On Monday, Head Coach Dana Holgorsen made it clear that West Virginia would be opening the quarterback competition. Although it will be the most talked about change to the offense, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson says it's the same as any other position.
Dawson says he will be repping all three quarterbacks this week.
"We got a good group out there and it's no different at quarterback than it is at receiver," he said. "If a guy's not playing well and we evaluate that a change needs to be made, then we'll make the change."
The three options for the Mountaineers' offensive coordinator are junior Paul Millard, junior transfer Clint Trickett or redshirt freshman Ford Childress. Because of the lack of experience, Dawson says things are wide open.
"We don't have a guy with a lot of banked hours of doing it right," he said. "With that being said, when you got capable guys in the room, then you're going to give other guys opportunities. That's just the way it is."
"We're going to find out who wants to play and who doesn't want to play."
Despite the struggles last week against Oklahoma, Dawson says he, too, feels like the offense is very close to reaching its potential. The biggest obstacle is turnovers.
"You get the ball down to the ten (yard line) and (Kevin White) fumbles. That's not good," he said. "Ball security has been an issue; we've addressed it over and over. It's just something they got to believe in. They got to believe what we're telling them is true and to secure the football."
Even with turnovers and penalties, West Virginia was right in the game at the end. And with that, Dawson says the offense needs to step up and finish things off.
"Even after all the mistakes and penalties and all that, we still had an opportunity to win the game," he said. "We got to understand that no matter how the game unfolds, sometimes you're going to win ugly. Sometimes you got to make the play at the end and win."
Much was made about the fact that running back Dreamius Smith only touched the ball one more time after his 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The focus was on his lack of blocking ability, but running backs coach JaJuan Seider says other factors came in to play, too.
"He had one (missed) block that we put more emphasis on than we probably should have," said Seider. "It wasn't that, though. He cramped up in the third quarter was more of the reason why he wasn't playing."
To improve his playing time, Seider does admit that Smith needs to eliminate those mistakes.
"He’s getting better," said Seider. "You watch the way he’s running, he’s running with more power, more pressure. Now he’s starting to understand he needs to block the same way."
While the quarterback and receiver positions are receiving major overhauls and running backs will continue to rotate, there was only one change on the offensive line - Pat Eger will now start at center.
"He's made improvement and he kept practicing it and he just improved all around," said offensive line coach Ron Crook when asked about the decision.
He admits that Eger may still move around on the line during the game, partially because he still has confidence in former starter and redshirt freshman, Tyler Orlosky.
"I don't have any concerns with Tyler whatsoever," said Crook. "This is a thing that Pat's been working for and he's earned the right (to start)."
EerSports' Alissa Hudak contributed to this article.
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