Rick Trickett was recently pulled over by a patrolman for "doing something wrong traffic-wise."
After taking Trickett's driver license, the officer asked him where he was headed. Trickett replied that he was in a hurry to get to a Florida State football staff meeting.
"He followed with another question: What do you coach?
"I said I coach offensive line," Trickett said. "He handed me my driver's license back and he said you have enough problems. You got your work cut out for you."
Indeed, Trickett does.
The former West Virginia assistant coach took over an offensive line in January, 2007 that tilted the scales, lacked depth and had been criticized for not being physical the previous season. At least he had three seniors with some experience.
But now in addition to losing Shannon Boatman, David Overmyer and Jacky Claude after last season, starting tackle Daron Rose became academically ineligible after the spring semester. And more recently Evan Bellamy, after gaining valuable experience in the Music City Bowl, was hospitalized with a blood clot and must miss this season. Earlier, Dumaka Atkins moved to the defensive line and backup Tyler Graves transferred.
That will force Trickett to turn to youth this fall. Six freshmen will join an already young group anchored by rising sophomores Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon. Just how young his line will be was underscored by a conversation with his son, Clint, a junior quarterback at North Florida Christian.
"Clint, my youngest son comes up to me and tells me that (Andrew) Datko is only a month or so older than he is," the veteran coach said. "That brings everything back to reality. They are big in stature but they are still young guys. ... They seem like real intelligent guys."
Datko is one of six true freshmen on campus. Blake Snider will likely greyshirt - meaning he won't enroll at FSU until January. And the same may apply to Garrett Faircloth.
"There's about four in that group of the six that are pretty salty dogs," Trickett said. "And you hang on and be one or you're going to be the outcast. And then McMahon and Hudson they've stepped up - and Furlong. We've got a good core.
"We've just got a tough year here we've got to get through. Once we get through this tough year, boy ...."