WVU's Trickett embracing 'game manager' role

There has been a stigma around being a quarterback who is a "game manager" that has developed the last few seasons.

A lot of times it's a term that is thrown around for a quarterback who doesn't necessarily put up big numbers and sometimes plays things just safe enough to not make any key mistakes that lose his team the game.

But it's a role that West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has taken to heart and is embracing this season.

And if being a game manager is going to be something that results in the Mountaineers having the success they have had so far this season, he's all for that too.

"It's come up the past couple of years, whether it's an insult or not," Trickett said. "Really that's one of the fundamentals of being a quarterback. You are the game manager. You control the pace of the game when you have the ball.

"It's a fundamental characteristic of being a quarterback."

It was a role the senior signal caller was struggling to fulfill a year ago when he was first getting used to his new surroundings at WVU. Trickett transferred to Morgantown after graduating from Florida State and arrived on campus just before the start of camp - giving him an extremely limited amount of time to meet and build chemistry with his teammates and gain a solid understanding of the Mountaineer offense. That showed during West Virginia's 4-8 season as Trickett struggled to string together consistent stretches of solid performances to lead the team the way he has in 2014.

"He was completely unaware of his surroundings last year," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. "The dude had no experience and didn't know people's names, not knowing the offense, not knowing the signals. The list just goes on and on."

This season, Trickett knows the offense and his teammates like the back of his hand. He takes his offensive line out to dinner regularly, in the summer he would make side trips out of his way to pick up teammate Kevin White and drive the two of them back to Morgantown just so he could have more time to talk and bond with his star receiver, and it's paying off as the Mountaineers are seeing a much more confident, comfortable Trickett leading this offense each week.

But make no mistake about it, just because he is a good game manager doesn't mean he is just a good game manager. Trickett is No. 5 in the nation in passing, with 2,763 yards through eight games, and has been one of college football's most consistently efficient quarterbacks.

"He's a pretty damn good quarterback too. He's a very smart kid, he's very aware of his surroundings," Holgorsen said. "He knows what the mood is with the guys, he knows when to pick them up, knows when to challenge them. He knows what it takes to be successful."

Of course, there is still plenty of room for him to improve and this week's showdown against No. 7 TCU is going to be the perfect opportunity for him to show that he is able to stay calm under pressure and lead his team to a victory that could potentially mean a lot when it comes down to West Virginia trying to compete for the Big 12 title.

"We've talked to him a little bit this week as far as just playing the game. Don't try to be perfect, don't try to control the game," Holgorsen said. "I've been guilty of that myself offensively, trying to call plays to try to control the game. That can get dangerous. (Trickett) needs to make sure he understands that he's a player and don't forget to play."

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