MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- We thought it was harmless and honest, an open admission from a kid who's made fun of himself a few times since, but what Clint Trickett said in August still has meaning in November.
He transferred to West Virginia over the summer after graduating from Florida State early with two years of eligibility remaining, two years he'll spend with the Mountaineers. Yet he could have been on campus earlier. He could have graduated last December and joined the team for spring football.
But it didn't happen because Trickett said he was too ambitious with his class scheduling and gave himself more than he could handle. Trickett revealed over the summer that he failed a class in his final fall semester at Florida State. That delayed his graduation to the spring and his arrival at WVU until June, months after Paul Millard and Ford Childress played spring football to a draw.
Spring football is 15 practices long and it's made to last longer at WVU. The offense is installed in three days and then it's repeated and refined four other times. There's film before and after every practice and a day between the end of one three-day period and the start of the next so that coaches can revisit everything and remind players what they're doing right and wrong.
While it was happening here, Trickett was trying against all odds to unseat Jameis Winston at Florida State. Paul Millard was building on two years of experience and repetitions to build a lead that Trickett wouldn't be able to erase once he arrived and got with his teammates and in front of his coaches at preseason practice.
How different might this season be if Trickett were at WVU in the spring? Seeing as though Trickett was basically the costarter after only four weeks on campus, and would have conceivably been ahead with 15 spring practices before that, it's fair to assume things would be very different.
That's not something the Mountaineers can change, not as they fight for a 12th consecutive bowl game, not as they get ready for Texas and Saturday's 7 p.m. game on Fox at Mountaineer Field, but it's something they can look forward to.
Trickett will make his sixth straight start, and he's gotten better at communicating with his coaches and his teammates and with understanding and managing the offense. The trouble he had getting plays from Coach Dana Holgorsen and relaying them to teammates is mostly gone. He's able now to hurry the offense from the end of one play to the start of the next.
He and Holgorsen changed things to make the communication easier for the quarterback to digest, but those changes are about as exotic as they can get during a season. Holgorsen said Trickett still stumbles at times with terminology and about where to go with the ball. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said Trickett doesn't always have his eyes where they need to be and that means he's sometimes surprised to discover a receiver who's uncovered.
That's how the play is supposed to work, but Trickett is reacting instead of anticipating and that can lead to bad, rushed throws.