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.
Bobby Bowden's return to FSU
FSU's win over Miami through the photography of Mike Olivella
The Trickett File
One of the top and most respected offensive line coaches in all of college football, Rick Trickett enters his seventh season at Florida State and his 41st overall. He is nationally recognized for his ability to identify, recruit and develop talent.
Trickett's standout offensive line group was vital to FSU's most productive offensive season ever in 2012. The Seminoles set an 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 redshirt sophomore left tackle Cameron Erving (All-ACC Second Team), redshirt junior center Bryan Stork (All-ACC Second Team), sophomore right guard Tre' Jackson (All-ACC Second Team), junior Menelik Watson (All-ACC Honorable Mention) and sophomore left guard Josue 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 Devonta Freeman (660 yards, eight scores) and James 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 last year's campaign. 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. Heading into 2013, FSU will break in a new quarterback, but the front five will be arguably the Noles' strongest and most experienced group with Stork, Erving, Jackson and Matias returning as entrenched starters and senior Jacob Fahrenkrug (12 career starts) and juniors Austin Barron (three career starts) and Bobby Hart (nine career starts) capable of making an impact.
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. FSU ran for more than 200 yards five times as a team including a 298-yard performance against in-state rival Miami which capped off a string of four consecutive 200-yard rushing games - BYU (278), Wake Forest (201), Virginia (256) and Miami (298). FSU ran for 218 yards in the Chick-fil-A bowl win over SEC East Champion South Carolina. 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. Going into 2011, his bookends - tackles Datko and Sanders - garnered preseason honors.
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.
Trickett has coached seven All-American offensive linemen in his storied career at some of the nation's top schools, including 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.
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. 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 will continue his football and academic career at West Virginia this fall. Chance graduated in spring 2011 with his bachelor's degree.
Trickett's Coaching Ledger