For those within the program, there is no question about who Florida State’s starting quarterback is or who it will be for the rest of the season. Manuel, who still hasn’t practiced because of an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, will “most definitely” return to his place in the starting lineup in time for next week’s game at Wake Forest. Meanwhile, Trickett this week continues to take the reps with the first team with Manuel sidelined.
“EJ is our quarterback,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Just like EJ played terrific filling in for Christian [Ponder], but I think you get in trouble when you do that. I think you have to identify your quarterback, and if one’s not playing well, then you know you’ve got another one to play. EJ was playing very well when he was injured, so EJ will be the quarterback.”
For some outside the program, though, the answer isn’t that simple.
In his first career start -- which came on the road, against a ranked Clemson team, and in front of 82,000 people -- Trickett played well enough to win. The Seminoles didn’t, though, losing 35-30 to the Tigers, but it certainly wasn’t because of poor quarterback play. Aside from his lanky frame, Trickett didn’t look like a redshirt freshman as he completed 24 of 38 passes for 336 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Granted, it wasn’t a flawless performance -- Tricket threw one pass right to Clemson linebacker Quandon Christian deep in Noles territory. It was impressive enough, though, for Florida State fans to rest assured that they’ve got a backup more than capable of starting if needed -- or, if given the opportunity.
Trickett, who wowed fans in Week 3 with his poise against No. 1-ranked Oklahoma when Manuel was injured, said he hasn’t been given any indication by the coaching staff (which also includes his father, offensive line coach Rick Trickett) that he would be given a shot to win the job when Manuel is healthy. Nor is he all that concerned about it.
“Whatever the coaches decide to do, I’m fine with it,” he said.
He’s also human, though, and wants the starting job just as much as one might expect him to.
“It is hard, and it was hard for EJ last year, because people were telling him maybe you should start instead of Ponder,” Trickett said. “I trust my coaches, bottom line, and if they want EJ to start, that’s fine. If they want me to start, that’s fine, too. You’ve just got to take it like that. I trust my coaches.”
And right now, they put their trust in a healthy EJ Manuel.