MORGANTOWN - Paul Millard is already preparing for life on the West Virginia University football team with quarterback Geno Smith.
As the back-up to the man already being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Millard knows that moment could come at any time, though he hopes that time comes during the 2013 spring practice instead of during the Mountaineers inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference.
"Me, Geno and Ford Childress are pushing each other all summer so we can make each other better," Millard said. "I have to be ready if Geno goes down. I have to work on things and get better, like in my decision making. Geno is going to be gone next year, and there's going to be a big quarterback battle in the spring."
Millard, who left high school in Flower Mound, Texas, a semester early in order to get a jump on college football, played sparingly during the 2011 campaign.
Millard completed seven of his 15 pass attempts, one of which went for a touchdown. He did throw two interceptions.
Millard said being in the offense for a second season has allowed him to become more confident in his ability and more comfortable at his position.
"It's like night and day," he said. "It's good to see yourself progressing. You know what is expected of you, and it makes the game slow down a little."
Despite being from Texas, Millard grew up a Penn State fan. His father attended the school, and his job in the oil and gas industry took him westward. Millard joked that with the oil and gas boom in West Virginia, it may be time for his parents to return east.
But that doesn't mean Millard is not excited about the chance to return to his
home state with the Mountaineers playing in the Texas-heavy Big 12 Conference.
He said he was like a kid on Christmas morning when he heard the news of the conference switch from the Big East to the Big 12 for his WVU team.
"It was crazy," he said. "It was like a dream come true. I know God has a plan for me, and this is cool. I can't wait to go home and play. I have buddies from high school at pretty much every Big 12 school. I love Texas, and I love West Virginia. I can't wait to go back to Texas to play in front of people I know."