Rick Trickett is renown as one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. Like you, we believed he transformed the Noles OL from the days when FSU was one of the worst running teams in the country. So we’re scratching our head over why the Noles 2011 ground game seems to get worse every week. In fact, it’s on track to be FSU’s most underachieving running team in recent memory.
The benchmark is the worst ground game we’ve seen during the last decade. Remember 2005 when FSU was near the bottom of NCAA rushing stats? How we all pointed to it as one of the prime reasons the team had sunk so far from a decade earlier?
Reality check: After four games that ’05 team had 369 yards on the ground. This year’s: 318 after four games.
While it may not be comparing apples to apples, how do you call that progress? Especially with Trickett’s rep as an OL guru, a heralded running back coach, and a couple years of one of the nation’s best recruiting classes.
This is Trickett’s fifth season. He’s been able to hand pick his recruits and reshape strength training to suit his system. He’s had an All American and developed some underweight two and three star guys into better than average college linemen.
But after after four and a quarter seasons, we expect more, and so should Jimbo. That many years into the job, with FSU’s tradition and ability to attract blue chip recruits, the Noles should have one of the top offensive lines in the country -- including big time starters and quality depth. A line able to power a solid ground game, even without a Marcus Lattimore-type superstar.
In short, he's had time to instill his system and build -- in a word -- continuity, so that there's no huge dropoff of skills and experience from one year to the next.
While we’re hoping for better results the rest of the season, we’re looking for some tough decisions if they don’t materialize.
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• Trickett’s 336 yards and two TDs is the best day stat-wise since nearly two years ago. That was Christian Ponder’s 395 yard night against UNC in 2009.
• FSU’s QB future looks bright, with Manuel and Trickett next season, plus RS-freshman Jacob Coker and true freshman phenom Jameis Winston.
• Okay, so there must be some other positives, right? How about an off week to solve a butt load of problems, heal wounds, and maybe design some plays with sure-handed Bjoern Werner at TE. Couldn’t come at a better time.
(And, no, the irony isn't lost on us that we're questioning one Trickett's performance while praising another.)