Position that needs improvement: West Virginia

This week, we're taking a closer look at one specific area each Big 12 team needs to improve before 2015. We continue the series with West Virginia:

Position to improve: Quarterback

Why it was a problem: Calling the Mountaineers quarterback situation in 2014 a problem is a bit unfair, as WVU’s return to a bowl game would not have been possible without the exploits of Clint Trickett. Yet, at the same time, Trickett shoulders plenty of blame for WVU’s late-season slide. The departed senior was outstanding in WVU wins over Maryland and Baylor, but his interceptions proved too much to overcome during a three-game losing streak to TCU, Texas and Kansas State. In those games, Trickett threw one touchdown and five interceptions. In addition, Skyler Howard replaced Trickett (who was forced to retire due to lingering concussion symptoms) for WVU’s final two games and was solid with back-to-back games with three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

How it can be fixed: It feels like the Mountaineers have the answer on campus with Howard and William Crest among the competitors to take over as the starter in 2015. Howard has experience and ball protection on his side heading into the quarterback derby, but Crest could be the future. The redshirt freshman was WVU’s backup quarterback heading into the 2014 season before an injury forced a redshirt campaign. The Mountaineers also added a pair of quarterbacks in David Sills and Chris Chugunov in their Class of 2015. WVU has some quality options behind center, and it's just a matter of who seizes the opportunity to become the main man.

Early 2015 outlook: Howard or Crest are likely to rise to the top of this quarterback battle. Howard was impressive during his short stint as the starter in 2014, showing the ability to protect the ball and lead WVU to points in a road win over Iowa State and bowl loss to Texas A&M. But all signs point to Crest being the long-term answer at the position, and the future could start as early as this fall. Either way, the starter will be tasked to run the offense efficiently and take care of the football for Dana Holgorsen's offense. One thing is certain: The quarterback position in Morgantown, West Virginia looks a lot better right now than it did 12 months ago.