West Virginia senior quarterback Clint Trickett knew how talented a team he’d face in the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, but rather, it’s what they didn’t do that was unexpected in Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
“Honestly, they played us completely different than we thought they were going to,” Trickett said. “They didn’t play any man. They played complete zone and our game plan was completely opposite.”
Even with the change in game plan by head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff, Trickett still completed 29-of-45 passes to seven different West Virginia receivers for 365 yards, a career-high, and a touchdown.
Trickett would praise head coach Dana Holgorsen’s system for executing in light of the Alabama defensive change saying, “For us to be able to drive down the field like that, it’s a testament to our system, too,” he said. “The system is good enough by itself to be able to do that.”
If not for dropped passes by receivers in key situations, West Virginia could have made the final moments much more stressful for Alabama, but Trickett avoided trying to call out any of those players after game one of the season.
“It’s the first game of the year. If I get on them, who knows what it’s going to do the rest of the year? They’re going to make those plays. I have complete confidence in the older guys, younger guys. I know they are going to make those plays and I’m not upset about it at all.”
Prior to the loss to Alabama Saturday, Holgorsen believed that his biggest test as head coach would be today instead of the preparation for the Crimson Tide through the offseason and fall camp this month.
“I think the bigger coaching challenge is going to be on Sunday – getting these guys to overcome what happened, whether it’s positive or negative,” Holgorsen said during his press conference last Tuesday. “We will deal with that on Sunday, but these guys are going to be ready to play.”
Trickett didn’t share Holgorsen’s thoughts about today , noting the leadership on the team and what the Alabama loss means in the big picture for the rest of the regular season.
“I disagree with it because we have very mature team,” Trickett said. “We’re not patting ourselves on the back. We lost the game. We understand that it is a long season. This isn’t our Super Bowl. This wasn’t going to make or break our season. It doesn’t even affect our Big 12 contention.”
Towson, West Virginia’s next opponent, is also 0-1 after being upset by Central Connecticut State 31-27 Saturday, but Trickett feels the team will be ready to rebound to avoid the team’s first 0-2 start since the 1979 season.
“It’s a night game in Morgantown. We’re going to come out juiced. I’m not worried at all about the guys because they have the same attitude as me and we’re going to come out just fine.”