Big 12 lost seven of top 10 QBs

The most asked question at the recently completed Big 12 Conference football media days dealt with starting quarterbacks.

Gone will be seven of the top 10 passers from a year ago, including WVU’s Geno Smith, Baylor’s Nick Florence, Landry Jones from Oklahoma, Seth Doege from Texas Tech, KSU’s Collin Klein and Dayne Crist from Kansas.

“The quarterback play in the Big 12 last year was phenomenal and it’s always going to be phenomenal,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “It’s just going to be with newer people.”

Just who will be Holgorsen’s starting signal caller when the Mountaineers open the season against FCS member William and Mary won’t be known until WVU’s offense takes to the artificial surface at Milan Puskar Stadium on Aug. 31.

“Who our guy is going to be, I don’t know,” continued the third-year head coach.

“We’ve got Clint Trickett coming in, who has probably as much experience in the college game as anybody in the Big 12, just because he’s been a starter in some big games, he’s been around it his whole life.

“He’s got to come in and beat an experienced Paul Millard out, who has taken more reps than anybody on our campus. And, then you’ve got Ford Childress, who’s going to continue to get better and better.”

The three Big 12 passers who do return include David Ash from Texas, TCU’s Trevone Boykin and J.W. Walsh from Oklahoma State. But, just because they are returning doesn’t mean they will be leading their respective offenses onto the field on opening day.

Texas returns two quarterbacks with starting experience in Ash and senior Case McCoy while veteran head coach Mike Gundy will face a similar situation at OSU with the return of Walsh and senior Clint Chelf. The Horned Frogs will welcome back Casey Pachall, the team’s starter in 2011, to challenge Boykin for the job.

“I think that we’ll continue to work like we have,” Gundy said. “We’ve got two young men that we feel very comfortable with, and they’ve worked, and they’re extremely dedicated to our program. They’re great team players. They’ll get equal reps.”

A feeling echoed by TCU’s Gary Patterson.

“I think it just depends,” Patterson said. “We’ll see how two-a-day scrimmages and going into the first ball game-when I say that, it won’t be a 50/50 thing, I don’t think, but I do believe there’s a place for both of them.”

But it will take more than that having a strong quarterback or two to be a successful team in the Big 12 this fall.

“I think everybody’s pretty much in the same boat,” Holgorsen said. “Everybody’s got the ingredients to win. It’s how you develop them, and it’s catching some breaks that win you some games.”

But, it doesn’t hurt to have a Smith, Florence, Jones, Doege, Klein or Crist tossing the ball around either.