Aug. 15, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Clint Trickett may be in the same position he was at this time last year -- he's still Florida State's No. 2 quarterback behind EJ Manuel -- but that doesn't mean the redshirt sophomore is the same person and football player he was then.
After being diagnosed and subsequently learning to manage Celiac Disease with different eating habits and altered training habits, Trickett is noticeably bigger than he was last season when he threw for 675 yards and seven touchdowns in his reserve and injury-replacement role.
Included in those statistics are Trickett's memorable touchdown connections with Rashad Greene and his inspiring performance on the road at Clemson. But for everything he accomplished as a young and inexperienced player, it always came with the critic's caveat that Trickett is simply to small to handle the rigors -- and dangers -- of being the target of rabid defenses on every snap.
"I look on film and I'm like, 'That's respectable I guess [compared] to what I used to be,'" Trickett said with a smile. "There's a little more zip on the ball. It's just going to continue to get better."
And Trickett isn't the only one who has noticed the change.
His teammates have witnessed first hand the transition both on and off the field.
"They notice in the weight room whenever we are lifting and stuff," Trickett said. "I am up there with them now. I'm not lifting with [kicker Dustin Hopkins] or any of the specialists anymore; I'm lifting with some of the fullbacks and the linebackers now so I'm pretty happy about that."
Head coach Jimbo Fisher and the rest of the offensive coaching staff must be pleased with what they have seen through the first week and a half of fall camp.
Not only is Trickett in better shape, stronger and more confident, his ability as a quarterback has elevated to another level.
"I made a throw that I couldn't have made last year earlier, about three days ago," Trickett said. "I was pretty happy with that. I know I couldn't have made it last year. It was a pretty long throw and I was pretty happy with it … it was the other side of the field, deep. About a 20-yard out-route.
"It was on a rope so I felt pretty happy about that."
He added: "I've always had an arm but now I've got a little more behind it. That helps."
Trickett has been in a battle with redshirt freshman Jacob Coker since spring practices for the backup quarterback job but appears to have firmly entrenched himself as Florida State's No. 2 signal caller heading into the team's first scrimmage Thursday.
His increased strength, improved throwing ability and grasp of the offense has helped him achieve that spot. Now it's all about maintaing his position while pushing Manuel and forcing FSU's starter to constantly improve -- all while not getting caught up in depth-chart positioning.
"You want to think about [the quarterback battle] but you've got to keep the mindset to just go out there and get yourself better and play football," he said.