'It's Competition'

As West Virginia heads into its season opener against William & Mary this weekend, head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson find themselves in a situation they swore they wouldn't be in when camp opened up earlier this month.

They have still yet to make a decision between potential starting quarterbacks Clint Trickett and Paul Millard.

But it's not as bad a thing as the coaches might have thought at first. Although they've admitted that it's not the ideal situation to have more than one quarterback playing, there isn't enough evidence to choose one over the other quite yet.

"You could look at it as neither of them rose or neither of them fell off," Dawson said. "Both of them deserve an opportunity, and that's why we're in the situation we're in. Whoever wants to take hold of it and run with it, I'm more than happy for him.

"We're trying to figure out who can lead this team to victory better."

Trickett and Millard have been the two to emerge in the three-horse race for the starting job, but even though they're still in the middle of the battle for the job, they know that it's just going to who the coaches feel can be that leader.

Of course, they both feel like they have plenty of reason they can claim that title, and both have done enough to prove to the coaches that they could, at least potentially, handle the pressures that come with being the starter every week. They'll likely both get the chance to show that on Saturday against the Tribe.

Holgorsen is hoping that getting them on the field against a different defense will allow them to see a little more separation between Trickett and Millard.

"At this point, they've done nothing to warrant not playing quarterback here," Holgorsen said. "It's going to take some game reps and putting these guys in situations where they have to respond to really know what we're working with.

"The guy that we're going to give the most reps to is going to take care of the ball and make good decisions about handoffs, interceptions and all that."

And when it came to decision making during camp, Holgorsen was quick to point out Millard as being the quarterback who was making the best decisions.

But he also made the worst decisions at times as well, due partially to his "gunslinger" mentality that he came to WVU with from Flower Mound High School. Millard said Tuesday that he had thrown the ball as many as 75 times in a game in high school, and although he won't have to throw it that much at West Virginia, he's started to learn to make better decisions when he does get the chance to throw the ball.

"It's not always about forcing it downfield," Millard said. "Sometimes it's about checking it down and getting as many completions as you can moving the ball forward."

Unlike Millard, who has really only seen action in mop-up duty his first two seasons at West Virginia, Trickett brings some of that in-game experience and has shown the ability to make plays in big games when the pressure is on while playing for Florida State.

He's no stranger to quarterback competition either in those seasons in Tallahassee.

"It's competition," Trickett said. "I don't really look at it as battling against them, I'm battling against the defense. No matter what the other guy does, you've still got to do your job. That's all I'm focusing on."

For both of them, the chance to play quarterback on Saturday, as well as the chance to start down the road this season, is a special opportunity. It's a chance that neither have taken for granted.

It's Millard's chance to take the job that he had set his sights on the minute he walked on campus in 2011 to be Geno Smith's backup.

"I came here early as a freshman and my goal was to be a starting quarterback for the Mountaineers," Millard said. "I'm excited about the opportunity ahead. I'm just ready to go get it."

Trickett was raised in Morgantown and dreamt of getting this chance since the days his dad Rick was on the coaching staff.

But even though there are plenty of emotions going around for both of them, this battle will be figured out on the field. And it's going to come down to one thing.

"Winning, winning, winning," Trickett said. "I can't get caught up in the moment of my first game back home at my dream school and all that. You've just got to get out there and play."

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