The Rick Trickett experiment has been a complete failure, and it’s holding FSU back from winning a national title.
The tough-as-nails former Marine was ushered into Tallahassee to make things happen on the offensive line—Trickett was going to coach his boys up and dominate the ACC. The celebrated and legendary offensive line coach out of West Virginia was expected to be the next great coordinator at Florida State.
Quite the opposite has happened.
For six straight years, Trickett’s offensive lines have been abused and manhandled by any team with a pulse. Against good teams, his offensive lines get thrashed. Against great teams, his offensive lines get emasculated. These facts are available in FSU’s archives and can be seen by watching replays of the games.
What’s misleading about Trickett—or what seems to create a type of confusion among FSU fans—is that his offensive lines have the luxury of playing in the ACC, a conference that is pretty much the laughingstock of college football.
In other words, Trickett’s success (or whatever keeps him from being fired) is intimately linked to the competition FSU faces. The only times his offensive lines grab any measure of success is when they are playing against ACC bottom-dwellers like Duke. (I would include Wake Forest here, but just two seasons ago, Wake’s 5’11" nose guard, Nikita Whitlock, thrashed Trickett’s unit.)
He inflates his numbers against extremely inferior teams. Against FCS and terrible ACC competition, which are often on FSU’s schedule, Trickett’s units perform well, thus allowing for year-end rushing averages and sack numbers to be almost acceptable. Against Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina—any team with average or above-average talent—his units get humbled—and very quickly.
What stings is that everything else is in place. The depth chart at every other position on the team looks championship-caliber. The defense is filled to the spout with blue chip players, as is the offense at all the skill positions. And this is why the Trickett situation is such a source of tension.
Why is Trickett single-handedly allowed to hold the team back every year? If Jimbo Fisher is truly chasing a national championship or trying to get FSU back into the discussion, why exactly does he allow his offensive line to be such an underachieving unit? FSU’s football team is becoming so lopsided in talent—talented everywhere except at the offensive line—that it makes one wonder what exactly is going on behind the scenes.
Trickett’s recruiting is really the source of the chaos. Good players do not want to play for him. This is evidenced in every recruiting cycle. He gets no talent. Nor does he magically create talented players—convert his 2- and 3- star players into superstars—something that is supported by the fact that he has zero offensive linemen starting in the NFL.
I understand that coaches recruit different regions, but players ultimately meet with their future positional coaches, and this is where there seems to be breakdowns in communication. They meet Trickett, and then they sign with other teams.
Fisher is without question trying to build a dynasty—again, this is clear by the amount of talent he has stockpiled everywhere else on the team—but it seems like that is going to be merely a dream as long as Trickett continues to hold the team back with poor recruiting and his producing finesse units that get obliterated against good defenses.
I cannot imagine what Alabama would have done to Trickett’s line in the title game—and therein lies the problem: If FSU wants to have any chance of playing for and possibly winning at national championship, which should be the goal every single year, the status quo on the offensive front cannot continue.
Fisher needs to correct the gap in talent—or fix the circus known as the Rick Trickett experiment. Otherwise, FSU will continue to see its national title dreams slip away at the line of scrimmage.