This is an important season for West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, and he announced Tuesday that senior Clint Trickett will be the team's starting quarterback in the Aug. 30 opener against Alabama.
"Clint is 100 percent healthy and is ready to play," Holgorsen said in a release from the school. "He worked hard last season and showed a lot of ability and leadership, and deserves the chance to lead the team as a senior. He will be our starter."
Trickett (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) started seven games last season; it was his first season at WVU following a transfer from Florida State, where his dad, Rick, is the offensive line coach. He threw for 1,605 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions, and completed just 52.8 percent of his passes. He was one of three quarterbacks to start a game for the Mountaineers last season; senior Paul Millard (6-2, 230), who started three times, also returns.
None of the quarterbacks played all that well, one reason WVU finished 4-8 -- the Mountaineers' first losing season since 2001.
Trickett hurt his shoulder in an early-season win over Oklahoma State and never was 100 percent the rest of the way. He sat out spring practice to become completely healthy, and while it's not a surprise that he will start the opener, it is somewhat of a surprise that Holgorsen named him the starter now, before any action in fall drills.
West Virginia has a tough early schedule. After the opener against Alabama in Atlanta, the Mountaineers meet FCS member Towson (which lost in the FCS championship game last season), travel to Maryland (which walloped them last season) and finish the month off against Big 12 favorite Oklahoma. WVU easily could start 1-3 unless the quarterback play improves.
WVU signed two quarterbacks in February; junior college transfer Skyler Howard (6-0, 200) went through spring drills, and touted true freshman William Crest was an offseason arrival. Crest (6-2, 210) is a dual-threat guy who provides much more of a running threat than Trickett, who is strictly a dropback passer. Howard also is a dual-threat quarterback, but he was not highly recruited, choosing WVU over New Mexico State and FCS program Northern Colorado. If everything goes right -- or at least relatively so -- this fall, Crest will redshirt, then truly vie for the starting job in spring 2015.
West Virginia's opener will feature two former Florida State quarterbacks going against each other; Alabama's likely starter is Jacob Coker, who left FSU for the Tide this spring.