DALLAS - Dana Holgorsen is looking for a resurgence in West Virginia University's football program this year - and it all starts with quarterback Clint Trickett.
The senior will be at the helm of the Mountaineer offense this season, and Holgorsen believes his knowledge of the offense, his hard work during the off season and his ability to be both an on-field and locker room leader - something WVU lacked in 2013 - will make the team relevant in its third year of Big 12 play.
Trickett transferred to WVU last year from Florida State, where he backed up E.J. Manuel. Holgorsen said Trickett has mastered the playbook, is healthy and is ready to make in impact in 2014 after being injured much of last year.
AP Photo/Michael Garcia, dressed as the West Virginia Mountaineer, carries a musket after posing for a photo with cheerleaders and mascots at the Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media days in Dallas, Tuesday.
"Not only does he possess the knowledge that it takes to be successful in the game of football, he understands the knowledge that needs to exist when it comes to our team," Holgorsen, WVU's head coach, said during Tuesday's Big 12 media day event in Dallas. "He's been out there working with our guys all summer. He's healthy, 100 percent. Arm strength is awesome, body weight is good."
Holgorsen said Trickett's leadership abilities stand above all else.
"He'll be able to take that to another level. People follow him. He understands what it takes to be successful," he said.
And success is something WVU can have this year, Holgorsen believes, as his players now understand the rigors of the Big 12.
"So I think our players in our locker room understand what the Big 12 is all about. They understand how challenging it is. They understand what the venues are like. I think our guys are ready to go. They're up for the challenge. We play one of the toughest if not the toughest schedule in the country," he said.
The tough schedule is something WVU fans need to come to expect - year in and year out.
"The days of rolling through the Big East and being able to play in a BCS game are long gone. We're not thinking about that anymore. Although that was fun and that was a huge moment (for) West Virginia University, it's a whole different ballgame right now," he said.
"One of the things that has happened in the Big 12 over the last two years, we have not been dominant in the Big 12, obviously. I don't know how many teams have been dominant in the Big 12. Parity is upon us. Better be ready to go each and every week."
One weakness for the Mountaineers has been the defense. Holgorsen said he has spent much of the off season working to rebuild that side of the ball - particularly with depth.
"Probably the biggest difference in the conference that we used to be in (the Big East) and the conference that we're in now is (you need depth) if you want to win," he said. " The style of ball that exists in the Big 12, although very exciting style of play, you're going to end up taking more snaps. So when guys get tired, you better be able to replace those guys with guys that go in, perform at a very high level.
"I think we're at that point right now. (We) have 55 guys on our team that have played Big 12 football. So that just means that there's guys that have played that are experienced and should continue to get better each and every year."