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WVU football: QB question still unanswered

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's coaches have made their decision about the quarterback position for Saturday's season opener against William & Mary.

They're going to let Clint Trickett and Paul Millard make up their minds in the game instead of referring to the practices preceding it.

Coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson have no other plan for the game that begins at noon at Mountaineer Field (Fox Sports 1).

If one starts the game and leads the offense right down the field without any trouble?

"He might stay in," Dawson said. "I have no idea how the game is going to go, quite honestly. I told them since the day camp started it's up to them to make the decision more than it's up to us. Whoever wants to take hold of it and run with it, we're more than happy with that."

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HOLGORSEN AND Dawson have never split the job among quarterbacks and they're not exactly interested in learning how to do it. Dawson said the Mountaineers haven't sought advice from friends in the business about how to manage the situation.

Not that it would help, anyway. The fixes found at other places aren't guaranteed to work at WVU and with different players and personalities.

"Every team is different, every year is different," Dawson said. "We're making decisions off what this year's team is. We're trying to figure out who can lead this team to victory better. With that being said, I think the whole dynamic is different every year, too. We're dealing with a whole new group. In a lot of ways, there are more question marks than at quarterback."

* * *

HOLGORSEN AND and Dawson are enjoying a different attitude about their inside receivers. Two weeks ago, they criticized the players for not being as far along as they needed to be, but Holgorsen said Monday the Mountaineers can count on four players there.

Sophomore Jordan Thompson, junior college transfer Mario Alford, redshirt freshman Devonte Mathis and freshman Daikiel Shorts are expected to play and WVU will also use tight end/fullback Cody Clay and some running backs there.

"Moving Daikiel inside was helpful," Dawson said of the 6-foot, 200-pound true freshman who enrolled in January and had been an outside receiver. "That really made us feel comfortable about somebody at inside receiver. That kid is solid beyond his years as far as maturity goes."

There's even a new level of confidence beyond Shorts. Mathis had been Shorts' backup, but Dawson said he's played well at the second inside position. He said Alford is coming along as he battles a foot injury and the volume of things he's had to learn in his month on campus.

"They've been doing well lately," Dawson said. "Mario's a talented kid, but the learning curve is different for certain people. He's been banged up in camp, so it's not really fair to him to say he's not doing this or doing that. He just hasn't been healthy and I understand that."

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SENIOR PAT Eger doesn't have a spot on the offensive line. He has three. Or four. Maybe five.

Eger experimented at center before injuring an ankle in spring football. He practiced at guard and tackle in camp, but has focused recently on guard. He hasn't stopped snapping and could play center in a tight spot.

"It's nice to be able to understand the entire concept, all the plays, all the different responsibilities and how everything works at every position," he said. "Anywhere I can go to help this team achieve its goals, that's what I'm going to do. If they want to line me up at tight end and go out and run routes, hey, if that helps, that's what I'll do.

"Wherever they put me, I'll be ready to go. Obviously, being able to play more positions is going to help us in the long run. It's a long season and we'll need the depth."

It seemed Eger was in line to start at center during the spring, but that belongs to redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky. Eger had started at right tackle 18 times in his career, including six times last season, but junior Quinton Spain has the starting job on the left side and senior Curtis Feigt is starting on the right.

Even though Eger had played tackle, he has practiced at guard throughout his career because of persistent depth issues, and he played there late last season with a start at right guard in the Pinstripe Bowl. Yet junior college transfer Mark Glowinski is starting at right guard. That leaves the 6-6, 305-pound Eger battling sophomore Marquis Lucas at left guard.

Eger vows to be a factor, if not in versatility, than innovation.

"We get down to the goal line, they say No. 76 is eligible, I get out there and catch a little pass for my first college touchdown," he said. "I always said if there's a fumble inside the 10-yard line, I'm scooping and scoring. They always tell us to fall on it. I'm scooping and scoring."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.

 


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