Photo by Rick Watson.
1012 Barrett Trotter Briarwood
Former Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter coaches Briarwood Christian School quarterback Chandler Wilkins (left) and receiver Daniel Robert (right).
Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter had the best game of his college career during last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, when he led the Tigers to victory over the Virginia Cavaliers. And with the roar of the crowd still ringing in his ears, the former Briarwood Christian star quarterback headed back to Birmingham – back to his high school alma mater.
This summer when Briarwood Christian assistant coach Joe Craddock left for a new job at Clemson, it left a gap in the coaching staff. Trotter stepped in to lend a hand, and soon he was on the payroll as a part-time quarterback coach.
“He’s been a great addition for Briarwood,” Head Coach Fred Yancey said. “He knows the system, and he’s learned an awful lot at Auburn.”
Indeed, when he drove to Auburn the day after graduation to start classes, the biggest surprise was the intensity surrounding the athletic program.
“Coming out of high school, young athletes don’t understand how big a job it is there. It’s football 24/7,” Trotter said.
He said playing for the Tigers was a tremendous experience and a lot of fun, but it was harder work than he ever thought it would be. However, he said he felt playing on the first Auburn team to win the first National Championship since 1957 was huge.
Although Trotter is young, Yancey loves what he brings to the field.
“He has instant credibility with our kids,” he said. “They watched him on TV last year and saw him win the bowl game for Auburn. They’re excited to have a coach pretty close to their age who has just gone through what they are going through.”
It also helps that Trotter played at Briarwood. In 2007 he lead the team to an undefeated regular season with the only loss coming to St. Paul’s in the semi-final game of the Alabama high school football championship.
“He’s great!” said receiver Daniel Robert. “Everybody respects him. We look up to him because of where he was last year. He brought in plays and ideas from Auburn, which is a big advantage.”
Trotter is trying to help young Briarwood quarterbacks prepare for the this season’s games. He has his job cut out for him because neither of the students playing the slot had ever taken a snap at quarterback under the lights.
“He’s a great guy, but he’s a little different,” said quarterback Chandler Wilkins. “He’s hands on and very supportive helping the team with all the plays.”
On a personal level, Trotter is teaching the young guys to do the small things right, whatever they are doing.
“Get the little things fixed first,” he said.
Trotter added that a big part of the quarterback’s job is mental. He also tells young athletes that even if they aren’t getting to play, they should keep working hard to improve and show the coaches they have what it takes. He said that being successful partially comes from learning how to persevere through the tough times, when you don’t want to practice.
“It takes dedication to be good,” Trotter said.
When asked how he thinks the team will finish this year, he pointed to the school’s history despite losses at the start of the season for the young team.
“Each year, Briarwood has athletes who graduate and move on to play sports at the next level,” he said.
At Briarwood, Trotter threw for 7,968 passing yards, 88 touchdowns and 23 interceptions during his career. Both marks are school records, and his 88 touchdown passes are third all-time in Alabama state high school history.