WVU football: Arm troubles have not stopped Trickett from running
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Quarterback Clint Trickett's arm hasn't been entirely accurate in his four starts for West Virginia, but his legs are becoming increasingly active.
Trickett has 40 yards rushing the past two games, but that includes 18 yards lost on four sacks. On scrambles or designed runs, he has 11 carries for 58 yards.
"I don't know what the coaches are seeing," he said. "There probably won't be any this week."
In each of the past two games, WVU has called a quarterback draw on third down for Trickett and both times it worked - or should have worked. He picked up the first down against Texas Tech and would have done so against Kansas State had he not fumbled.
"We've had that for a couple of weeks now and we've added some runs for the quarterback," he said. "I question why they're in there. I'm definitely a pocket passer."
Trickett had a six-yard touchdown run for WVU's only touchdown against Kansas State. It was a play action pass with action going to the right that opened up the left side for Trickett.
"It was awful the way I went into the end zone," said Trickett, who was caught between whether he should dive or run across the goal line. "It definitely wasn't Pat White-esque, but it got the job done."
TRICKETT'S ARM and legs will be needed Saturday against TCU, which leads the Big 12 in sacks and interceptions. He's completing only 49 of his passes and was removed in the fourth quarter against Kansas State because he was missing open receivers.
"I've got to be more accurate this game," he said. "There's no room for error. They're fast. They cover well. They close well."
Texas completed 9 of 19 passes against the Horned Frogs last week for 228 yards. The Longhorns had a season-high 12 yards per attempt, five completions of at least 30 yards and three of 40 or more.
"TCU plays great defense," Texas Coach Mack Brown said. "They're going to stack the box, plan man-to-man and really challenge you to go deep. We were fortunate to hit some deep balls on them."
The Horned Frogs also had two interceptions and hadn't allowed more than 9.8 yards per attempt to a team not named Baylor in the past two-plus seasons.
"We've got to take shots," WVU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said. "They're good. Their cornerbacks are good. There's no doubt about that. They're a confident group of good defenders, but we're not going to let that scare us out of taking shots. It can't.
"We're going to take shots, but you can't sit there and have that be all you do. There have got to be certain ways to put the ball in play without throwing it deep every time."
FREE SAFETY Karl Joseph, who led the team in tackles as a freshman last season, is fourth this season with 41, but he's recovered three fumbles, broken up three passes, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass.
All of that's happened as he's played out of position.
"If we had all of our depth where we needed it to be, he'd be our nickel guy," WVU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. "He needs to be down closer to the box. That's where he's really good."
Patterson has used Joseph as a blitzer throughout the season, though he has no sacks and only two tackles for a loss. Patterson said of the Mountaineers could experiment with Joseph at the new position in the spring, but only if they recruit properly and have new and veteran players who can replace Joseph and senior bandit safety Darwin Cook.
"He could be one heck of an outside guy, almost like in the 3-3-5 that old Spur position, because that's what he really is," Patterson said.
FRESHMAN DARRIEN HOWARD, a defensive lineman who arrived on campus late this summer because of an issue with the NCAA's Eligibility Center, made his debut at nose guard against Kansas State. The Mountaineers needed Howard because nose guard Christian Brown is out for the season and defensive end Dontrill Hyman was out with an ankle injury.
"It was a weekly conversation for the coaching staff over the past month of whether or not to play him," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Patterson said Howard will remain in the rotation even when Hyman returns. Patterson said WVU wants to develop Howard as a nose guard for next season to help replace senior Shaq Rowell. Playing will help him get into shape after missing most of preseason camp.
"It's going to help us now, too," Patterson said. "I'll tell you who it's going to help more than anybody is Kyle Rose. Kyle Rose was better because he was outside (against Kansas State). He wasn't having to go back and forth from nose to end, end to nose. It made him much better, and when we get Dontrill back, we'll have two big noses inside to help us."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.