Unlike our own Adam "Viva Las Vegas" Kramer, I'm no point-spread guru. That said, it would appear Vegas thinks West Virginia, a nearly three-touchdown underdog, according to VegasInsider.com, needs all the help it can get on Saturday when it plays Oklahoma on the road.
As we've noted before on the Big 12 blog, there's more reason for concern than optimism right now when it comes to the Mountaineers. One of the biggest disappointments from WVU's Week 1 win over William & Mary was the short appearance from the Florida State transfer, quarterback Clint Trickett.
Trickett played just two series in the first half—a pair of three-and-outs. He took a sack, failed to complete a pass and almost had one picked off. Junior Paul Millard, who got the start for WVU against the Tribe, took the rest of the snaps for the game.
Suffice to say that Millard is the starter for Dana Holgorsen, but that doesn't mean Trickett is out of the rotation just yet.
“I still think Clint brings something to the table that Paul doesn’t, so we will continue to rep Clint,” Holgorsen said Monday during the Big 12 coaches' teleconference.
And what Trickett does bring to the Mountaineers is prior experience against Oklahoma. As a Seminole, Trickett played against the Sooners in 2011 when then-starter EJ Manuel left the game with a shoulder injury. Trickett had his share of struggles that night, but connected on a long touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that would tie the game (OU would go on to win, 23-13).
“(Trickett) has played against Oklahoma before, and he knows what kind of speed that they have, what kind of athletic ability that they have," Holgorsen said via Allan Taylor of WVMetroNews. "He’s been in that situation before, so I think he’ll help us from a maturity standpoint and being able to move the ball if we need to.
“We’ve just got to continue to rep him. He doesn’t understand the offense as well as Paul.”
The proverbial light isn't going to suddenly turn on in a week's time either. But if Millard struggles to move the ball, Trickett will likely see some playing time.
Will Trickett's past experience actually help West Virginia against the Sooners, though? Yes and no. He's seen OU live and in color, but keep in mind that when Trickett played against OU in 2011, Brent Venables (now at Clemson) was the defensive coordinator. Now, it's Mike Stoops.
Stoops did a great job in Week 1 of bringing pressure from a variety of different spots in a shutout win over Louisiana-Monroe. Conversely, West Virginia still struggled at times protecting the quarterback against William & Mary.
And familiarity with an offense—or the opposing team—means little if you're running for your life. Ultimately, this feels like a game that favors OU across the board. Who takes snaps at quarterback for WVU probably won't do much in the way of changing that.
Ben Kercheval is the Lead Writer for Big 12 Football. All quotes obtained firsthand, unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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