Shannon Dawson: 'I don't know that I've ever been 100 percent pleased with any quarterback'
There may not be a bigger experience gap in college football from the fall of 2012 to the spring of 2013 than the quarterback position at West Virginia. Gone is Geno Smith, whose 998 career completions on 1,465 attempts for 11,662 yards and 98 touchdowns in 44 games placed him among the NCAA's top four active passing leaders upon his departure from Morgantown. Attempting to fill Smith's void are junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress, whose 34 combined career attempts fall six passes below an average game for Smith. Needless to say, the pair have some Shaquille O'Neal-sized shoes to fill.
In a time of year when many coaches like to slow-play any issues that may bother them, West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was honest in his assessment with the Mountaineers' spring game approaching next Saturday.
"They still make inexperienced mistakes every day and the only way you can correct that is experience, reps...It's probably at this point a lot more bad than good, that's just the way it is," he said. "They're growing. They're learning. To expect them to be in a situation right now where they need to go out there and perform on a Saturday, we're not there yet and I think everybody understands that we're not there yet. We're dealing with guys that are inexperienced.
"Thank goodness for spring ball, right? 15 practices, we'll take them. We're not in any hurry to get on the field Saturday yet. Let's take the spring practices slowly."
The comfort for Millard and Childress comes in Dawson's perpetual unsatisfaction. The coach who led top five offenses at Division III Millsaps (Miss.) and FCS Stephen F. Austin before taking over West Virginia's top 10 offense last season wanted more out of those groups, too.
"I would hope they would be 100 percent completions every period," Dawson said when asked what he was looking for out of his quarterbacks. "You strive for perfection. That's what you strive for. I don't know that I've ever been 100 percent pleased with any quarterback, to be 100 percent honest with you. That's just the way it is. They're not where they need to be right now. To answer your question - I don't know how to answer it other than to say I'm not even close to being satisfied."