This story is featured on the IMG Academies Blog
Stop by the IMG Football Fields and one guy stands out, although you'd have to be in his presence to understand why. It's not his height- at 6'2" he stands just a shade above his peers. It's not his size; his 180 lb frame is sick of all the negative attention. And it's not his appearance; despite the facial hair, he doesn't look much older than the rest of the group. After all, he is barely a college freshman. But the difference can be heard: "Blue 8. Blue 8," he yells with volume and purpose. And it can be seen: his quick feet, explosion from center, and the arc and pace he brands his passes with, evidence the hours he's worked at his trade. But most significantly, it can be felt; in the "follow me" confidence he exudes, the fire he speaks with, and respect he commands.
All of which can only help Clint Trickett, son of a coach, undersized quarterback, and Florida State University freshman facing an unfamiliar side of the depth chart.
Since Monday, Clint has been at the IMG Madden Football Academy, working with Director and Coach Chris Weinke- a Florida State alum himself, not to mention 2000 Heisman Trophy winner. To add credibility to the three year relationship, Clint grew up modeling his game after Coach Weinke, even donning his number sixteen before turning it in for a nine jersey this past Spring.
"He [Coach Weinke] is an intense guy. I see him in myself and myself in him. We are both fiery competitors that refuse to lose. It's what got him his Heisman Trophy and hopefully it will get me a National Championship," Clint said of Weinke, who also has a National Title to his name.
The respect is mutual. "Clint expects a lot out of himself," Coach Weinke said. "He is a student of the game and advanced for a guy his age in terms of understanding the intricacies of the game and what he needs to do to be successful. He's a tireless worker on the field and in the film room."
Clint has heard the criticisms and recognizes his biggest challenge is his size. He is working on that and has the fifteen pounds of added muscle to show for it. He would like to add ten more- a task IMG Performance Institute's Jeff Dillman, Head of Physical Conditioning, is addressing. But Jeff underplayed the size criticism.
Academy Director and Coach Chris Weinke works with Clint Trickett
"You can't worry about being undersized and let it affect your game. He's strong as an ox already. Yeah, he needs to put on about five to six more pounds before the season, but more importantly, Clint needs to polish his skills, be consistent, and understand the plays inside and out," Dillman said, also adding several times that he needs to work on his flexibility.
Coach Weinke can attest to his on-field prowess. "I have known him for a few years and have watched him mature into a solid young quarterback with a bright future. He has great footwork in the pocket and can deliver the ball with good arc n' pace." According to Weinke, Clint has made huge strides at IMG since arriving on campus just five days ago. He has sharpened his accuracy and better understands the importance of throwing with great anticipation. I have been impressed with his demeanor, leadership skills and the attitude he brings to the practice field every day.
Clint's leadership skills and demeanor also impress Coach Weinke. Defining himself as a lead-by-example type of guy, Clint emanated leadership at a young age, a characteristic he followed to the quarterback position in second grade. His father Rick, FSU's OL Coach, also had a hand in the decision, convincing Clint he wasn't going to be a speedy wide receiver or a 6'6?, 300 pound lineman. For once, the leader badge may not be handed to the freshman, possibly a redshirt, surrounded by upperclassmen and guys that have graced the Florida State Football Practice Field for a soon-to-be five years.
"I know I need to tone it back a little and just try to lead-by-example even more to gain their trust, especially early on. But even if it's a guy who's been there for five years- if he's not working hard, I need to let him know."
On campus since January, Clint already feels good about his reception, admitting he wondered how his teammates would react to the new kid and son of a coach. "They've been great so far. I've felt welcome since day one and been getting respect. I'm excited about this year's team," he said; a team not operating under legendary coach Bobby Bowden for the first time since 1976. Despite a prep age upbringing around the garnet and gold- his dad's been there since 2007- Clint also seriously considered Florida and Arkansas before gravitating to Florida State's familiar offense, players, and staff.
Likely to redshirt this season, Clint is ok with that. The opportunity to sit back and learn under Quarterback Christian Ponder is a role he will embrace. But don't expect that to kill the competitor in Clint, who plans to work just as hard this year and, "go out full steam for the starting job next year."