Trick Up His Sleeve

Bowden hopes new o-line coach Rick Trickett can help turn FSU around

June 13, 2007

By Adam Caparell



Adam is's football editor and national football writer.
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Twice Bobby Bowden had tried to lure Rick Trickett to Tallahassee and twice the renowned offensive line coach had turned him down.


The timing was never right, neither was the money, so Trickett stayed put.  


"He was always making so much money that I never could afford him," the 77-year old Florida State coach said this spring. "This year, thanks to our administration, I was able to pay whatever it took to get the best and that's what we think we've done."




When Bowden says "the best," it's not a bunch of bull. Ask almost anyone in the college game who the top offensive line coach in the country is and just about all of them will tell you it's Trickett. The West Virginia native and Mountaineers line coach the past six years has now been tabbed with the task of trying to help turn around the sagging Seminoles offense that has largely been blamed on the offensive line's struggles.


Bowden finally made Trickett an offer he couldn't refuse this off-season, and Trickett was all too happy to accept, especially after Jimbo Fisher was brought in as the Seminoles' new offensive coordinator as part of Bowden's overhaul.  


"When they were talking to Jimbo, I thought if he came it'd be a good deal with me and him getting back together again," Trickett said. "And I wanted to coach for coach Bowden. So I figured if I was going to do it, I was going to need to do it soon."  


Trickett came on board after Fisher officially joined, reigniting a working relationship that goes back a little ways. The two worked with each other for six years at Auburn and in 2000 at LSU. Trickett even recommended Nick Saban hire Fisher as the LSU offensive coordinator. They share the same philosophies, the same attitude and a friendship that doesn't waver through the most heated of football arguments.


"Being able to battle it out in a meeting and then walk out 10 minutes later to be able to go to lunch with him and everything is forgotten is a rarity," Trickett said.


So with the two of the most highly regarded assistants signed, sealed and delivered by Bowden, the transformation, reorganization or renovation - take your pick - of the Florida State offense was officially underway. After a sub-par 7-6 season last fall that saw the Seminoles finish as one of the worst rushing teams in the country and the worst in the ACC, Bowden could see the writing on the wall. Changes needed to be made.


You can't get rid of the players, but you can certainly shake up the coaching staff and that's exactly what Bowden did. He watched his son, offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden, resign amidst a storm of criticism about the offense's floundering, and brought in Fisher, Dexter Carter, Lawrence Dawsey and Trickett on offense. Chuck Amato, the former N.C. State coach, joined the defensive staff.


"This is the first time in 31 years I've practically replaced our staff which I hated to do, but I did and we think we have a real good staff now," Bowden said.


It's a staff just about every school in the nation would envy to have with roughly five guys - Bowden, Amato, Fisher, Trickett and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrew - who could get a job faster than a Deion Sanders 40.    


"We've got some good coaches," Trickett said. "Everybody is very demanding and it comes from Jimbo and me on down. We're not going to allow (the players) to do anything but the right way."


Trickett helped turn West Virginia into one of the most potent rushing teams in the nation during his time at the school and developed Dan Mozes into a Remington Award winner. He's not only a hard worker, he also has an eye for talent. It was Trickett who signed Pat White.


Bowden called Trickett a drill sergeant, someone who can work the Seminoles into order, someone who can get them to buy into a system, a new way, and get the most out of their talent. Those qualities have been missing from Florida State.


"It seems like we'd gotten softer and we needed to get that element back and I don't know anyone who does it better than he does," Bowden said.


Whether or not Bowden's overhaul gets the job done and the Seminoles respond to their new coaches won't be known until late November. But so far, so good.


"The kids seem to respond to them pretty good, bought into them pretty good. We're all excited now if we could just win some darn games," Bowden said.


Trickett should help the Seminoles in that department, if not the rushing game. But he can't do it by himself. He's going to need a little help.


"It's like I told them when I came here; I'm a hard worker, but I'm not a miracle worker," Trickett said.


"(But) I like those kinds of challenges and I've always said I'm not going to coach the weak spot of anything."


That's just what Bowden wants to hear as the winningest coach in Division I-A history isn't getting any younger as he gears up for one "last shot" at adding to his 12 conference championships and his two national titles.


"I had to hire people to get the job done. That doesn't mean we're just going to walk in and start winning games, but I know this: we're heading in the right direction," Bowden said.