The Times West Virginian

June 27, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Taking charge key objective for Trickett

By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Everything was seeming perfect in Clint Trickett’s life.

Just a day or so earlier, his coach, Dana Holgorsen, had named him West Virginia University’s starting quarterback entering the 2014 season.

That put an end to any doubt about a lot of things … firstly his health, his surgically repaired rotator cup having improved enough that Holgorsen felt he’d be ready by opening day against that team from down south … what’s its name? Oh, yeah, Alabama.

Then it put an end to any real competition at the position … making sure Trickett didn’t push himself too hard in his recovery battling against Paul Millard, Logan Moore, Skylar Howard or the highly regarded freshman newcomer from Baltimore, William Crest.

And finally, West Virginia finally had a leader, something it lacked badly last year as Trickett was unable to take the reins because his torn rotator cup kept him from doing his job as a healthy Clint Trickett could do it.

Yeah, things were perfect.

He’s spent the spring and summer traveling a lot, went to Florida and saw his dad, the former WVU line coach Rick Trickett now holding the same job for Jimbo Fisher on the national champion Florida State Seminoles team he had transferred away from.

While he was down there it wasn’t all family visiting, though. He did some deep-sea fishing, went to Atlantic City for the first time and says he doesn’t know if he’s going to go back, which might tell you that he didn’t complete many passes at the dice table.

“At least I stayed in Ocean City. That was more my speed,” he said.

He’d also gone to Los Angeles for the national championship game and had traveled some down in Florida to go get his shoulder checked by the noted surgeon who operated upon it, Dr. James Andrews, shoulder doctor to the stars.

“When I was in L.A., I was expecting to see some stars, but when I was in Dr. Andrews’ office I saw more famous people there than when I was in L.A. for a week. To my left was (St. Louis Rams’ offensive tackle) Jake Long, (Denver Broncos’ linebacker) Von Miller, Gronkowski (Rob Gronkowski, Patriots’ tight end), even Terry Bradshaw was there,” he said. “I was star struck. That was pretty cool.”

Now, summer workouts were going full swing and he was getting himself ready for the new year, chasing the Big 12 championship and a master’s degree in communications.

He was ready to move into his new digs in town, having rented a U-Haul and packed it to it’s the top.

“We rented this 26-foot U-Haul, the size of a bus,” Trickett said. “Me and two movers, we packed it up and said, ‘Let’s go.’ Then we couldn’t find the keys. It was a long day. We had to unload it, go through everything until we found the keys, then pack it up again.

“It was a long day and I don’t want to talk about it. It was one of the longer days of my life except for Baylor, that’s for sure,” he added.

But that was last year, and he’s putting it in the past, which is where it belongs as he takes charge of the football team.

Taking charge of the team is what this is all about, for them and for Trickett himself.

“That group, in our minds, needs leadership,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said of the offense and why they opted to name Trickett the starter early in the summer. “They look to him anyway. We felt it was clear cut he can do it. It will give him confidence. When you know you’re the guy, you know you have the confidence of the coaching staff. It changes your demeanor; it changes your attitude. It’s only going to help him.”

Dawson said it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.

“This isn’t something that just happened. We talked about it a long time. There’s no doubt in our mind that he’s the best option,” Dawson said. “This unit, right here, was looking for somebody to be the leader. It’s hard to be the leader when you’re not the starter. You can have all the intangibles in the world, but if you are not the starter you can’t be the leader.”

And Trickett understands that a team needs one quarterback … one man to be the centerpiece, and he also understands that with him being selected as that man he can move forward as a player.

“It’s huge,” Trickett said. “They know who to look to. I don’t have to focus on that. I can worry about getting my game together and not worrying about whether they will make a decision.”

Last year it was different. He couldn’t start working with the team until August and was too busy learning the position, the signals. He was in competition with Millard and Ford Childress for the job.

“Last year in camp we all worried, each of us wanting to win the job. Maybe we worried about that too much instead of getting the team better. We won’t have that problem this year,” he said.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.