Back At It

Back At It

Through the first six games of the 2013 season, there seems to be a recurring theme each week for the West Virginia football team.

It feels like every week, at least since Big 12 Conference play has started, West Virginia finds itself facing another undefeated team ranked in the top 20. And more often than not, that team's coach - in one way or another - has some kind of connection to WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen or someone else on the coaching staff.

This week's showdown against Texas Tech will be no different.

The Red Raiders come into the game at 6-0 and are No. 16 in the most recent Associated Press poll following last week's victory against Iowa State.

Tech's first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury was a quarterback in Lubbock when Holgorsen was on the coaching staff. But the Mountaineer head coach said that they'll put all personal connections aside on Saturday.

"There's a lot of carryover in the Big 12 when it comes to that stuff," Holgorsen said. "We don't think too much about it. We try to worry about our team.

"That sentimental side, the personal side, typically doesn't exist."

Much like they did in the past with former head coach Mike Leach, Texas Tech is making a name for itself as one of the nation's best passing offenses. But with an injury to freshman starter Baker Mayfield, the Red Raiders have had to start looking to backup Davis Webb to lead the way offensively.

He answered the call against the Cyclones, throwing for 415 yards and three touchdowns, but it's the emergence of the Texas Tech running game that has started to pace the offense and make it even more successful in recent weeks.

With Mayfield out and a backup in, the running back duo of Kenny Williams and DeAndre Williams combined to carry the ball 30 times for 168 yards and two scores.

Holgorsen says it's that kind of balance that has made the type of offense both teams run so difficult to stop in recent years.

"It's always been something that's been in the offense to be able to try to focus on, and he's got two quality backs," Holgorsen said. "I'd give them the ball a good bit as well. It's been in the offense, they've been wanting to do it. It just looks like it's been more successful here over the last couple of weeks."

And while Texas Tech is looking to get it starter healthy, WVU is trying to do much of the same at the quarterback position as two of its three quarterbacks who have started two games this season are nursing injuries that have been bothering them the last few weeks.

Junior Clint Trickett, who has started the last two games for the Mountaineers, did not practice during the bye week due to a shoulder injury. Redshirt freshman Ford Childress has been dealing with a torn pectoral muscle and started taking more reps in practice last week, but Holgorsen still isn't sure until they practice if either quarterback will be ready for Saturday.

"Hopefully we're in better shape this week than we were last week with it," Holgorsen said. "Once we get out there, we'll be able to gauge it. They say they feel better, but feeling better and going out there and being able to throw 250 balls and running an offense is a different story."

Since the Baylor game, junior Paul Millard - who started the first two games of the year and completed 8 of 13 passes for 115 yards and two scores against the Bears - has been West Virginia's lone healthy quarterback.

And Holgorsen said that, although one of the other two could start if they're healthy enough, it's pretty likely that Millard will not just be relegated to the sidelines full-time.

"I know what I'm getting with Paul. Paul's going to practice great, he's going to run the offense," Holgorsen said. "I feel like the other two guys need to continue to rep to see what they can bring to the table.

"With that said, I don't think we've seen the last of Paul Millard."

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