I know you are high on the prospect of an offer for Sammy Douglas from Arlington. 6'2"- 190 LB, any idea what kind of frame he has to fill out? 190-210 LBs seem a bit light for the big offensive lines we will be seeing?I actually saw Douglas up close about a week ago and he definitely has the frame to add on plenty of weight. In comparison, I saw Deryck Gildon before his senior year and to be honest, Douglas already looks bigger. Right now Gildon is reportedly 235. Another plus for Douglas is bloodlines, his dad is 6-foot-7 so it's easy to think the younger Douglas can get to at least 6-3 or 6-4. His coach, Scott Peach, feels he'll be one of those kids that plays college ball at 6-3, 6-4, and weight between 235-245.
Besides A'Shawn and Robbie Rhodes, are there any other FWISD kids to keep an eye on as potential FBS level recruits?Robinson and Rhodes are certainly the biggest names. I also like Wesley Harris out of Southwest too; he's getting some interest on defense and will be at TCU on Saturday with Rhodes according to what Coach Lanny Trammell at Southwest told me this morning. Harris if you remember is the kid who threw for 9 touchdowns against Arlington Heights last year. Another player I like that isn't getting a ton of interest right now is O.D. Wyatt's Ladell Marshall. He's another 6-2, 190 type with speed to burn. He played everything for Wyatt in 2011; quarterback, runningback, receiver and some defensive back. He's also a track guy who won his regional in the 100m and took home 5th in state. He ran a 10.6 at the regional meet.
1st spring practice is Friday at 4:00 PM. What are your expectations? For those that don't know entirely what to expect... are spring practices done in full pads/full contact or are the first few very limited with shells only?In the fall the NCAA has a mandate that the teams can only have X amount of practices in full pads. So, usually they go just helmets and shoulder pads for the first three practices. For spring, I'm not sure if the same rules apply but if I were to guess, I'd imagine that they will be in just helmets today and probably throw on the shoulder pads tomorrow. I can see them going full pads by the fourth practice.
For contact, they usually tell the players to "stay up" but there are some scrimmages where everything is live. One of the main focuses of spring for GP and staff is to come out healthy. On expectations, Spring is always fun to watch because it's usually a new batch of players trying their best to make good impressions and secure playing time heading to fall.
We seem to have offers out to a number of WRs. How many do you think we take in this class? If you had to categorize our interest level in each how would you rank them?The Frogs only lose one receiver at the end of the season, Skye Dawson. They currently have offers out to John Diarse, Eldridge Massington, Ra'Shaad Samples and Austin Bennett. Robbie Rhodes could be next and Slanina is a guy that could play receiver. In my opinion I think they take two and whichever two decide to commit, they leave it at that. I feel they want at least one big body receiver and maybe another slot. If you look at the trend, they offered Ricky Seals-Jones, Jake Oliver and Massington. That tells me they are looking for the tall receiver, especially with just two on their roster over 6-2.
What is your take on Antonio Graves moving to LB and for which LB position do you feel he is best suited?I personally love the move. And it makes sense. The linebacker unit was literally gutted in the off-season, losing four players. The bad news is they only signed one from the 2012 class so it made sense to move Graves to add depth. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 222-pounds and runs really well. If he can adapt to playing linebacker, then watch out. I think he's best suited at strong/sam where he will have the room to make plenty of plays against the run and on pass coverage. He's not afraid to hit people, I can see him becoming a player in the same mold as Kenny Cain.
What Jr. Day visitors give us the best chance at a commit?I also discussed this in the BlitzInsider but I feel if Arlington High linebacker Sammy Douglas gets an offer, he will commit. He loves everything about TCU and he comes from a close-knit family so the opportunity to play close to home in the Big 12 is a big plus to him. If you would've asked me this question two weeks ago, I would've said Duke Riley as well. However, in my last conversation with Riley he says he still wants to look at his options. But, you never know with recruiting, that could easily change once he hits campus and realizes the Frogs need some linebackers.
My gut tells me that Ty Slanina is a player that really likes TCU, but I'd be surprised if he pulled the trigger this early from what he told me back on Feb. 13th. Could I eventually see him at TCU? You bet.
Besides the fullback/LB move by Graves, who else is a "must see the field" guy this year? What parts of Pachall's game do you expect to see some improvement? What do you think are the toughest home and road tests for the Frogs this year? Have you noticed an impact from Glasgow's return already? Any differences in Fuente leaving? Are there any other coaching moves in terms of positions or recruiting territories we should watch for?I think one guy that everyone is anxiously awaiting to see the field is Ladarius Brown. I've heard he's 6-foot-3, 220-pounds of solid muscle. With the expectations he had coming in as the highest rated recruit signed in the Patterson era, it's definitely time for him to show what he can do.
On Pachall, I think he becomes a better runner. We saw some signs of that against Louisiana Tech, I personally thought he looked the fastest he's looked all year in that game. I also think we see less of him forcing the ball into tight areas. Some passes last year made him look like a first-round NFL pick. Other throws made him look like Ryan Leaf.
The toughest home game for the Frogs will be the last against Oklahoma. Coming a week after the Texas game will be brutal, but if the Frogs are as good as I think they will be at that point, then ACS will have a scene better than the Utah game. On the road games; give me West Virginia and Oklahoma State as the two toughest.
I haven't noticed anything on Glasgow's return as a safety coach since practice hasn't started, but I do know he is up to his old ways on the recruiting trail. Duke Riley and Ty Slanina are both of his recruits and have gone on record and saying TCU is among their favorites.
Why do you think Coach Patterson has closed spring practice? More to do with the move to the Big 12 or something else?I think it has everything to do with the move to the Big 12. I've been covering the team for seven years and every year it's been the same when it comes to playing teams from the Big 12. In the past when TCU played teams from the Big 12, practices were closed. Last year against Baylor, he closed the practices three weeks before the game. I think it has a lot to do with proximity for opposing fans.
Gun to your head, pick one safety from our current group that you think will shine above all others?You don't even have to put a gun to my head to get an answer; Chris Hackett. In all honesty, I think the only reason Hackett didn't play last year is because Patterson just wanted to redshirt him. I think if you ask the coach, he'd probably say that he needed a redshirt but compared to the others, his athleticism was there and he was picking up the defense really well.
What do you see the breakdown by position to be for recruiting?I could see it playing out like this…(just based off position needs)
Tight end: 1
Offensive line: 3 (2 tackles, 1 interior)
Defensive line: 2 (1 tackle, 1 end)
Linebacker: 2 maybe 3
That's with 17-18 ships. That number could always change to with transfers, early graduations, etc...
The other question I have is more about why we are starting so slow compared to other programs with early commits? Are other programs seeing who we are recruiting and immediately negatively recruiting guys or are we just taking longer to evaluate or is it something else? I'm not panicking but we need some good news soon?If you look at the Big 12 in general, Texas has started off good (when don't they) with six commitments and Baylor surprisingly has started off good with three as has Texas Tech. But, if you look at the rest of the Big 12, OU, Oklahoma State and Iowa State don't have a commitment, Kansas has 1, West Virginia has 1 and Kansas State has 2. Texas A&M is obviously seeing the biggest splash in recruiting already with 13 commits for the 2013 class. It's good that you're not in panic mode, there's not a reason to be. I'm sure there is plenty of negative recruiting done by opposing coaches, but if you ask 2013 recruits and their coaches, TCU will move forward. The coaches do spend more time evaluating than most schools but it's not to the point where they are slacking when it comes to keeping the relationships with the recruits and their coaches.
Have your sources told you anything about Austin Aune's baseball draft situation? Is it known that if he's drafted at a certain spot or higher or at $X or more, he'll sign and go pro in baseball rather than coming to TCU? Just curious on the odds he actually ends up at TCU?I haven't heard of a draft status or monetary amount that will keep Aune from playing with TCU. The last I heard is his full intentions are to come to TCU and play both sports. But, I will definitely keep my ears open on the situation.
In running the 4-2-5, Safety play becomes key. These guys have to be extremely versatile and also cover a lot of ground in various ways. Can you take your current safety projections and explain why each player fits that certain safety spot, more so than the others? This will help clarify the roles between the Strong, Weak and Free safety positions?At strong, I like Sam Carter. The strong safety is basically another linebacker and is there for additional run support. You typically see them closer to the line of scrimmage, but the will also be called upon in pass situations, especially when it comes to covering receivers out of the backfield. I think Carter is good at this position because he is a bigger body, ala Stephen Hodge, and can help out in run support.
Weak safety has run responsibilities, but is also more involved in pass coverage. They want to help the run and are asked to do so, which is why you've seen some of them bite on play actions. There's a reason teams like Louisiana Tech and Monroe were running several play action passes against TCU. They sometimes get caught in one-on-one situations against speedy slot types and that's why you need a player that can cover well. Jonathan Anderson played well in a reserve role for Tekerrein Cuba last year and has shown good coverage skills.
At free, that's the quarterback of the defense. He's the one making the calls in the secondary and is placed with the most responsibility. His benefit is more time to react; it's rare that you will see the free safety get beat over the top. Last year not included. Olabode and Hackett are both good fits here because they know what coverages to call and are versatile enough to help in the run and pass game.
If I didn't get to your questions this week, I'll be sure to include them next week.