MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The stringy guy in the No. 9 jersey didn’t seem confused or timid. Clint Trickett’s first practice at West Virginia only validated what coach Dana Holgorsen expected when he brought in the transfer from Florida State.
“He’s good. He’s seasoned. He doesn’t get nervous,” Holgorsen said. “You can tell he’s got some game experience.”
Because Trickett had two months of seven-on-seven workouts to grow acclimated to WVU’s system, it’s no surprise he looked comfortable on opening day of fall camp. Though he also looked exceedingly fragile. Looking at his skinny frame, it’s hard to fathom that Trickett added 16 pounds this summer (which still leaves him 39 behind Paul Millard and 54 shy of Ford Childress). But to Holgorsen, the zip in Trickett’s arm and the processing power in his head counts for much more than the narrowness of his shoulders.
That puts the newcomer on equal footing as he competes to become the next in Holgorsen’s line of exemplary quarterbacks.
“(Trickett) threw the ball well, and for a guy who was having his very first practice here, I thought he did well,” Holgorsen said. “Again, I’m not judging the specific throws or checks or any of that. I’m just watching them operate. I’m watching them getting the signals and communicating it to the offensive line, and executing the play to where it resembles football, and I thought he did alright there.”
Childress is a sturdy 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman with a big arm and big genes—his dad Ray was a defensive wrecking ball at Texas A&M before becoming a Pro Bowler with the Oilers. The 6-2 Millard averaged more than 400 yards passing per game as a high school senior in Texas and spent the past two seasons making cameos behind Geno Smith.
And now Holgorsen welcomes in Trickett, who understudied a couple of NFL quarterbacks himself at FSU and may have escaped the shadow of a third with this summer’s relocation.
What stood out about Trickett’s first practice at Mountaineer Field?
“His presence,” Holgorsen said. “You throw a guy in there who is taking snaps in our offense for the first time, and if there is hesitation and panic—nervousness, lack of communication and all that stuff—then we’ve got a little bit of an issue. I knew he would handle that well. That’s not something I’m concerned with, with him, just by the calmness that he possesses.
“Ford and Paul possess that calmness right now, too, because they understand what’s going on around them. I think Clint can get in the mix to be the guy, because he has that in his personality.”