MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews concludes our countdown of the Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for 2014. Today the series wraps up with a surgically repaired quarterback trying to win big in his final college season:

Position: Quarterback
Class: Senior
Measurables: 6-2, 175

Though Trickett didn’t throw a pass during spring drills, his presence was thunderous. Junior college newcomer Skyler Howard looked discombobulated and rising senior Paul Millard looked best suited for the No. 2 role. That essentially meant the starting job and WVU’s hopes for a bounce-back season remains in the hands of Trickett, who is recovering from labrum surgery. Dana Holgorsen made it official in late June, with an oddly timed announcement that Trickett was his starter.

Trickett’s 2013 stats were uninspiring—a 57 percent completion rate, seven touchdowns countered by seven interceptions—but his attempt to play through shoulder pain and a concussion scare revealed plenty of leadership potential. He has the mobility to extend plays, though blitzers often reached him unimpeded last season. There’s no certainty his line will be improved this fall as it breaks in two new tackles.

Not only would keeping Trickett healthy afford WVU the pass-game continuity that was missing last year, it also would carry down-the-line benefits of allowing top recruit William Crest to learn at a more digestible pace.

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  • FNP

    Limit turnovers and this team goes from 4-8 to 8-4. We were never efficient enough last year to win the games in the 4th Q. This will be a different year with different results.

  • Sam

    We will beat 'Bama by at least 8 points - MARK IT DOWN. I'm so confident I've been going on their message boards & different sites to let them know how confident we are. We want their best shot so the poll voters know exactly how good we are. We will beat 'Bama & win the BIGXII - MARK IT DOWN!!!

    • roger


    • Robert

      Don't know what you have been reading or drinking but it must be good stuff. Puts you in dreamland. Alabama 36 WVU 7

    • squad

      damn sam where can I get some of that?

    • Ron - from Morgantown

      Time to take your medicine and come down from that tree .

      • Jonathan

        LOL! While I have my doubts, I'm trying my best to be optimistic. Clint has upside but the big question is whether it will reveal itself this season. Let's Go Mountaineers!

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Rickety Trickery Trickett will somehow lead us to victories, as long as the the two t's at the end of his name stand for touchdowns and not turnovers . Can you tell its early July ? Trickett and Holgs will play that "Shell game " and somehow we win 7 .

  • Hop'sHip

    Allan, now that you suffered through that golf coverage, I suggest MetroNews send you home for your next assignment so that you can report back how the Crimson Tide is preparing for their first game challenge. They may think they are the winners of the world but I want to know what to call them when they lose - Bama Blue?

  • jay zoom

    Remember this not a pizza party. or the SSAC of WV. this is the Big 12 to include Alabama - Towson - and the like. GO MOUNTAINEERS - but at best 4-8 in 2014 I think. THANKS OLLIE

    • Dave

      Jay Ziehm, A New Yorker. Figures.

  • john

    Trickett's job is not to screw things up. He will not be needed to be spectacular just don't be a disaster. We have a backfield loaded with talent and some quality receivers. If Holgs goes old school and uses the run to open up the pass we will have a winning season. We need to use clock and stay in the games.
    Our defense in the back 7 is outstanding. If we can get fair play on the d line we should have a respectable season.

  • Aaron

    I understand the premise of this series but I still contend that this season hinges on the adjustments made by the coaching staff. If they are positive, they manage games better, do a better job of preparing, scouting and motivating the players, this is a successful season with at least 7 wins which is what they should have had last year. If the coaches repeat 2013, it will be a 4 or 5 win season and we'll be talking about a new coach this time next year.

    As to Trickett, I get that his play is pivotal but that's a given considering his position. Every school in the nation faces the same scenario as their teams success begins with how well their QB plays. I do disagree with Alan that given the labrum tear he suffered and the number of games he played with the injury that Trickett’s stats were "uninspiring." With symptoms that include "pain, usually with overhead activities, catching, locking, popping, or grinding, occasional night pain or pain with daily activities, a sense of instability in the shoulder, decreased range of motion and loss of strength," I think it's pretty amazing that he was able to complete 57% of his passes and throw for over 1600 yards. With the running game WVU should have, I think a healthy Clint Trickett will be just fine.

    My concerns for this season are the aforementioned unease with the coaches and how well WVU will run the ball. Will Dremius Smith and Rushel Shell live up to their potential? Will Wendall Smallwood, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison be utilized more as receivers or running backs? Will Donte Thomas-Williams see the field and if not, does he Eron Harris WVU and head elsewhere? Other concerns are how well does the line adjust to a new blocking scheme? Is the defense at a point where they can keep opponents from scoring on nearly every possession? Can they create turnovers and contribute to the game in a manner other than chasing the backs of jerseys?

    Again, it all depends on what Holgorsen and staff do? If they insist on trying to call games outside the talent they have, then it will be a long season and he will be out a job but if they utilize their strengths, they can win games.

  • mad hatter

    clint needs to correct some tech. issues,, mainly throwing off his back foot, and timing...mechanics is a shambles, and hopefully , dana has corrected this.
    with this done, clint could have a darn good yr, don't know if the D will hold up, but the running game will shine if it does.
    predictions... 6-6.
    we are threes yrs. away, if dana stays, and isn't fired, we'll be just fine.

  • any major dude

    If he doesn't know the signs or the playbook there's something seriously wrong. I think he's level-headed and provides leadership. I would like to think we will ask him to manage the game. I worry for his health, and wonder if the O-line can improve enough to allow for consistent longer passes, not to mention keep him healthy.

  • 1olewvufan

    I like WVU's chances this season of having a winning season. I truly look for WVU to beat Alabama.

    With Trickett at the helm, I look for his back-ups to be Skyler Howard and William Crest.

    The three things I most curious about are:
    1: Will Shelton Gibson replace Kevin White as the number 1 outside receiver?
    2: Will Dontae Thomas-Williams get playing time as RB?
    3: Which of the remaining recruits that are not on campus won't make it to campus?

  • Hop'sHip

    Allan, you have him listed as #2 above. I am not one to quibble but I am surprised that Shell did not make the list. He may have the kind of talent that you build your offense around. Smallwood is another whose development would seem to be pivotal to the team's success. As for Trickett, you can't help rooting for him. You want him to stay healthy and avoid crippling turnovers. Anything beyond that is gravy.

  • FNP

    He knows the system, he's healthy, the offensive line is underrated, and we will have the backfield to put pressure on defenses.

    I think we can hang with Alabama and that will carry us through a 8-4 year.

  • grey4449

    I like Trickett. I believe WVU goes 7-4 or 6-5 If they use the tight end or fullback to help hold the line and injuries stay low we go 8-3. Bowl bound for sure. I also believe the senior transfer on the D-line might be the biggest surprise of the season.

    • Ben Dover

      Dude. Love your enthusiasm, but I'm a realist. IF we win 3 games, we will have had one hell of a good year.

    • richard

      hey grey4449......we started playing 12 games years ago. .

      • Hop'sHip

        Isn't Alabama an exhibition game?

        • Aaron

          Isn't that what they said about the Oklahoma game 32 years ago?

  • Big Larry

    I like Clint Trickett and I think he is a gutsy kid. But neither he or the porous WVU offensive line has ever faced a defense like they are going to see against Alabama.

    The brutality of the beat down will be Epic in proportion and Clint Trickett may not survive the onslaught and could possibly be injured for the rest of the season.

    Unlike the previous two seasons...there is no teenage-girlish drama surrounding this year’s WVU football prospects for a winning season.

    There will be no warm and fuzzy kumbaya feel good moments.

    It is what it is...

    My Prediction? 4-8

    • hailey

      Larry if we only get beat 4-8 by Bama I'll take it

    • Aaron

      Sorry Larry but I'm not seeing it. I think Alabama wins going away but to call it a beat down of epic proportions is a bit of a stretch but then given that you predict Marshall to be in a BCS Bowl game, your pretty good at stretches, aren't you!!!

    • Diaspora

      WVU hung in with Oklahoma last year, and the offense couldn't score when needed. Oklahoma thrashed Alabama pretty good in the bowl game. It is in the cards that Bama can be beat.

      • the big fan

        That's the same argument marshall fans use to say they are better than wvu get a grip.

    • AppiKid

      I agree with the prediction 4-8. But LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS! Surprise me

  • VaultHunter

    He knows the signs, he knows the playbook, the team knows that he is the starter. If we can protect him and keep him healthy, Clint will be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big12.

    Alabama better not sleep on us.

    Lets Go Mountaineers!