Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor are all replacing quarterbacks following graduation while Texas Tech and TCU are the only schools in the Big 12 returning established signal callers.
That brings us to West Virginia and Skyler Howard.
As the Mountaineers begin spring practice this Sunday, Howard is the leader in the clubhouse, and the only true quarterback with extended game experience. If there was a silver lining to Trickett going down, it was the valuable live game experience against Big 12 and SEC talent.
Those live game reps have Howard ahead of the pack heading into Sunday.
“Skyler did a great job toward the end of the year gaining some experience, which is going to do nothing but get him ahead of everybody else,” Holgorsen said.
In 2014, Howard finished the year 56 of 110 for 829 yards, 8 touchdowns and no interceptions, while adding 140 yards on the ground averaging 6.4 yards per run.
When you look at the offense of Dana Holgorsen, most expect the air raid style of throwing the football 50 times a game. While that style is still in his back pocket, Holgorsen understands he needed to adapt to the defenses of the Big 12.
Most are now going an athletic quarterback who can hurt you with his arm, but hurt you with his feet. This dual-threat brings added pressure to defenses and gives coordinators more to prepare for.
With Howard, you can also add David Sills, William Crest and Chris Chugunov to that list.
Holgorsen, for the first time since his arrival at West Virginia has depth at the quarterback position. While Howard is running the first team offense, others are waiting for their opportunity.
“Right now, Skyler Howard is running with the ones at the quarterback position,” Holgorsen said. “He’s the one that understands what to do. We’ve got three freshman behind him. All three are very promising. I can’t wait to get out there and start working with them.”
Looking at the past, quarterbacks in the offense not only understood the offense and what Dana wanted, but they were on the same page. In this offense, communication is key, and it sounds like Holgorsen and Howard are on the same page.
“Skyler is the one who runs things much better because he has a few games under his belt.” Holgorsen said.
While Howard is leading the show right now, competition breeds competition, and it’s a long way until Georgia Southern on September 5th.
Article Photos Courtesy USA Today