keen on pulling a starting quarterback during the middle of a drive to put in another to run the option.
''I think it can disrupt your flow,'' he said. ''I think if there is one clear-cut main guy - at this point Clint is the main guy - then there is a comfort level that he has that I'm excited about. There is also a comfort level that his teammates have with him, which is good. Pulling him off the field will not be the appropriate thing to do at this time.''
The key words there may be "at this time."
Sure it might be asking too much of Crest Jr. to run out on the field against Alabama during the first game of the season and run a handful of plays he's not 100 percent comfortable with.
What about later on in the season, though?
One thing is clear, Crest Jr. does provide an interesting option.
Tony Viola can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org