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Mitch Vingle: Trickett says ‘getting healthy’

Clint Trickett had more than a little bustle in his life on Tuesday.

He was in the midst of moving.

He had a meeting at 4:30 p.m.

Oh, and he was named the starting quarterback for West Virginia’s largest land-grant university. (I say largest because, yes, there are two. The other is — drum roll, please — West Virginia State. Look it up.)

Mountaineer football coach Dana Holgorsen apparently felt June 24 at 2:37 p.m. was the time to release the news and did so through WVU’s sports information office.

Was the timing somewhat odd? Yes. Was the news surprising? No.

Step back and assess the current situation. The Mountaineer football program has taken a significant step back since its team started 5-0 the season before last. The record last year was 4-8. The last bowl WVU played in resulted in a 38-14 loss to Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl back when there was a Big East that had football.

In other words, Holgorsen is on the hot seat. He’s facing Alabama in the first game of the upcoming season. His team is playing a

brutal schedule. He’s not going to put his job in the hands of an incoming freshman like supposedly talented William Crest, who wasn’t available for spring drills.

Trickett is not only Holgorsen’s best option, he’s pretty much his only option. A healthy Paul Millard didn’t fare much better than an injured Trickett last season. Ford Childress, statistically the best QB last season, albeit in very limited action, left. Junior college transfer Skylar Howard apparently didn’t wow the coaching staff this past spring.

Which brings us back to Trickett.

As mentioned, he was busy Tuesday. But I was able to reach him and ask about last season. Remember, he was quite the spark for the Mountaineers at one point. In his first start, he led WVU to a 30-21 victory over Oklahoma State. He completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards. But in the fourth quarter, he was injured. He battled afterward, but the Mountaineers veered off the tracks. The won-lost column after the OSU game showed L, L, L, W, L, L and L.

I asked Trickett if he experienced severe pain after the Oklahoma State game.

“Just every day from then on,” he said Tuesday.

Dish the kid kudos for playing through the pain, but the injury did show. Trickett finished 99th nationally in passing yards. Had he qualified for the passing efficiency stat, he would have been 93rd. His completion percentage would have been 99th at 52. 8 percent. (As a comparison, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater was at 71 percent.) Trickett’s passing-yards-per-game stat would have been 63rd at 200.6.

Holgorsen, though, obviously saw talent, in addition to leadership. He obviously believes Trickett is going to be healthy enough after shoulder surgery, performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

“Dr. Andrews did it in the middle of January,” Trickett said. “We waited because we knew I was injured, but we didn’t know exactly what it was. We knew I needed surgery, but we didn’t know what kind. When we found out, we had it.”

According to Trickett, it was a Grade 2 AC joint separation, which involves a partial dislocation of the joint.

“Then, once [Andrews] got in there, he saw I had a torn rotator cuff,” said the QB. “I’m not a doctor, though.”

Whatever the specifics, it had to be painful for the Florida State transfer.

“Since then, it’s been a little rough,” Trickett said. “I wanted to be with the team. I wanted to be out there. But I’m getting healthy. I’m getting stronger.”

Note that he is not completely healthy.

“It takes a little longer to warm up,” said the QB. “I’m seven weeks into a 14-week progression. I still have some hangups, but the plan has been on track and hopefully that will continue.”

Trickett said he’s still rehabilitating and is on a “pitch count” of sorts that ends when fall camp begins on Aug. 1.

Of the announcement, Trickett said he figured if the coaching staff saw him healthy that he’d be the guy.

“I’ve been out there passing for about a week and I guess Coach [Holgorsen] saw what he needed to see,” Trickett said.

He apparently sees a QB with talent and a knowledge of the system. He apparently sees a nice running back stable to lean on if Trickett isn’t 100 percent healthy when the season starts. He apparently sees the big picture, which includes Alabama as the opener.

And he apparently sees Trickett as the best option to try and turn WVU’s fortunes around.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.


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