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FAU Potential Coaching Candidates: Travis Trickett

The former FAU offensive coordinator is still lighting up the scoreboard. Is he ready to lead a program on his own?

NCAA Football: Guaranteed Rate Bowl-Minnesota at West Virginia Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Career Path: In 2019, I went through Trickett’s career and credentials when FAU was looking for a head coach following Lane Kiffin’s departure to Ole Miss. Most of what I wrote then, still applies now, with an added caveat.

Trickett, South Florida’s now-former offensive coordinator was able to produce some solid outings of his group this year. Against SMU, Tulsa, and UCF, the Bulls averaged 34 points and 439 yards per game. Pretty good production, but when you factor in the Bulls dealing with a bevy of injuries and starting a true freshman at QB, it’s easy to be more impressed with Trickett’s ability to run an offense.

While USF failed to win a game under Trickett, the season finale in the annual rivalry game against UCF was the highlight of his short stint. Down 28-0, USF stormed back to take the lead in the game’s final minutes before falling to the Knights 46-39 via a game-winning touchdown. The Bulls didn’t quit under his leadership and that goes a long way in factoring in his candidacy to lead a team at this level.

Buzz Surrounding The Hire: Given that FAU and USF will be conference mates starting next year, there would be some chatter about USF passing over Trickett, only for him to land with a conference rival. FAU and USF are in an interesting place in this new AAC. Both jobs are on the market and both are viewed as jobs with upside that still need work as far as admin commitment and fan support go. A decade ago USF was easily the better job. But in 2022 it’s not so clear cut which is a testament to FAU’s gains, and USF’s struggles. Both schools are likely looking at the same group of candidates to fill their vacancy. Trickett isn’t a flashy name, but he’ll move the needle for those in the Sunshine State.

What’s There To Like: Trickett’s offenses score a lot of points with an established identity on offense, something FAU lacked under Willie Taggart. He knows how to recruit the state given his previous stops, and is well-connected when it comes to building a staff. Unlike Taggart, who had little sense of urgency considering he’d already reached his dream job at Florida State, Trickett would arrive in Boca hungry and motivated at this opportunity.

Why They Should Proceed With Caution: I guess it’s a matter of generating excitement and funding. It’s no secret that FAU has a small alumni and donor base and while that didn’t matter as much in Conference USA, the American Athletic Conference is a different animal. UTSA, East Carolina, SMU, Memphis, and Tulane have shown a clear commitment to their football program, and sans UTSA, each has an alumni base that dwarfs FAU. Can Trickett tap into the deep pockets in South Florida and get folks to invest in the program as it pertains to NIL and facilities? Being that FAU will be joining a new conference, hiring a big name would be ideal. Trickett isn’t exactly that.

Why He Would Take The Job: Lane Kiffin jump-started his head coaching career at FAU by winning two C-USA Championships in three years. One with a roster he inherited full of high school recruits from Florida, the other with a roster he built using the transfer portal. Building a winner is attainable and you have a variety of ways to do so. After years as a position coach and offensive coordinator, it’s getting to the point where Trickett should be up for head coaching jobs. Why not start your head coaching career with one of the best G5 jobs in the country?

Analysis: FAU is in a pretty unique spot. They’ve surpassed FIU and joined a conference full of programs who care about football, who invest in football, and expect to not only win, but win big. The level of commitment the university displayed to surpass the likes of FIU and Middle Tennessee will not be enough in the AAC. With a 12-team playoff and real access for the G5 on the horizon, unprecedented growth and exposure is on the table for FAU. UCF laid out the blueprint for how to become a household name in the CFB world and how they broke through was hiring an up-and-coming coach who brought an exciting offense. I think Travis Trickett could be that guy.

Much of what I wrote initially still applies here. Trickett has little to no red flags. He’s learned from the best coaches in the game like Nick Saban. He knows Florida well and would have little problems recruiting the personnel needed to execute his offense. I still can’t see too many downsides should FAU go in this direction.

Unlike 2019, however, the stakes are much higher and the competition is stiffer.

FAU can’t afford to miss here. Trickett would join a crowded group of anonymous head coaches in the AAC looking to make a name for themselves. But I still like him and believe he should be on the short list of coaches for FAU President John Kelly and FAU Athletic Director Brian White. When you consider that he wouldn’t command a high salary, I like the idea even more. On a scale of 1-10 this hire would be an 8.