Florida State has signed offensive line coach Rick Trickett to a contract extension through the 2015 football season, worth a reported $455K annually.
The contract runs through 2016, but it is January of 2016, so it does not cover the 2016 season. I believe that makes it so that all of FSU's coaches are extended for at least two more seasons, and assistants landing multi-year deals is the norm now in major college football. Interestingly, according to Bob Ferrante, Trickett's contract reportedly does not contain a buyout. I'll get to that in a moment.
I think Florida State is in a bit of a catch-22 here. Trickett has done a very nice job coaching the offensive line. Did did a very good job in 2008 (with the youngest offensive line in the country), and again produced high quality lines in 2009, 2010 and 2012. 2011, the year in which FSU led the country in offensive line starts lost to injury, sticks out as a bit of a sore thumb.
The main issue with Trickett is his recruiting (FSU fans seem to confuse this with his coaching, of which there are few legitimate criticisms). Getting players is of vital importance in college football, and Trickett hurts FSU's ability to get players in a few ways.
First, Trickett is not a great recruiter himself. Current recruits, born in 1996, like to be told how good they are and have constant adoration strewn upon them. That's not exactly Trickett's style. It's fair to question if Trickett, 65, relates to teenagers as well as other college coaches, even offensive line coaches specifically.
Second, Trickett's coaching methods are a constant target for negative recruiting by other teams, including a certain rival. Trickett could stand to practice about 15 percent less berating/yelling/slapping kids in the helmet with his hat/rhetoric and about 10-15% more instruction. He's a good coach, but his reputation as an extremely tough, old-school coach precedes him, and is in some part perpetuated by Trickett himself. And while his antics turn some people off, his reputation likely does more damage, particularly with parents.
Florida State's recruiting targets hear a constant stream of "if you don't go to the SEC you're a p*$$#***." It's the reality of being an ACC school, and no amount of playing and beating SEC teams will change that. SEC schools sell the league. You're in the league, or you're not.
But offensive line recruits hear that, and one more line as well. They, along with their parents, are inundated with the additional "Rick Trickett will mistreat you (or your son)" line. And while it is impossible to gauge the exact amount of trouble this line of negative recruiting causes Florida State, you'd be foolish to think it is insignificant.
I don't see how the extension combats that issue.
There is another issue of negative recruiting, however, which it does somewhat help to counteract. That issue? Schools telling recruits that Trickett, who is 65, will soon retire and won't be there for their career. This is similar to what head coaches who do not have a four-year extension face (though often, with head coaches, competing schools claim he "will be fired"). And in today's world of college football, this is apparently extending to assistant coaches, which I guess is the natural progression of the game as assistants at major schools all carry multi-year contracts.
While this doesn't ensure that Trickett will be here for a recruit's entire career, it probably makes sense to extend it through the 2015 season as opposed to the 2014 year. Why? Because it's easy for schools to tell a kid, or his parent(s) that Trickett will be gone after 2014, when quarterback Clint Trickett is out of eligibility. This extension is a way of telling recruits that the offensive line coach's tenure at Florida state is not tied to his son. In fact, it suggests that he could be in Tallahassee longer than Clint Trickett.
The real question I have here is about the raise.
What has Rick Trickett done to deserve roughly a 14-percent raise?
He previously received a raise in January of 2011 from $325K to $400K, an increase of roughly 23-percent.
And considering the run he had from 2008-2010, I was fully in favor of it (as was pretty much everyone).
Raises are to prevent someone from moving to another position, to reward past performance that was above the compensation level received, with the hope that it will be repeated, or in exchange for increased duties.
Have other schools approached Rick Trickett and tried to hire him away? Not to my knowledge.
Has Trickett become a better offensive line coach or recruiter since January of 2011? It's hard to answer that in the affirmative. And failing to do so is not a slight against Trickett.
Is Trickett taking on more duties, perhaps lightening the load from an overtaxed Jimbo Fisher? This one, I cannot answer.
Taken in a vacuum, the raise is not a smart move by Florida State. Rick Trickett has likely peaked as a coach and a recruiter, and FSU is overpaying, considering its budget.
But this isn't in a vacuum. The lack of a buyout is very important here. Florida State is paying roughly 14% more on the front end, but avoids a buyout on the back end if things go South.
Still, is there any reason to believe that Trickett would not have signed for his previous salary of $400K? The lack of a buyout doesn't totally make this OK, it simply lessens the amount of overpayment.
Now back to the recruiting.
As we've noted before, much of Florida State's offensive line recruiting issues are not on Rick Trickett, but on Jimbo Fisher. Everything comes back to the head coach, but I'm not talking about that. Here, I am specifically discussing, again, Jimbo's failures in the past to take enough offensive line recruits, which I have on good authority that Trickett has wanted to do. Instead, scholarships were given to other positions. This failure is even worse than many realize, because offensive line recruiting is the position with which recruit star ratings have the weakest correlation. The solution is numbers, and FSU's head man has not thrown numbers at the issue, despite claiming at a previous press conference that he would like to have around 17 offensive linemen on scholarship each year (this year FSU has 14).
It's Fisher's job to know that he has someone who is quite good at coaching, but not good at player procurement. And to that end, he failed in not allowing FSU to take more offensive linemen in previous years, instead of favoring other positions.
The counter to this, of course, is that in at least one year, Fisher's decision to allocate scholarships elsewhere was justified. FSU arguably needed defense in the worst way, specifically in the class of 2010 (FSU's 2009 defense was the ACC's aside from Duke), and it made sense to sign, sign and sign some more on defense. But that doesn't excuse subsequent years.
And there has been a certain amount of bad luck on the recruiting trail, specifically on the offensive line, that I cannot attribute to either man. It just happens. And it's unfortunate that it has happened on the offensive line more than other positions. I don't believe this bad luck was caused by Rick Trickett or Jimbo Fisher. I think it's simply bad luck. But I don't expect casual fans to understand that.
This year, as has been well documented, FSU is offering offensive line recruits left and right. Considerably more than normal at this time of year. It needs a large haul (6-8) players, and it is being very aggressive about going out and getting that. With roughly 300 days until National Signing Day, we have a while to see how this recruiting class unfolds.
When you have a good chef who doesn't bring home enough groceries, it's up to the proprietor to know this and get him the ingredients and allow him to do his work. Trickett is, at least in contract, FSU's offensive line coach for the coming three seasons, and that is what Jimbo must do.