Clint Trickett grew up with nothing but animosity for University of Alabama football.
The West Virginia University quarterback's father, Rick, was offensive line coach at Auburn for several years.
"You hated that name, you really did," he said in a telephone interview after practice this week.
Things changed when a receiver from Clint Trickett's high school committed to Alabama and he tagged along on some visits.
"I got to go up and visit the games and stuff," he said, "and then my brother (Travis) was actually a (graduate assistant) for Nick (Saban) his first year there, and I loved Alabama.
"That's part of life. You're never going to just hate something because it's that: you may think you do, but in actuality they're not much different than any programs I've been around."
Clint Trickett will see Alabama up close Saturday when West Virginia plays the Crimson Tide in Atlanta's Georgia Dome to open the 2014 season.
"Coach Saban does a great job, and I respect the dude almost as much as any person can respect someone," Trickett said. "He is where he is because he is such a great coach, and Alabama, he's done a great job with them.
"There's a lot of tradition, 'Bear' Bryant and you can go on and on with the players, but no team is unbeatable. With that being said, they do have some hell of a prestige around them."
While at Florida State, Trickett practiced every day with Alabama quarterback Jake Coker, a junior who followed Trickett's transfer playbook, transferring to UA after graduating so he could be eligible to play immediately.
Coker is bracketed as the co-No. 1 quarterback on Alabama's depth chart with senior Blake Sims.
"He left after the spring and had to get up there in fall camp and that's exactly what I did (the year before)," Trickett said. "I told him, 'Man, it's rough.' I wasn't able to start right off the bat, I don't know if he is or not, but it's a long season and he's going to learn."
Trickett rates Coker's arm up there with current FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy last year, and former Florida State quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Christian Ponder, who are both in the National Football League.
"I'll say this, Alabama fans are lucky to have him," Trickett said of Coker. "He's one of the best throwers I've seen, personally, and that includes a Heisman Trophy winner and two first-rounders. He can throw the (expletive) out of the ball. Jake and I talk all the time. I wish him the best of luck, just not on that first game."
Trickett expects to face an extraordinary Alabama defense.
"You see big guys up front, you see fast guys in the secondary and you see big, fast guys in the middle," he said. "That's what they are. You see well-coached, very disciplined, very aggressive, very athletic specimens out there, you see a lot of NFL-ready guys. You see what you would want to see in a defense, honestly.
"That's why they are who they are, but we're not too bad ourselves and we're going to go out there and give them our best shot."
Trickett transferred from Florida State before last season. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound senior didn't have to sit out because he had already graduated, and he completed 123 of 233 passes for 1,605 yards and seven touchdowns, playing in eight games and starting seven. He sustained a shoulder injury and played through it before having surgery in January.
"You're going to see a guy who does know the offense better, who's not going to be hesitant out there, and they're going to see a guy who is, hopefully for the whole year, healthy," he said. "That wasn't the case at all last year.
"It was a rough year personally and as a team. Hopefully the people last year saw a guy who is going to fight it out through a lot of pain, and you can respect that, but hopefully this year they'll see a guy who is healthy and can wins some games for them. Respect is nice and all, but everybody wants to win some games, and I do too."
Reach Tommy Deas at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0224.