Alabama, West Virginia in Week 1 Could Be Showdown of Two Ex-FSU QBs

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterJanuary 27, 2014

West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett (9) avoids the pass rush in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State in Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)
Tyler Evert/Associated Press

The "competitive nature" of West Virginia's Week 1 game against Alabama remains to be seen. Still, there's a potentially interesting storyline for next season's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. 

With ex-Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker officially signing with Alabama—he will enroll later this year after graduating from FSU in May—the Tide and Mountaineers will have a former Seminole on their respective rosters. 

It's the second year in a row a Florida State quarterback sitting behind Jameis Winston has transferred from the program. Last year, Clint Trickett transferred to West Virginia and started seven games. Trickett led the team in passing with 1,605 yards and had seven touchdowns to seven interceptions. 

Trickett had offseason shoulder surgery that could sideline him for part, or all, of spring practice. Still, he is expected to be in the thick of the quarterback race by preseason camp. 

So what are the odds Trickett and Coker start for their respective teams by the time they meet in Atlanta?

Barrett Sallee, B/R's SEC lead writer, thinks Coker's chances of starting for the Tide right away are "pretty good.

Head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin wouldn't bring in a two-year fix unless they felt he could contribute immediately.

The 6'5", 230-pounder pushed Winston to the end of spring practice last summer for the Seminoles' starting spot, and that system isn't much different than the one both Kiffin and Alabama have separately employed over the last few seasons.

Coker, who will have two years of eligibility remaining, figures to be in a quarterback competition loaded with candidates. That competition should go all the way into preseason camp.

Still, experience is at a premium for Alabama. AJ McCarron took a majority of the snaps in 2013, so Blake Sims is the only other quarterback to record passing stats (18-of-29 for 167 yards and two touchdowns). 

Last season, Coker completed 18-of-36 passes for 250 yards.

NELL REDMOND/Associated Press

West Virginia's quarterback battle will have a bit more experience. Trickett and senior Paul Millard have started before and split playing time last season. Since redshirt freshman Ford Childress is no longer with the program, the other two candidates in the 'Eers' quarterback battle will be JUCO transfer Skyler Howard and freshman William Crest (should he sign his letter of intent). 

Unless Howard impresses as an early enrollee, or if Crest wows coaches right away, the competition could come down to Trickett and Millard. If last season was any indication, Trickett gives West Virginia a better chance to win.

That said, no one has a firm grasp on the job yet. 

But if things do work out, if Coker and Trickett start the 2014 season, Florida State could lay claim to three starting quarterbacks—in the same year. 


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football.  All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.