I was in Tallahassee this spring for a story. First thing I did was see Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett.
"You still haven't grown any hair," he says to me.
But he was more interested in watching highlights of high school linemen. He was jammed in a back office, sitting among a sea of DVDs and tapes.
"Watch this guy move," he says. "Got to get him to camp."
Trickett is looking for linemen. He needs them. He has to have them to bolster a Seminoles' front that was awful last season, his first in Tallahassee. Trickett doesn't give a rip if you're a five-star recruit or a no-star recruit. Trickett's only requirement: that you love football.
"When I was at West Virginia, I didn't have any star recruits," Trickett says. "I beat out schools like Lehigh and Penn for guys.
"I am looking for big, mean and nasty guys who play with an attitude."
West Virginia annually had some of the nation's best fronts with Trickett at the controls. And the core of a Mountaineers unit he left behind in Morgantown will be one of the best fronts in America this fall. Bill Stewart should send Trickett a thank-you note. Better yet, maybe he could buy Trickett some chrome parts for the Harley he loves to ride.
"Oh, yeah," Trickett says. "I have had the bike out several times this spring."
Trickett needed time to clear his head on Harley rides after a trying first season at FSU. He is well-paid, reportedly $400,000 per year, but he's earning his money. Calling FSU's line "patchwork" is kind. Trickett would like to sign five linemen in February to bolster a roster with just 11 scholarship linemen.
This fall may be no better. Trickett faces one of the biggest challenges of his career trying to mold a decent front wall from a group littered with youth and inexperience. His task got more difficult when projected starting tackle Daron Rose was declared academically ineligible for the season. Rose is expected back after the season; he will spend this fall at a junior college in his hometown of Tampa.
If FSU opened the season tomorrow, Rodney Hudson (sophomore) would be the left tackle, Evan Bellamy (sophomore) the left guard; Ryan McMahon (sophomore) the center; Will Furlong (redshirt freshman) the right guard and Antwane Greenlee (redshirt freshman) the right tackle. Hudson was a freshman All-American at guard last season.
"It's going to be a challenge," Trickett says. "But we'll get it done … eventually."