The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

September 30, 2013

Trickett finding a home at WVU

MORGANTOWN — It would be wonderful to announce that in finding a quarterback on Saturday during a rather unexpected upset of No. 11 Oklahoma State, Coach Dana Holgorsen had found one with the arm of Geno Smith, the legs of Pat White, the athleticism of Major Harris and the future of Jeff Hostetler.

That, we quickly learned, was not the case, admitted to rather freely by both Holgorsen himself and his latest protégé, Clint Trickett.

In truth, one suspects Holgorsen would love to reinsert Ford Childress at the quarterback spot as soon as his torn pectoral muscle is healed, even if that is as quickly as this week against Baylor, in part because he feels he can best mold him into the quarterback he pictures as potentially the best and, in part, because one must assume that his inability to complete passes or throw them downfield was a result of the injury more than shortcomings that a healthy Childress possesses.

In fact, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson revealed Sunday afternoon that by Tuesday Childress “couldn’t throw a ball 10 feet,” forcing the change of direction.

But even the cocksure Holgorsen would not have the nerve to make such a move in the face of the popularity Trickett procured as the odd-man-out in the quarterback race who came on to make football fun again in his hometown.

See, Trickett didn’t come riding in out of the West wearing a white 10-gallon hat, spurs jingling and jangling and six-shooters blazing as the new Texas image of a quarterback is around these parts. No, it was more as if he showed up straight from the Buckwheat Festival, a miner’s light on his helmet and coal dust dirtying his face.

He came home as a West Virginia quarterback, one whose game wasn’t made for TV but simply to win with.

Trickett realized that this was simply a debut performance by him and the offense, a getting-to-know-you session, nothing like it can be, nothing like it will be.

“Lots of room for improvement,” Trickett said. “We’re never going to be exactly where we need to be. I don’t know the stats offhand, but we’ve got a long way to go, and we can get there. That’s what’s so exciting. We did beat the No. 11 team in the country, but we didn’t play our best at all.”

In assessing his three quarterbacks, Holgorsen had both Childress and Paul Millard ahead of Trickett in the physical assets that come with quarterbacking, but he understands that Trickett brought a certain something to the position that often outweighs ability.

He is a leader, an inspiration. He is what Bobby Layne was back in another era in that regard, and in the way he changes the attitude of a team he is out of the Terry Bradshaw mold in that the entire personality of the offense changed with him in the game.

“It was apparent through the first four games we weren’t really having fun on offense,” he said. “We were pressing and everyone was tense. So I was like, ‘Let’s go have fun. Let’s throw some deep balls. Let’s get it going.’”

This was what offensive football had come to be at WVU, not just under Holgorsen with Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, but before him through the Rich Rod era ... maybe not in throwing the ball around, but in big plays that revved up the fans and the players.

It was the ball Trickett had grown up on, so close and personal that long before he threw his first real touchdown pass on Mountaineer Field to Kevin White on Saturday, he’d thrown hundreds as a kid as his father, Rick, slapped offensive linemen twice his size with his ball cap trying to get them to understand how to block for Steve Slaton.

When he opted to leave Florida State, a decision not difficult to understand having seen the freshman who stood ahead of him for the starting job there, Trickett certainly envisioned coming home and playing, even though he had been promised nothing.

And it wasn’t easy when he managed to play only six plays in the first four games, tough on him and maybe tougher on the fans who fully expected he was brought in to start and saw Holgorsen’s denial of that simply as motivational jabber.

“It was tough,” Trickett admitted. “The media perception and the fans’ perception was that I was immediately going to come in and (win the job). I had chances to do it during camp — and didn’t take it.”

When his real chance came Saturday, however, he took advantage of it, and now it’s probably his job to lose ... and if he beats Baylor no one is going to take it from him.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU depth chart sends messages

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about the depth chart West Virginia University put out at the end of spring practice was that the coaches were able to put out a depth chart, which certainly is an improvement over a year ago when the Mountaineers were really short on quality players.

    April 25, 2014

  • WVU baseball hosts K-State in Big 12 clash

    The West Virginia University baseball team will host Kansas State in a key Big 12 Conference series thisweekend at Hawley Field.
     Game one begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, game two begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday and the first pitch for game three is set for noon on Sunday.

    April 25, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- West Liberty’s Crutchfield not interested in Division I

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coaching job at an NCAA Division I university.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • WVU athletic department to form Fan Experience Committee

    The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is forming a fan experience committee to discuss the needs of Mountaineer fans with the hopes of enhancing the fan experience at its events.

    April 22, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a long-time baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos