TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Clint Trickett was meeting with reporters earlier this spring for the first of what promises to be many summits on the state of the quarterback battle at Florida State when he was asked if it bothered him that a majority of fans already had relegated him to third-tier status behind Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston.
The suggestion came as something of a surprise to Trickett, which is probably a good indication of how little time he has put into reading the message boards and gauging the fan base.
"I thought the fans liked me," he said. "Every time I've gone in, I've heard cheers."
Trickett has earned cheers as Florida State's top backup for the past two seasons, even if his playing time has been sporadic. And it's not as if the base has turned on him en masse following EJ Manuel's departure, either. It's just that, with so little on-field evidence by which the fans can judge the quarterback contenders, the most heated debate of the spring has become largely a popularity contest, and the big-armed Coker and recruiting coup Winston are simply hotter commodities.
Trickett is the skinny kid with the pedestrian skill set whose dad also happens to be on the coaching staff. Rooting for him to win the job just isn't as much fun, and he understands the sentiment.
"I'm a three-star guy out of high school, and there's nothing I could do about that," Trickett said. "I've just got to go out there and play."
While head coach Jimbo Fisher still hasn't offered anything resembling a detailed glimpse into his perception of the quarterback race, what is clear through three weeks of spring practice is that Trickett has no intentions of ceding the battle to his younger competitors.
Coker has battled a foot injury, and Winston is still learning on the job. Coker's career includes just five pass attempts, and Winston has yet to play in a game. They're both immensely talented, but it's their long-term potential that has fans so enamored.
Trickett, on the other hand, is building his case around the here and now.
To read more of David M. Hale's story, click here.