Jan. 4, 2014
Rick Trickett, from Auburn to Florida State to BCS Media Day on Saturday (Lauren Barnard photo)
By Charles Goldberg
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Offensive line coaches J.B. Grimes and Rick Trickett must be doing something right. Grimes' Auburn offensive line has paved the way for the Tigers to lead the nation in rushing. Trickett's Florida State offensive line has kept quarterback Jameis Winston upright on the way to the Heisman Trophy.
Now, the two veteran coaches with Auburn ties will square off in the BCS Championship Game on Monday in Pasadena.
They go way back in the offensive line coaching fraternity, from one replacing the other in 1989, to now both having Auburn as a coaching stop on their resumes after Grimes joined the Tigers this season.
Grimes says he and Trickett are really on the same offensive line page.
"Our thinking is very similar. I think he coaches it about like I do," Grimes said.
Grimes says he's probably not as fiery as Trickett, though Trickett said Saturday he's toned it down over the years. They know the journey. Trickett followed Grimes as Mississippi State's offensive line coach in 1989.
Trickett coached at Auburn from 1993-98. That's where he crossed paths with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, when he was also on the staff. He was an Auburn coach when Dameyune Craig was the Tigers' quarterback, before Craig would join Trickett on the FSU coaching staff, before Craig would return to Auburn this season.
Through it all, Trickett said came to appreciate Auburn.
"My family has good memories of Auburn. It's a great place to live, a great place to raise kids."
So much so that his son, quarterback Clint Trickett, considered attending Auburn last year before transferring from Florida State to West Virginia, his dad's home state.
Trickett says he likes his offensive line, but also takes a realistic approach, saying good running backs and quarterbacks make everybody look good.
"It's just like when we first went to Auburn, we had some pretty good linemen there. But we had Stephen Davis and James Bostic," he said. "We probably had the biggest offensive line we ever had at Auburn, and the most athletic, but if we didn't have Steve Davis and James Bostic... It's all what you got in the backfield.
"You take that same line and put 4.7 back back there, and a 4.8 quarterback, you'd be griping about the line."
Nobody is griping about Florida State's offense this season. The Seminoles are 28 points away from setting the Division I all-time scoring record, and leads the nation in red zone offense and passing efficiency. Florida State is second in scoring, too.
And there's that Auburn thing about leading the nation in rushing.
More similarities. More coaching ties.
"I think Gus told their staff that we probably knew more people in Alabama than his staff does," Trickett said. "You're going to have that crossover. That makes it more interesting."
Craig is the most recent crossover. He was at Florida State just last season. Trickett said he wasn't sure if his former quarterback would be in such a position.
"I didn't know if Dameyune would be a coach or not. I knew he was a doggone good football player. Sometimes, after they play pro football for a while, they try to figure out what route they want to go," Trickett said.
But Trickett said he knew Craig could be a leader.
"He has that. Jameis has that. They're not scared to take the blame," Trickett said. "They don't throw their teammates under the bus. And they lead. He has that. Dameyune has a lot of the same qualities."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine