Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett knew he wouldn't have it easy this season -- and that was before he lost both projected starters Daron Rose and Evan Bellamy. Yet, just as he doesn't tolerate excuses from his offensive line, he isn't making any now.
"We've got a good core," Trickett said Tuesday afternoon, "We just have a tough year we have to get through."
The degree of difficulty increased after Rose was lost to academic issues, then got worse when Bellamy recently learned he'd be out six months due to blood clots in his leg. That leaves Trickett with two standout sophomores, Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon, and a lot of inexperienced players.
"When you have four sophomores and seven freshmen and you lose one of them guys that -- at least (Bellamy) started one game -- it concerns you," Trickett said.
Trickett could use some extra time to season those young players, but NCAA rules don't allow it during the summer. So Trickett will be teaching a crash course when practice begins in August.
"It's just going to be from day one at camp, just meet and meet and meet and then I have to watch that I don't overfry them, where they're toast," he said.
That's the tricky part, filling those young players minds with essential information, but making sure he doesn't overload them.
Trickett will get reminders of how young his players are, like when his son, Clint, mentions that he's not much younger than freshman Andrew Datko.
"They're big in stature, but they're still young guys," he said. "But from what I've seen of them, I'm pleased with their work ethic. They seem like really intelligent guys."
And they're guys Trickett thinks can handle the pressure they'll face this season. Trickett probably needs a sizeable number of those freshmen to contribute immediately, and he thinks he has a few.
"I think there's four in that group that are really salty dogs," he said. "So either you hang on and be one or you're going to be an outcast. And then you have McMahon and Hudson and (Will) Furlong."
Trickett also knows he has a couple of pretty good leaders in Hudson and McMahon, as young as they may be.
"When your true freshman was the leader of your group (like Hudson last year), you knew you had a problem," Trickett said. "Now he's going to be a sophomore and Ryan as well. I think they're a little more mature. They shouldn't have to be the leaders right now but they are, and I think they'll do a good job because of the people they are."