That might be true, or it might be true that Dawson doesn't know that for sure.
He and the Mountaineers never got an extended look at Childress, a player the staff spent a lot of time and energy recruiting out of Houston two years ago and a redshirt freshman they were patient with at the start of the season to make sure he didn't play before he was fully prepared.
The Mountaineers have seen Millard for three seasons, 17 games, three starts, seven fumbles, six interceptions and four lost fumbles. They've seen Trickett start six straight games in his first season after playing two seasons as a backup and spot starter at Florida State, but he's also struggled to learn what's supposed to be an offense that's easy to consume and command.
What WVU knows of Childress is that he can light up an overmatched Georgia State and he is probably too proud to admit limitations when he's injured early in a start he'd worked so hard and so long to earn. Other than that, the Mountaineers know very little about the 6-foot-5, 235-pound son of former NFL all-pro Ray Childress.
"He's really the unknown factor in the deal because never got a chance to play," Dawson said.
Despite attempts to rehabilitate the injury and make it back in time to play again this season, Childress, who was in uniform two weeks ago against Kansas, won't play against Iowa State. Yet he still may be the future of the position because the Mountaineers thought and still think very highly of Childress, his skill and his potential, which flashed with a freshman record 359 passing yards and three scores against Georgia State.
"This is what I'll say about that: We started him against Georgia State for a reason," Dawson said. "We started him for a reason. At that point and with what he was doing, we thought dumping the reps on him was the best thing."
Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads, who has dealt with quarterback issues all season, has already named Saturday's starter, Grant Rohach, the first-team quarterback for the start of spring practice based on Rohach's play in his three starts. The Mountaineers are nowhere near the same luxury, but they are in no less need of such certainty and sooner rather than later.
Millard, Trickett and Childress can all come back next season. WVU also has a commitment from Baltimore quarterback William Crest in the 2014 recruiting class and is apparently in search of more help. Junior college quarterback Skyler Howard is supposed to visit WVU next weekend.
"We're not going to be as good offensively as we need to be leadership-wise or with consistency until we have one guy to look to that is the guy that leads this team," Dawson said. "That's a fact."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.