March 10, 2014

Millard Looking to Add Versatility

Major Harris. Rasheed Marshall. Pat White.

All three of the aforementioned quarterbacks have a lot in common, but one distinct feature of their game really set them apart from their signal caller comrades - their feet.

In recent history, West Virginia football has gained quite the reputation for its continuous production of mobile quarterbacks. Dating back to the days of Harris in the late 1980s, few schools have displayed a crop of scramblers on the level of those in Morgantown, with only a few years in the span breaking the trend.

Last season, however, proved to be one of those years. While Clint Trickett tried his best at times to use his wheels in moving the offense, none of quarterback trio in 2013 lived up to the now-common expectations many have come to expect from Mountaineer passers.

Entering 2014, the roster is shifting once again in that historical direction. With the addition of mobile quarterbacks in freshman William Crest and JUCO transfer Skyler Howard, it appears that Coach Dana Holgorsen is looking to continue the trend - a trend that is quickly dominating the quarterback position throughout much of college football.

But even with the versatile Crest and Howard joining the roster, the current quarterbacks are not giving up hope just yet. Senior Paul Millard, a prototypical pocket passer from the gunslinger environment in Texas, is even coming to grips with this realization.

In fact, adding a bit of speed to his game has been a large focus of off-season work for the veteran West Virginia quarterback.

"Running for touchdowns, that's what we're trying to do here," Millard said. "I did it in high school. Haven't done it in college yet, but this could be the year."

Following the season-ending loss to Iowa State last November, Millard admits that he gained a bit of weight over the short holiday break. To counteract this, and gain more maneuverability in his game, the quarterback wants to lose this and then some in an effort to accomplish this lofty goal.

"I've gained about 10 pounds since last year," he explained. "I definitely want to lose a little more weight and be a little more mobile. I'm trying to lose a little more weight, but it's going to be tough. But we're trying to lose 10 more pounds, and we should be good."

Perhaps it is the added competition at the quarterback position that is truly pushing Millard to the limit in what will be his final collegiate season. Battling with the mobile Crest and Howard, along with the returning Trickett, the senior is looking for every advantage he can to earn this starting nod.

"Of the two guys they brought in this year, both of them are more mobile guys," Millard said. "The game's changing and I definitely want to be able to move better."

But there is one area where Millard has a definite advantage over his competitors - experience, particularly in this situation. After battling with Trickett and the now-departed Ford Childress last year for the starting nod, Millard knows what the coaches will be looking for entering this season. And with this in mind, the senior is hoping that an added wrinkle or two in his game could help push him over the top behind center when the offense takes the field August 31 against Alabama.

"That's the way it was last year, and this year you've got to expect anything," Millard said. "You've got to go out there and compete when you get your chance and see how it plays out."

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