WVU QBs need help

The news coming out of Morgantown took a turn for the better on Sunday as Riverside (Calif.) City College quarterback Skyler Howard announced his intentions to join the Mountaineers when the second term begins in January.

Should the six-footer, who holds offers from New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, California, Utah, Colorado, San Diego State, and San Jose State actually show up for the spring semester then WVU fans can hope to see him join the old gold and blue when it begins spring drills in late March or early April.

But, while that may be great news for those hoping to see their favorite college football team return to days when it was putting points up on the scoreboard like it was playing a video game, it also sends a clear message to this past season’s trio of starting signal-callers.

And, it isn’t a good one.

From the beginning of summer drills in August to the triple-overtime loss to Iowa State, all we heard from head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was the difficulties the offense experienced with having to split reps between three quarterbacks. Injuries to two of the trio made the situation a little bit more manageable during the season.

Now, offensive leaders of the Mountaineers will have to find enough time for four quarterbacks and perhaps five should verbal commit William Crest, a 3-star recruit from Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Baltimore, elect to forego the final months of his high school experience and join Howard as members of the spring class.

It could also mean that one or more of the returnees-Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress-won’t be on the roster when practice resumes in the spring.

Trickett played in eight games in his first season in Morgantown, starting seven, and completed 123-of-233 attempts (52.8 percent) for 1,605 yards and seven touchdowns while Millard has played in 19 games, starting three this past season, making good on 93-of-168 passes (55.4 percent) for 1,122 yards and six scores. Childress started two games before suffering what turned out to be a season-ending injury. The Houston native connected on 36-of-63 attempts (57.1 percent) for 421 yards and three touchdowns.

The group also combined for 16 interceptions.

Howard, if he does show up in Morgantown (remember, he is only a verbal), put together some impressive statistics for RCC (10-2). The 205-pounder completed 219-of-325 passes (67.1 percent) for 3,151 yards and 33 touchdowns with six passes ending up in the hands of the opposition.

With many fans still grumbling over the team’s 4-8 mark, this news can only serve as hope for a better 2014. But, just like the trio of quarterbacks we watched this past fall, those numbers won’t always equate to success in the Big 12.

You still have to have athletes that can catch the football and you have to have athletes who can protect the passer.

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com