Trickett ready to be leader WVU needs

The decision earlier this week for West Virginia to name its starting quarterback caught some by surprise.

But when the Mountaineer coaching staff made the decision to call senior Clint Trickett its starter heading into the highly anticipated season opener against Alabama, there was a very specific reason why they did it.

"This unit was looking for somebody. They needed somebody to be the leader," said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. "It's hard to be the leader when you aren't the starter. You can have all the intangibles in the world, but when you're not the starter it's hard to be that leader. This clears up things with the guys around him and it clears up things with him.

"Now he can have a clear mind, relax, get better and not worry about sitting here trying to win the job every day."

Although it has only been a couple of days since the announcement, Trickett can already tell a big difference in the way he's handling himself, as well as the way the team has responded to him.

He admitted that it makes things a lot easier than they were a year ago, when he was battling with Paul Millard and Ford Childress for the starting job shortly after arriving in Morgantown prior to the start of camp.

"I'm more comfortable. I don't have to worry. I can focus on my game and getting the team better and not worry about, 'Oh, he is going to make the decision yet?'" Trickett said. "All of us were worried in camp last year, we all wanted to win it and maybe we worried about that too much instead of getting ourselves and the team better. We won't have that problem this year."

That transition into being the leader the Mountaineer offense desperately needed a year ago could be made a little easier due to the fact that not only will Trickett head into the season as the Mountaineers' starter but he's also going to benefit from being in Morgantown around his teammates for a year and not having to rush the process of getting to know everyone the way he did a year ago.

Understanding everything around the program and knowing the things he didn't know a year ago should help him accomplish those things he struggled to do last season.

"When you come in like I did last year, you kind of rush to try to get to know everyone, but you don't really have enough time to do that in that short period of time," he said. "It made it a lot tougher. This year we're getting together and we're a lot closer and you can see it starting to pay off."

But even if he is able to be a better leader for West Virginia this season, it won't mean a whole lot if he isn't able to stay healthy.

"There were some times where I'd have to hold back. There were times when I'd want to throw a deep ball, but I had to check it down a little bit because I didn't want to hurt my arm too much," Trickett said.

"People have to play injured. Shoot, the one time I wasn't injured we didn't play that bad, we pulled off a pretty good one. It's definitely frustrating and you wonder what if, but that's life. You've just got to go out there now and produce."

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