Trickett turns FSU weakness into strength

When Rick Trickett came to FSU, his first words were "Jenny Craig is in town". His guys were not only the least talented group of players on FSU's football team, they were also in terrible shape. Less than four years later, he has transformed his unit from one of the worst in the ACC to one of the best nationally.

How did he do it?

He did it his way. In his first major test as FSU offensive line coach, FSU played Clemson on the road, at night, with true freshmen Rodney Hudson and redshirt freshmen Ryan McMahon.

What happened next was not pretty as Hudson was taken to school and McMahon did not fare much better. Most questioned Trickett and wondered why he did not play some of his upperclassmen. Trickett knew that if he was going to get this thing turned around the best option was to start from scratch, take your lumps and see where the chips fall. Now you see the results as his unit is one of the BEST in the country.

What was the problem with FSU's offensive line before Trickett took over? The biggest issue was not only talent, but depth. FSU did a poor job of recruiting offensive linemen in the previous four years. From 2003-2006 FSU landed David Overmeyer, Aubrey McPhadden, Mario Henderson John Frady, Cornelius Lewis, Geoff Bernaird, Jacky Claude, Dumaka Atkins, Daron Rose, Matt Hardrick, Tyler Graves, Brandon Davis, Shannon Boatman, and Evan Bellamy.

When looking at this group of linemen you realize that only five of the 14 played significant minutes. Of those five, not a single one became even an All-ACC performer while at FSU. The best of the those prospects was Jacky Claude, a two-year starter. Mario Henderson was the probably the most talented of all the line prospects, but he never really saw the field as a starter. Overmeyer started a ton of games at FSU, but never played at a very high level.

The first step he made was cutting dead weight. John Frady moved to Tight End, Bernaird, Atkins, Hardrick, and Graves all decided to either give up football or transfer.

His next move was to convince McMahon, a former Defensive Tackle, that he needed to come over to offense. McMahon has started for the past three seasons. He heads into his senior year with over 36 starts. Trickett found Rodney Hudson in nearby Alabama, Hudson was not a highly recruited player and most felt this was a reach at the time. By the time Hudson leaves he will have over 48 starts....a heck of a 'find'. In 2008 he added Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko, the pair has started games since their freshmen seasons. Also in the 2008 class was David Spurlock, a player who has started a few games as well. Trickett's first two classes pretty much revamped one of the worst OL situations in the country, four starters with a possible fifth is quite impressive.

The next step is to continue to build depth. FSU will play with 13 offensive linemen in 2010(much better shape), to put this in perspective some schools have as many as 17-18 on scholarship. It appears that after this next class FSU will be in that "15-16" range and Trickett's job will be complete.


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