Some call him a legend. Some say he’s the best offensive line coach in the country.
Others, particularly Florida State football fans who have seen his units in action over the past five years, believe Rick Trickett may be the only obstacle keeping the Seminoles from competing for a national title.
On special teams, defense and at offensive-skills positions, FSU may have more talent than anyone in the country. Highly-regarded football analyst Phil Steele has FSU listed as the most talented team in the country—No. 1 in defense and No. 3 in special teams.
But he has Trickett’s offensive line rated as 40th in the country. Duke is listed as having a better offensive line than Florida State.
Rick Trickett has performed so poorly on the recruiting trail and as a coach that, in a year in which FSU is being picked by some to win the BCS national championship, his offensive line is not even on par with Duke’s.
Phil Steele, in his power rankings, has FSU at No. 1. This means that, in his opinion (or according to his computers’ algorithms), FSU is simply the best team in the country. But when one crunches the numbers, one sees that FSU has so much talent elsewhere on the team that is bailing out Trickett’s offensive line. Because coaches such as Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran and Greg Hudson have done their jobs and recruited well, Trickett’s failures are being hidden.
Or are they?
What is transparent is that talented high school kids do not want to play for him. Kids who are rated highly by the recruiting services steer clear of Trickett and his zone-blocking scheme—a scheme that is hard to teach and is not widely used in the NFL.
Since 2008, according to ESPN, Trickett has reeled in one player who was considered a top-five prospect at his position: Bobby Hart. However, Hart's development has been so porous and slow that many believe he should be redshirted in 2012. Hart had a tough first year in 2011 and looked lost in the spring game.
Furthermore, Trickett has recently converted a defensive tackle into a left tackle because his offensive line's depth is so terrible. Left tackle is arguably the most important position on the offensive line, and he’s using a recently-converted defensive tackle.
Perhaps he will spin this move into a masterpiece, but it’s doubtful considering his track record.
In 2011, the Seminoles averaged 3.3 yards per carry and allowed 40 sacks. In 2010, the Seminoles averaged 4.8 YPC and allowed 27 sacks. In 2009, the Seminoles averaged 4.6 YPC.
The trend, or the truth, behind the numbers has been the same throughout Trickett's career at Florida State. When the Seminoles play quality teams—or even Jacksonville State—they cannot rush the ball. Against weak teams, their numbers are inflated, which leads to the elevated rushing averages.
And in the ACC, FSU gets plenty of games in which it can pad the numbers.
The season is quickly approaching, but unless something gets fixed on Trickett’s offensive line, FSU fans may be in for another disappointing season. The Crimson Tide have shown what it takes to win BCS championships—an ability to rush the ball.
And FSU, since Rick Trickett has been on board, has not proven that it can rush the ball with any consistency against quality teams.