Yesterday we posted why Clint Trickett isn't the right choice to lead the Mountaineers against Alabama, here's our own rebuttal.
Make no mistake Clint Trickett will probably not go down as one of the best quarterbacks to suit up for WVU, but he is the quarterback on the current roster most likely to deliver a victory against the Crimson Tide. Trickett gets knocked on because of his size and his performance last year, but I am squarely in the camp that both those criticisms are unfair. Trickett does not necessarily look the part of gunslinger, but the reality is that he does possess good arm strength and is willing to throw the deep ball. If you have doubts check out this 57-yard bomb from his days with FSU:
Trickett's performance was shaky last year, but there were a number of factors that contributed to that shakiness. First, in his first action of the year Trickett got injured. Trickett was recently asked how many days he was in "severe pain" following the injury and his answer was "Just about everyday from then on." This year Holgorsen has declared that Trickett is healthy and ready to go.
Second, just about every quarterback and skill player on WVU's offense were playing together for the first time last year: Trickett, Millard, Childress, Thompson, Alford, White, Carswell, Sims, Smallwood, Smith, etc. the list goes on. This year you have skill position players who have actually played together. No matter how much talent you have it takes time to gel. Just ask the Miami Heat.
Third, not only were those players playing together for the first time the majority of them were in their first year in Holgorsen's offense. This year Trickett and the others have another year of that offense under their belt, and for the first time this summer the NCAA is allowing coaches to meet with the players during the offseason for coaching. In my view this should be a boon to Trickett's fall performance.
Fourth, and lastly, the quarterback music chairs never allowed Trickett to play with full confidence. Not only was he unable to play with full confidence, but he was therefore not given the opportunity to establish a leadership role with the team allowing the other players to establish continuity with Trickett. By naming him starter Trickett does not have to look over his shoulder and the other players will get the opportunity to rally around him.
Now that we have evaluated all the reasons Trickett will be better, and is the right choice let's look at the other options at WVU. Paul Millard probably has the best grasp of the offense, but as we have seen through the years he simply lacks the physical ability to make the plays needed. He does not appear able to beat a defense with his arm or his legs.
Skyler Howard is not the answer. We can only speculate on what he will become, but he was wildly unimpressive in the spring game. Howard has also not played one single game against real competition. William Crest and Logan Moore also share that last distinction with Howard. While I am optimistic about Crest's future I am not anxious to see Howard or Crest debut against Alabama. Yeah, Bama may have lost some starters but let's be real: their backups are probably going to fill in more then nicely for the departed players. A quarterback in his first year of Holgorsen's offense going against a perennially elite defense in their first games against real college competition would have been a disastrous move.
Simply put, starting Trickett against Alabama is a no brainer. He is the most proven of the bunch, has experience with the offense, has won the big game and displayed the arm to operate Holgorsen's offense.