Now at the end of a spring-practice period that saw him return to the starting lineup, junior right tackle Bobby Hart is intent on working hard to stay there, writes Brandon Mellor.
A first-time offensive linemen a year ago at this time, Cam Erving has started his second spring as the 'Noles left tackle with something that can't be learned on the practice fields: experience.
FSU returns four standouts on an ever-improving line that is now in need of a new starter at right tackle in the wake of Menelik Watson's early exit to the NFL Draft.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, get a glimpse of each member of FSU's 2013 signing class. Up next: offensive guard Ira Denson.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, get a glimpse of each member of FSU's 2013 signing class. Up next: offensive lineman Wilson Bell.
The Seminoles talk about facing Auburn in the national-title game.
Images from FSU's time at Saturday's media event in Calinfornia
FSU Media Day, Saturday 1-4-13
Bobby Bowden's return to FSU
FSU's win over Miami through the photography of Mike Olivella
One of the top and most respected offensive line coaches in all of college football, Rick Trickett will enter his eighth season at Florida State and his 41st overall in 2014. He is nationally recognized for his ability to identify, recruit and develop talent. The 2013 season proved that Trickett was not only one of the top offensive line coaches in the nation, but one of the best assistant coaches in college football as the Seminole offensive line served as the foundation for the highest scoring offense in college football history and an undefeated national championship season. All five offensive line starters earned all-conference honors and three Seminole linemen captured All-America honors.
Trickett's standout offensive line paved the way for the Seminoles to have the most prolific offense in the country in 2013 and capture the BCS National Championship en route to a perfect 14-0 season. Behind redshirt senior center Bryan Stork, redshirt junior left tackle Cameron Erving, junior left guard Josue Matias, junior right guard Tre' Jackson and junior right tackle Bobby Hart, FSU set school and ACC records for single-season total offense (7,267 yards), points per game (51.6) and yards per play (7.67) and the national record for points (723) and also led the nation in touchdowns (94). FSU set the ACC and school records for total touchdowns, passing touchdowns (42) and the school record for rushing touchdowns (42). Florida State ranked first in the ACC and sixth in the nation in total offense (519.1). With the nation's top offensive line providing protection and opening holes, Florida State rushed for 2,844 yards (5.6 ypc), while passing for 4,423 yards, helping first-year quarterback Jameis Winston (4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns) win countless awards and become the youngest player ever to win the Heisman Trophy. In addition, Trickett's offensive line created running lanes for tailback Devonta Freeman to become the first Seminole since 1996 to gain 1,000 yards rushing. Freeman, an All-ACC First Team selection, finished with 1,016 yards (5.9 ypc) and 14 touchdowns on the ground and was joined in the rushing attack by Karlos Williams (730 yards, 8.0 ypc, 11 TDs), a converted safety, and James Wilder, Jr. (563 yards, 7.0 ypc, 8 TDs), who was an All-ACC Honorable Mention honoree.
All five offensive line starters collected postseason awards in 2013, led by Stork who captured consensus All-America honors and won the Rimington Trophy given to the nation's top center. Stork became the second Trickett-coached player to earn the Rimington, joining 2006 winner Dan Mozes of West Virginia. In addition to his numerous All-America accolades that included first team honors from the Football Writers Association of America and the Associated Press, Stork nabbed All-ACC First Team honors from the media and coaches. Erving also hauled in numerous awards in just his second year as an offensive lineman. The former defensive tackle won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy given to the ACC's top offensive lineman by a vote from league coaches and also was tabbed an All-American by countless outlets including USA Today (First Team), Associated Press (Second Team) and Walter Camp (Second Team). The Seminoles have won the Jacobs Trophy three times in the last five years, as Rodney Hudson captured the honor in 2009 and 2010. Erving joined Stork and Jackson on both the coaches and media All-ACC First Team. Jackson also garnered CBSSports.com All-America Second Team and Sport Illustrated Honorable Mention All-America accolades. Matias nabbed All-ACC Second Team honors from the coaches and Third Team mention from the media, while Hart was an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection.
Stork was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (No. 105 overall) by the New England Patriots. He joins recent Trickett protégés Menelik Watson (Oakland Raiders) and Hudson (Kansas City Chiefs) on NFL rosters.
Trickett has coached 10 All-American offensive linemen in his storied career at some of the nation's top schools, including FSU's trio of stars in 2013 and Hudson, who earned the distinction from the Football Writers Association of America in 2009 and was a unanimous All-American selection in 2010. He has been nominated for the Frank Broyles Award twice (2006, 2009) which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.
The 2012 season was FSU's most productive offensive season until the 2013 campaign and Trickett's offensive line was vital to Florida State's success. The Seminoles set a then-FSU record with 6,591 yards of total offense and surpassed 500 yards of total offense six times behind a front line in which all five starters captured all-conference honors. Florida State rolled to its first ACC title since 2005 and an Orange Bowl victory behind Erving (All-ACC Second Team), Stork (All-ACC Second Team), Jackson (All-ACC Second Team), Watson (All-ACC Honorable Mention) and Matias (All-ACC Honorable Mention). Florida State ranked second in the ACC in rushing offense (206.21) and third in total offense (471.50) and scoring offense (39.29). In the nation, FSU was 24th in rushing offense, 19th in total offense and 10th in scoring. The Florida State offensive line allowed EJ Manuel to wrap up an impressive career as he passed for 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns en route to All-ACC Second Team honors. Manuel was the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft (16th overall) by the Buffalo Bills. In addition to Manuel, Florida State's running backs enjoyed tremendous success in 2012. The Seminoles' rushing attack by committee produced a new school record for rushing touchdowns with 40 and tallied 2,882 yards on the ground at a 5.6 per carry clip. Senior Chris Thompson (687 yards, five touchdowns) and sophomores Freeman (660 yards, eight scores) and Wilder, Jr. (635 yards, 11 scores) all eclipsed the 600-yard mark, while senior fullback Lonnie Pryor added eight touchdowns and Manuel produced four scores. FSU's front line proved it could open holes for anybody as an unprecedented five different Seminoles rushed for 100 yards or more in a game, capped by Pryor's 134-yard, two-touchdown MVP performance in the Orange Bowl.
FSU's lack of experience on the offensive line made the 2012 season's success even more impressive as only Stork had more than one start among the front five heading into the season. Erving spent his first two seasons as a defensive lineman before switching to offensive line, while Watson, a former collegiate basketball player from Manchester, England, had never played a down of NCAA Division I football. Jackson and Matias picked up their first starts against Notre Dame in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl. Trickett was able to turn a question mark into an FSU strength in 2012 and helped develop Watson from an unknown prospect into a second round pick (No. 42 overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Trickett's abilities to mold a unit were tested by injuries during 2011. The extended losses of seniors Andrew Datko and David Spurlock led FSU to start seven different offensive line combinations. No single group was together in the same position for more than three consecutive games. However, Trickett's group still managed to produce an All-ACC first team selection in senior Zebrie Sanders, a freshman All-American in Bobby Hart and two NFL draft picks. Sanders ended up being a fifth round pick of the Buffalo Bills. Datko, who was headed for a solid senior campaign, was selected in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers. Trickett's handy work in crafting offensive lines really came to light in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl. His young starting line featuring four true freshmen overcame a four-sack first half, settled down and held off a good Notre Dame defensive line to help FSU rally from a 14-0 deficit as the Seminoles won 18-14.
In 2010, Trickett's line featured second round NFL draft pick Rodney Hudson. Hudson became one of the most decorated offensive linemen in school and ACC history, earning unanimous first team All-American honors in 2010. Hudson was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, won his second consecutive Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the ACC's most dominant lineman and was only the second lineman in league history to be selected All-ACC four times. Trickett's unit led the way for three Seminole running backs who gained more than 400 yards rushing on the ground. It was only the sixth time in FSU history that a trio gained more than 400 yards in a season. Center Ryan McMahon finished his career as the all-time leader in career starts (53) after Trickett converted the defensive tackle into a mainstay on the offensive line for four years.
In 2009, Trickett's unit allowed just 20 sacks - the fewest by an FSU team since 1997 - as the Noles averaged 271.8 yards a game through the air. In 2008, the Noles averaged 179.1 yards a game on the ground; the best by an FSU team since 2002. All five Florida State starting offensive linemen in 2009 were nominated for All-ACC honors by opposing league coaches, marking a first in Trickett's distinguished career.
Four FSU linemen - Hart, Hudson, McMahon and Datko - garnered Freshman All-American honors while playing for Trickett. He has coached 17 players that have been named either first or second team freshmen All-Americans.
Trickett's track record for developing strong units quickly transferred to Florida State as the Seminoles improved its per game rushing yards average by more than 70 yards after two seasons. After one season at West Virginia, the Mountaineer running game improved from 35th in the nation to second in 2002. From 2002-2006, West Virginia finished among the top 15 rushing offenses and three times were among the top five nationally.
In 2006 as the offensive line coach at West Virginia, the Mountaineers were second in the nation in rushing, third in scoring offense and fifth in total offense. Only two other schools in the previous 10 years had finished in the top five of each of those categories.
At Auburn, he coached four linemen - Wayne Gandy, Willie Anderson, Victor Riley and Kendall Simmons - who were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
More than 30 players Trickett has coached have gone on to play in the NFL and more than 35 players have won all-conference honors, including four of his five linemen at West Virginia in 2005 and 2006 and all five Seminole starters in 2012 and 2013. At LSU in 2000, three of his players earned All-SEC honors.
Trickett earned his undergraduate degree in 1972 from Glenville (W.Va.), where he was an all-conference strong safety. He received his master's degree from Indiana (Pa.) in 1975.
Trickett is a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran.
Trickett released a book in 2012. "Complete Offensive Line" is a comprehensive guide to the techniques, drills and game strategies necessary to develop an effective offensive front.
The Tricketts have been a fixture on the FSU campus since Rick's 2007 arrival in Tallahassee. Two of Tara and Rick's sons have been involved in the football program with Travis serving as an offensive graduate assistant in 2010 after serving as a videographer. He received his master's degree from FSU and is now the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Samford. Clint spent three years as a quarterback for the Noles and graduated with a degree in social science. He has continued his football and academic career at West Virginia. Chance graduated in spring 2011 with his bachelor's degree.