MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Perhaps it's too simple to discuss West Virginia's expansive offensive problems this season and say things could have been very different if there was just one quarterback.
After all, this is a 4-7 team that's had interchanging issues with protecting the passer and catching passes, with blocking on the line and blocking on the perimeter, with running the ball and running routes and with simply protecting the football.
But it's probably true.
"I would hope to think that, but I can't give a 100-percent answer to that," West Virginia offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said. "You'd hope that consistency at a lot of positions would make us better, but it's important at that position and it makes it tough to be a consistent offense without it. I'd like to think that'd be so, but I'm not going to sit here and give you a definite yes.
"Put it this way: If I had my options, I would rather have that."
Instead, the Mountaineers spent this final week of the season trying to pick a starting quarterback again. Whether because of injury or ineffective play, they did the same thing before the opener against William & Mary and before games against Georgia State, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas. Either Paul Millard or Clint Trickett will start Saturday's 4 p.m. game against Iowa State (2-9, 1-7) at Mountaineer Field.
The game will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
WVU is 2-4 with Trickett as the starter, 1-2 with Millard as the starter and 1-1 with Ford Childress as the starter. Millard lost his spot before the third game of the season to Childress, who tore his right pectoral muscle in a loss to Maryland and lost his spot to Trickett, who was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion against Texas and lost his spot to Millard against Kansas.
"It's hard because you're never going to point the finger at a kid, but everybody sees it," said running backs coach JaJuan Seider, a former WVU quarterback. "We've got deficiencies that we've got to work on in the offseason. That's with continuity, being around each other, being a vocal leader at that position. That's the key, especially in this offense.
"We're only as good as the quarterback. We've got the best running backs you probably can have under Dana Holgorsen in this offense. But when you don't have consistency at that position, it hurts you. We know it. Those guys know it. They take pride in it. They don't want to be out there and let the team down."
The Mountaineers (4-7, 2-6) were in a similar spot with the three quarterbacks back in August, when Millard beat out Trickett and Childress was said to need more time, which would up being two weeks.
"I don't know if I feel better about it, but I do feel like our room needs to be a lot more consistent," Dawson said. "I need to do a better job getting them prepared and obviously they need to do a better job carrying over to the field the leadership we need out of that room.
"What we really need to focus on is that whenever things went bad, that's the guy who needs to be the spark plug, that's the guy that needs to be the catalyst to overcome the adversity. Right now, we don't have that."