You can cruise Florida State message polls for hours or search high and low on Twitter, there's not a ton of Seminole fans openly pulling for Clint Trickett to win the team's starting quarterback job.
“I thought the fans liked me, everytime I’ve gone in I’ve heard cheers," joked Trickett. "Coach Fisher deals with it, if the fans don’t like me I wish they would."
As the backup to EJ Manuel the past two years Clint Trickett is used to hearing the cheers when he came into the game. His arrival typically meant the Seminoles had blown the doors wide open and created enough space to warrant getting the back-ups some time.
But as a starter? A lot of Seminoles fans haven't bought into that quite yet.
"That comes with it," said Trickett. "I’m a three-star guy out of high school, there’s nothing I can do about that I just have to go out there and play.”
In a football city where the back-up quarterback is all too often the most popular guy in town, Trickett could soon find himself the victim of a role reversal. This time finding himself as a starting quarterback with a highly-recruited quarterback prospect sitting behind him.
“I know how Ponder and EJ both dealt with it and I’ll deal with it the same way," said Trickett confidently. "I hear the stuff that’s being said and I try to be oblivious to it but it’s a different world we live in now with the social media and everything and with my dad being on staff I knew that it would be even worse but you just have to deal with it and leave it behind you. I’m a tough-skinned kid, that’s the way you have to be one you grow up with my father.”
Trickett's father is Florida State's offensive line coach, a fiery, curse-loving, hard-nosed coach. But in many ways that sort of upbringing will likely be Trickett's biggest blessing as he attempts to be the Seminole starter.
Trickett has several advantages already. Aside from the thick skin, he's the only guy who's actually taken competitive snaps in a game.
“I have had some experience but I haven’t had a lot," admitted Trickett. "I don’t want to think I’m a veteran or anything, I’ve played in like six games. To some point I am but to some point I’m not. I’ve got a lot to learn but I do have that experience in my back pocket.”
But regardless of how much experience, the fact Trickett has started and won at Florida State in the past gives him the respect of his teammates. That's been obvious this off-season as it was Trickett who organized offensive team activities opposite Telvin Smith.
Trickett is one of the players who has been instrumental in helping the younger players get comfortable in the Florida State offense since last season ended. That even extends to the other quarterbacks he's competing with.
“I help them, I’m not going to be that guy who holds anything back," said Trickett, doing his best to channel Brian Piccolo. "If I’m going to win, I want to win being the best. If they need something then I’ll let them know and then I’ll still try to beat them.”
Trickett entered Spring as the starter, the job isn't necessarily his to lose, but he also may have the best shot. He knows the offense, he makes good reads, he understands the concepts and he's won before.
In other words he's the safest pick. If it's Trickett he will run the Florida State offense efficiently, even if it never hums on all cylinders under him. He will be steady.
“I had a time where I was once the first guy so that was good experience," said Trickett. "It is a little different [competing this Spring] but it’s still football. You’re still playing for coach Fisher, every day it’s a battle. I’m competing against them but the way I like to look at it I’m just competing against Coach Fisher. If he believes in me and he wants me to be the guy alright, and if not, well, hopefully he will.”
Whether or not Seminoles fans will want him to be is another story. But not one Trickett or Fisher are likely to lose much sleep over.
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