The ongoing West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback battle just became a little more interesting. On Thursday evening, head coach Dana Holgorsen announced that redshirt freshman Ford Childress would be the starting quarterback against the Georgia State Panthers.
Allan Taylor of WV MetroNews tweeted the announcement and a brief explanation from the WVU head coach:
Holgorsen announces #WVU will start Ford Childress on Saturday vs. Georgia State.— Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) September 12, 2013
#WVU's Holgorsen on Childress: "It's his time. It's his job and we're going to see what he can do."— Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) September 12, 2013
The news comes as a major surprise, considering just one week ago Childress sat at No. 3 on the depth chart and was considered to be the odd man out of the quarterback battle.
Starter Paul Millard and second-string signal-caller Clint Trickett, who are both juniors, were listed as co-starters with an "or" between them on the depth chart.
Just after West Virginia's 16-7 loss to Oklahoma, the Mountaineers reopened the position battle, listing Millard, Trickett and Childress all as possible starters.
The fight for the starting job in Morgantown has been in constant evolution since the departure of Geno Smith, who graduated last year as the school's all-time leading passer and is now the starting quarterback of the New York Jets.
The battle began in the spring with Millard and Childress duking it out, though neither gained separation over spring practice. Additionally, neither put together a particularly impressive performance during the spring game.
Then, shortly after the conclusion of spring practice, Trickett joined the fray as a graduate transfer from Florida State. Since Trickett had already graduated from FSU, he was eligible immediately and had two years to play in Morgantown.
The trio competed throughout the summer and fall, and it appeared as though Trickett was ahead near the end of fall camp.
However, when the season began, the most experienced of the bunch, Millard, was tabbed as the starter.
Millard and Trickett both appeared in WVU's 24-17 season-opening win over William & Mary, though neither was able to generate significant offensive production.
The following week on the road against Oklahoma, Millard carried on as the starter but made some significant mistakes throughout, including burning timeouts early in the third quarter, missing open receivers and then calling a timeout late in the fourth quarter when WVU had none left.
Is this the end of the WVU QB battle?
Millard's errors led to the reopening of the quarterback battle. The selection of Childress further muddles an already perplexing situation; however, it is possible that the reopening of the competition at the beginning of the week gave a newfound boost of confidence to the young Childress.
At 6'5", 234 pounds, the Houston native is by far the biggest of the bunch under center.
Childress joined the Mountaineers in 2012 as a 247Sports composite 4-star out of The Kinkaid School in Houston. According to 247Sports, he chose WVU over Arizona, Arizona State and Florida State.
Long thought to be the future of the program at the quarterback position, Childress now has the opportunity to take over the starting role for good in Morgantown.