Trott was one of the more consistent blockers on the team in 2007 and had three catches during the 12-game regular season. However, the hire of Tony Franklin before the bowl game brought some new and old for Trott. It brought new life to the once productive receiver, and it also allowed him to get back to his old ways of actually running routes and catches passes from his old playing weight.
"I've been working hard and I've been doing what I can," Trott says. "I've been trying to take coaching the best way I can. It's different this year. You're getting a lot more in-depth coaching and you're learning to dip the shoulder running routes--just everything--which way to stem.
"It's a whole different learning process than it was last year and years past, and that's not a knock on anyone," Trott says. "I feel like it's just a little more technical with everything. It's a little more hands on, which hopefully has improved me as a player individually."
With AU assistants Steve Ensminger and Greg Knox taking on slightly different roles in coaching this year, Trott has stayed with Ensminger working from his Y position as a slot receiver and tight end and his production has taken off during the spring.
After losing some offseason weight to play in a role more fitting for his skills, Trott had four catches for 90 yards in the Thursday scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Not just in the numbers, how he did it was impressive also. Trott made a not-so-easy down the field catch over Walter McFadden, then he dragged the junior defensive back into the end zone for his first touchdown of the day.
"It really wasn't that good of a route by me," he jokes of the play. "I was a single receiver and the corner dropped. I was actually lined up at the tight end spot. The cornerback was out there and he bailed so I really couldn't take it to the corner. I gave him a jab step outside like I was going to the corner and tried to beat him deep to the back pylon.
"It's really a good thing Neil (Caudle) underthrew it a little bit," Trott continues, "because I didn't really have him beat deep. That allowed me to come back to the ball while he had his back to it. I hung on and knew I was close. I just tried to stumble my way into the end zone."
Later in the scrimmage Trott got his number called again in the red zone with a 10-yard touchdown catch from Chris Todd.
"It was just a little short post, a skinny post," he says. "That was a good play call. The play before I ran a corner. I faked the post and went out to the corner and the very next play I kind of stuck the post, faked the corner and went into the post. It was good back to back route calls by Coach Franklin."
Tommy Trott runs after a catch in spring drills.
While Franklin has been a breath of fresh air for Trott, the offensive coordinator has also been impressed with the results he's gotten the junior tight.
"Tommy Trott has a chance to be special," Franklin says. "He gets better every day. He understands how to run routes, he understands leverage and he's a competitor. He tries to win every snap. If all of our receivers played as hard as he did and as smart as he did we'd be phenomenal. Hopefully we can get four guys (receivers) to his level."
Part of Trott's lack of production in the passing game the last two years is because of the high number of times Brandon Cox was sacked. Trott was assigned to stay in and protect in the passing game rather than catch passes.
Returning all five starters from a season ago, Trott says that the more the offensive line improves the better he has a chance to be, and that was evident in the Thursday scrimmage as the offense scored several late touchdowns.
"We ended up picking it up in the end as a whole," Trott notes. "It wasn't necessarily us as a receivers group, but it was more of the O-line. When we have time to throw, stuff opens up down field. It seems as though, like Coach Franklin was saying, that we tend to wear them down later on in practice and in games. We saw it last year against Clemson. When we start to wear them down we're able to protect up front, which we should be able to do all the time. Our O-line will get there. We've got a good O-line. When we're able to protect things are able to happen down field."
Thursday was practice number 10 of the NCAA allotted 15. Number 11 isn't expected to take place until March 25 after university students return from spring break. A-Day is scheduled for March 29 at 1 p.m.