We have, understandably, a fixation on the quarterbacks at WVU this spring. It’s the marquee position in college football and when you’re playing it for Dana Holgorsen in the Big 12 Conference, the interest is a little more intense.
Add the slight-until-it’s-August-and-then-holy-crap sensation you get when you realize how thin the receiving corps is and that intensity is upped a little bit.
Nothing new in there, even if this is a newish experience for the Mountaineers.
We haven’t seen a quarterback competition here since 2005, when Adam Bednarik seemed a more capable and ideal fit than a freshman from Alabama. Bednarik could wiggle, but he could spin it, too, which when combined with an experience edge made him the proper selection.
He gave way to the freshman from Alabama and Pat White did Pat White stuff the next three-and-a-half seasons … in large part because he could wiggle better than he could spin it. It revolutionized Rich Rodriguez’s offense, and some would say the college game, too.
Well, here we are, eight springs later as Paul Millard (-130) and Ford Childress (+120) are vying to start for Holgorsen’s decidedly pass-first offense, and I think it’s fair to say there’s an unknown involved here and that it has fans a little, um, curious.
And in the background, there again is a freshman who wiggles better than he spins, but who is here for a reason. Chavas Rawlins is not ready to play this season. Barring injury, he won’t. The same might be true again next season.
Yet Holgorsen didn’t sign off on recruiting a player who doesn’t look or play like the others have at that position in his offense for lack of explanation. A swift, slick, mobile — Read: not “running” — quarterback can play in the offense without demanding a redesign of the offense.
Rodriguez didn’t have to reconstruct his offense when he featured White. The same would be said of Holgorsen. The offenses are similar in that they can accommodate a Bednarik and a White, a Millard/Childress and a Rawlins.
We don’t know who’s going to start for WVU and we don’t know that decision might affect the runner-up, but we do know the proliferation of Holgorsen’s offense in the form of peer impressions has made defenses much more aware of it and intent on stopping it.
True, people have been studying it for more than a decade and Holgorsen and all the other architects have been able to develop and diversify to maintain a lead. But suppose one day Rawlins or someone like him is ready? Are you, or is Dana, ready to run in a new direction?