Childress to make QB debut for WVU
frustrated with lack of offensive production
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Redshirt freshman Ford Childress will be the latest quarterback to get his turn at West Virginia.
Coach Dana Holgorsen says Childress will start for the Mountaineers (1-1) in Saturday’s game against Georgia State (0-2).
Childress was the third-string quarterback in the preseason and has yet to play in a game in college. He only recently took a significant portion of first-team snaps during practice.
“We feel like he’s ready,” Holgorsen said. “It’s his job and we’re going to see what he can do.”
Holgorsen has vented his frustration over the lack of efficiency on offense, which was one of the nation’s most prolific a year ago but has stumbled to just 31 points this season.
Paul Millard started the first two games. He generated little offense in a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma last week.
“Seven points is embarrassing,” Holgorsen said. “And we need to fix it.”
West Virginia is listed as a nearly seven-touchdown favorite despite having scored four touchdowns all season.
Childress leapfrogged both Millard and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, who played two series against William & Mary in the season opener, both resulting in punts.
Holgorsen said when Millard and Trickett got most of the snaps in practice, Childress didn’t quit working.
“I loved his attitude on the sidelines last week,” Holgorsen said.
Childress will face a Georgia State team also going through a season of firsts.
The Panthers are debuting in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt Conference.
The Panthers play their home games in the Georgia Dome and will be making their first road trip of the season under new head coach Trent Miles, who spent five seasons at Indiana State.
“I want to see how they react, how we approach it as a business trip,” Miles said. “We’re not going there for fun. We’re not going there to take pictures or be wowed by a crowd.”
Georgia State is a program that is less than a decade old. A program that is transitioning its way from FCS to FBS and Sun Belt Conference member. And, a program that is giving up 36.5 points and 403.5 yards per game.
“They’re a good team,” red shirt sophomore Kyle Rose said. “They’re pretty explosive and have some good skill guys. The line is pretty solid and No. 2 (Albert Wilson) has been making some pretty good plays.
“You can never take a team lightly. Anybody, nowadays, can beat anybody.”
Especially when the offense commits four turnovers like the Mountaineers did in their 16-7 setback at No. 15 Oklahoma.
“Turnovers and penalties hurt us,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “When you get out there and drive down the field to the 10-yard line then fumble the ball, that is not good.
“Ball security has been an issue, and we addressed it over and over. They need to believe in it and in that what we are telling them is true. Other than that, after all the mistakes, we still had an opportunity to win.
“We need to understand that no matter how the game unfolds, you need to make the play at the end of the game to win. Our energy needs to stay up throughout the whole game. Our defense is holding and fighting, and we need to give them a little hope.”
The situation on defense, however, isn’t ‘who wants to play, but who is healthy enough to play’.
“With injuries, we are pretty thin,” Holgorsen said. “Isaiah (Bruce) got nicked up, but he’s fine and day-to-day. Marvin Gross got a lot of game experience, he needs to continue to get better.
“Tyler Anderson gives us reps. Nick Kwiatkoski had another really good game. Jared Barber gets reps. We have bodies there. Brandon Golson had two sacks. He’s going to get better and better. We moved (Eric) Kinsey to the outside, just because he can do things off the edge.
“Plus, Kyle Rose has emerged as a guy who we feel can be a starter. I wouldn’t view it as a troublesome lack of depth. You always lose guys to injury, and I expect every one of those guys to be back, with the exception of Dozie (Ezemma). It’s football, and you’re going to have to play through those things.”
West Virginia will hold its 23rd annual Sports Hall of Fame induction on Saturday prior to the game. Induction ceremonies will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility.
Among this year’s class if former-volleyball coach, and Parkersburg native, Linda Burdette-Good (gymnastics). She is joined in the class by Dale Blaney (men’s basketball), Olivia Bradley (women’s basketball), Dr. Ed Etzel (rifle), Dean Morrison (wrestling), Paul Pipefish (men’s basketball/baseball) and Tom Woodeshick (football).
Jim Butta from The News and Sentinel contributed to this story