Losing a starting quarterback, no matter the level of competition, could take a team from being a contender to one that will have to wait until next year to make a run at championship for their respective program.
The Ohio State Buckeyes, No. 5 in the AP Top 25, have the task of remaining a contender ahead of them this season after losing their senior star quarterback, Braxton Miller, to a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder during a team practice Monday in Columbus.
Like Miller, West Virginia starting quarterback Clint Trickett returns to the team this year off his own right shoulder injury that he suffered in the middle of the second half of the Mountaineers' upset of then No. 11 Oklahoma State last September.
Trickett, coming off his own surgery in January, has added weight to better prepare for opposing defenses, limited his throwing through the summer, but still developing great chemistry with receivers like senior Kevin White during fall camp.
Though, injuries can't be easily predicted no matter how well the coaching and training staff prepares players ahead of a particular game. If Trickett suffered another unfortunate injury, who would take over for the former Florida State transfer at quarterback for West Virginia the remainder of the season?
The obvious choice would be senior quarterback Paul Millard when looking at the roster, who completed 93-of-168 pass attempts for 1,122 yards and six touchdowns through seven games and three starts last year.
Dana Holgorsen added his opinion of Millard last week saying, "Paul looks good. He has been taking reps and is obviously the most game ready."
Serving as backup behind Geno Smith his first two seasons at West Virginia and the inconsistency that plagued the position during last season's 4-8 campaign, Millard hasn't been able to build any momentum as quarterback for West Virginia. Looking closer, Millard, who's played in just 18 games since 2011, has only appeared in more than two consecutive games once during his time in Morgantown.
Instead of Millard, what about skipping ahead and giving the ball to true freshman William Crest? Why not when he is the clear future at quarterback for the West Virginia football program?
Holgorsen mentioned in one of his news conference during fall camp that Crest and fellow prized recruit, Dravon Henry, will forgo being redshirted by West Virginia their freshman seasons.
Compared to Trickett and Millard, Crest certainly lacks experience with the West Virginia offense and the speed of Big 12 football, but his talent can make up the difference to his veteran teammates. Crest's athletic ability gives Holgorsen both a strong-armed quarterback, and brings the versatility to escape the pocket and run for a first down similar to - dare I say - a certain No. 5 that wore the Old Gold and Blue during the 2000s.
While the best option would be a healthy Trickett, Crest could give West Virginia a chance to win and avoid a second straight losing season if Holgorsen needed to make an unwanted change mid-way through the season.