The chances of seeing quarterback Ford Childress back at West Virginia looked grim back in January 2014 when word broke he was not enrolled at West Virginia for the spring semester. Childress had been suspended from the program for a violation of team rules, and now he is looking to renew his football playing career at Fresno State.
As first reported by BarkBoard.com, Childress will attempt to walk on to the Fresno State program. Childress is believed to have received interest from Texas and Texas A&M, which would make this a nice pickup for head coach Tim DeRuyter and the Bulldogs. He could also be stepping right into a chance to win a starting job once he becomes eligible to play again. Childress would be available to play this season after sitting out of action for the entire 2014 season. That bodes well for his chances of winning a job as a starter as well, as he will be the oldest quarterback at Fresno State and brings some previous starting experience to the table.
Fresno State is entering another year looking for a way to replace Derek Carr at quarterback. Last season Brian Burrell led the team with 2,690 yards and 22 touchdowns, but he was intercepted 18 times and completed 58.3 percent of his pass attempts. Burrell decided not to return to the football field this fall, leaving Fresno State with redshirt sophomore Zack Greenlee, redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and true freshman Chason Virgil. Greenlee appeared in three games for Fresno State last season, in which he completed 18 of his 41 attempts for 213 yards and a touchdown.
West Virginia’s quarterback depth just got a little bit more shallow for spring practices. According to a report via Twitter, redshirt freshman Ford Childress was suspended from the team and has not enrolled at West Virginia for the spring semester.
The reason for the suspension is unknown at this time, beyond the typical violation of team rules.
A torn pectoral muscle ended the 2013 season for Childress in mid-October. He had appeared in just two games and completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 421 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. West Virginia’s quarterback situation was expected to be a wide open competition in the spring between Childress and returning players Clint Trickett and Paul Millard. That competition appears to have been trimmed to two players with Childress out of the mix.
A third starting quarterback — the first time that’s happened since 1985 — isn’t the only change West Virginia is making ahead of its Big 12 game against Oklahoma State.
Looking to shake up the malaise of a worse-than-it-looks 2-2 start to the 2013 season, Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen listed an astounding 21 changes on his two-deep depth chart released Saturday morning.
In addition to Clint Trickett starting at quarterback in place of the injured Ford Childress, Ivan McCartney will start at wide receiver in place of Kevin White. In last Saturday’s embarrassing 37-0 loss to Maryland, West Virginia completed just one pass to a wide receiver. White is currently tied for third among WVU receivers with nine catches, while McCartney is third in receiving yards with 107 through four games.
Starting left tackle Quinton Spain has been shifted over to left guard, with Nick Kindler taking his starting spot protecting Trickett’s blind side. On the other side of the line, Dontrill Hyman will start at defensive end ahead of Kyle Rose.
Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette also wrote on Twitter that “Doug Rigg to start at Sam, while Jared Barber moves to Will. Nick Kwiatkoski on dress list, but not starting.”
Kwiatkowski is WVU’s leading tackler with 29, and has totaled 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
Most of the other changes to the depth chart involve backups. The Charleston Daily Mail‘s Mike Casazza has the definitive breakdown of all the changes HERE.
Whether or not Holgorsen’s shakeup leads to improvement remains to be seen, but it’s quite clear the head coach is sending a message to his players –and the WVU fan base — that the status quo is simply not acceptable.
UPDATED 11:48 a.m. ET: Kwiatkowski is not playing because of a hamstring injury.
West Virginia will have a new starting quarterback this weekend when the Mountaineers open Big 12 play at home against Oklahoma state. Clint Trickett, who transferred to West Virginia from Florida State, will get the start this weekend.
According to David Ubben of FOXSports.com, Dana Holgorsen announced the quarterback decision on his weekly radio show Thursday evening. Trickett will get the start in part because Ford Childress suffered a torn muscle in his chest in a blowout loss to Maryland in Baltimore last weekend. While Trickett will be the starter for the time being, Holgosen suggested Childress will still be the team’s starter when he is ready to play again.
That is, of course, unless Trickett sparks the offense. West Virginia ranks 109th in scoring offense, 73rd in total offense, 76th in passing and 69th in rushing. The Mountaineers have plenty of room to improve on offense, the numbers show. The offense was thought to be a bit of a work-in-progress for West Virginia, but construction is coming along a little slower than Holgorsen would probably like to see.
Trickett has not seen the field since a week one victory over William & Mary. He will be the third starting quarterback for West Virginia in four games.