Big 12 Full of QB Questions
By TONY VIOLA
WHEELING – Clint Trickett, Paul Millard or Ford Childress?
It’s the question that’s been repeated over and over again throughout the week as the Mountaineers faithful are still waiting to see who Dana Holgorsen will put under center in six days when West Virginia opens its season against William and Mary.
The decision, most thought, would have been made last Saturday since Holgorsen said earlier that week he anticipated being ”100 percent sure of the direction we’re going to go in” when the Mountaineers ended camp.
If he did decide, it’s suddenly become the best-kept secret in Morgantown.
Even with uncertainty at the position, WVU isn’t behind most Big 12 schools when it comes to a clear-cut starter under center.
Actually, it’s in the same boat as most.
In Stillwater, Oaklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is going back-and-forth between Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, while similar reports say the same is happening in Manhattan, Kan., with the Wildcats, as Jake Waters is currently fighting Daniel Sams to succeed Heisman finalist Collin Klein.
Sams spent last season on the sidelines as Klein’s primary backup, while Waters was the No. 1-rated junior college quarterback this year.
Texas Tech thought it had an answer to its quarterback controversy when Michael Brewer was presumed to be the 2013 starter as soon as Jacob Karam announced his transfer to Memphis nearly two years ago. However, Brewer has been dealing with lower back issues during camp, which could thrust walk-on freshman Baker Mayfield into the starters role in the Red Raiders opener against SMU.
Casey Pachall had a breakout year in 2011 for TCU, but left four games into last season to seek treatment for substance abuse. Pachall returned in the offseason, but coach Gary Patterson declared he is not going to name his starting quarterback before the Horned Frogs’ opener against LSU.
Four teams in the conference actually do know who they have atop the depth chart, however, only one has more than five starts since graduating high school.
That’s Texas’ David Ash.
Ash started every game expect one for the Longhorns in 2012, but was benched against TCU and Kansas.
Jake Heaps will start for the Jayhawks, but he’s yet to complete a pass in a Kansas uniform. Heaps was forced to sit out last year after transferring from BYU, where he led the Cougars to a bowl game as a freshman in addition to setting numerous school records.
At Oklahoma, Coach Bob Stoops picked Trevor Knight on Thursday to start instead of Blake Bell, the favorite to succeed Landry Jones, given that he’d rushed for 24 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Sooners.
Baylor’s Bryce Petty will get the chance to prove his worth for the first time as a fourth-year junior.
Iowa State sophomore Sam Richardson appeared in four games and finished 2012 with an 8-to-1 touchdown-interception ratio. This will be the first time since 2010 the Cyclones have a solid No. 1 behind center.
In West Virginia’s case, it’s the first time since 2005 when Pat White won the starting job against Adam Bednarik that the Mountaineers have had a true competition at quarterback.
Even then White wasn’t appointed until midway through the season. That can’t happen this time.
People are already questioning if someone will step up and lead this West Virginia team.
Could it be one of these three QBs? Sure. But one needs to step up. Now.