FSU Cannot Compete for a National Title with Clint Trickett at Quarterback

ABCCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2013

Must I really be the first one to write about the obvious?

Clint Trickett, the son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett and the 83rd-ranked quarterback prospect in his recruiting class of 2010 (per ESPN.com), will never lead FSU to a national title—he’s undersized, slow, inaccurate and has poor arm strength.

I’m not even sure why he’s on the team and am especially flummoxed as to why the 83rd-ranked quarterback prospect in the country was offered a scholarship by a recruiting giant like FSU.

How does Florida State University go from field generals like Brad Johnson, Charlie Ward, Danny Kannell, Chris Weinke, and Christian Ponder to Clint Trickett?

I don’t know, but I do know this: Jimbo Fisher has a mess on his hands. The FSU fanbase—or at least most of it—will implode if Clint Trickett becomes the starting quarterback.

What makes this complicated is that it screams of nepotism. One of Jimbo Fisher's responsibilities as head coach is to recruit the most talented players in the country--it's part of why he's paid millions of dollars. He's not going to land the most talented quarterback every year, but it's absurd to think that Clint Trickett was the best QB prospect FSU could land in 2010. This mess falls squarely on the shoulders of John James Fisher.

Readers not familiar with the mess brewing in Tallahassee must be wondering, "If Clint is so terrible and these backups are so great, what is there to worry about? Why is Clint not getting ready for another year of holding clipboards and relaying signs to legitimate quarterbacks?"

It’s because he’s a year ahead of Coker, two years ahead of Winston and he knows the playbook very well. His playbook knowledge is truly the source of all the chaos.

No one believes Trickett can stay healthy for a full season of college football. A badly injured EJ Manuel had to replace him when he was knocked silly against bottom-dwelling Wake Forest in 2011.

But, if his knowing the playbook is just enough to get him the starting gig, the more talented (but still raw) quarterbacks on the sidelines—Winston, Coker and Maguire—will have to wait until Trickett either gets knocked out or underperforms to the point where he is relegated to bench status.

Both scenarios seem inevitable.

Clint looked underwhelming in mop-up duties over the past two years and I just cannot see his diminutive frame taking the pounding of Division 1 football. But waiting until one of these scenarios unfolds will hurt FSU’s chances at a national title.


Fisher needs to anticipate these scenarios and resort to baptism by fire. Winston, Coker or even Sean Maguire should start the season as the first-string quarterback. The first few weeks of the schedule will have FSU pitted against weak opponents and it would be a perfect stretch for one of these talented quarterbacks to shore up any shortcomings they have.

Winston, Coker and Maguire may be green, but they at least have the potential to make the 2013 Seminoles a serious contender for the BCS National Championship. They are not high-risk quarterbacks who, on any given play, can easily get knocked out.

Part of this is Jimbo’s fault. Was Clint Trickett really the best quarterback FSU could find in 2009? Part of this is bad timing. If Winston or Coker or Maguire had been recruited the same year Clint was, there wouldn’t be a problem here.

However, it really doesn’t matter. FSU is facing a controversial dilemna, and it won’t be resolved until Fisher makes the appropriate changes to his depth chart.