How would you rate Paul Whitmill according in relationship to the current LB offers we have already extended?Whitmill received his offer at the Frogs recent junior day. I know the staff would like to take at least three linebackers as part of the 2013 class so it doesn't surprise me that the Frogs offered. He's not as big as the other linebackers they have offered, but he can definitely run; a must in Patterson's defense. Now, if guys like Mike Mitchell and Duke Riley were to commit and join Sammy Douglas, I'm not sure they take Whitmill. Darian Claiborne is another linebacker high on the Frogs' wish list.
Is the offensive line this year a net strength, or net weakness?It's too early to tell, especially with all the injuries that have occurred during the spring. You have guys like Michael Thompson, Bobby Thompson, Carter Wall and Tayo Fabuluje who have missed valuable time in the spring. Those players were all in the two deep at some point, with the exception of Michael Thompson who has missed all spring. I will say that the line has the potential to be a big strength. They will have great size too. Ask again during fall camp.
In your opinion, what is the primary reason Gary has closed practices this Spring?I believe it's a mixture of trying to grow players up at a number of positions and the fact that most of the schedule is close in proximity. Patterson in years past has always closed practices at some point with Big 12 teams as the next opponent. It doesn't surprise me at all that most of the practices have been closed.
It's not as if no film's out there. Do you think he's masking some kind of change to his signature 4-2-5?True, there isn't film out there, practices get filmed but never released. But, a lot can be learned from watching a practice. For instance, if the media was allowed and it became a common trend that particular players get beat, that can be used against them. You also see different formations and where players line up on certain packages. There's a multitude of things that can be learned just by watching a couple of hours.
Who are the baddest guys on the team? Meaning let's say, hypothetically of course, that there was a no-holds barred MMA-style, cage-match tournament held with current TCU football players grouped in 3 classifications of O-line & D-line & TE's, LB's & RB's, and WR's & DB's. Who is your favorite to win each division and why?Well, that's an interesting question. There are plenty of tough guys on the team and it's hard to pick just one from each category. If I choose the wrong guy, I may just get caught in a dark alley somewhere in downtown Ft. Worth…kidding of course.
For the first group, I have to go with Stansly Maponga. First, he doesn't back down from anybody. Second, he's already shown the knack to beat bigger guys on the football field. And third, have you seen the guy?
For LB's and RB's, that's a tough one. But, I have to go with the big man, Matthew Tucker. Let's face it, there hasn't been too many battles Tucker has lost one-on-one against not only TCU linebackers, he hasn't lost many battles period. Plus, he's quick. And again, have you seen the guy?
For WR's vs. DB's, I'm intrigued to go with Ladarius Brown because of his physical stature. Jason Verrett is another good choice because he's so quick I don't think you could get the guy cornered. But, I have to go with a guy that is a good athlete and a veteran; Josh Boyce. The best thing about Boyce is he will tell you what he's going to do to his opponent, and then he will proceed to do it. He does it on the football field quite often.
So, give me Maponga, Tucker and Boyce as the champions of the cage match.
Tank Carder has gone on record as saying that he wore armbands because David Hawthorne asked him to carry on the tradition. Now that Tank is gone can we expect another linebacker to "carry the torch" in 2012 and rock the armbands or does this fad die with Tank?I'm not sure we will see the three armbands worn by TCU linebackers in 2012. I haven't seen it at practice yet, but if I were to make a guess, Kenny Cain or Deryck Gildon would likely be the next candidates in line.
1) Will Boykin or Brown be our #2 QB next year?Good question and I think this battle goes well into the fall. Both have received reps with the #2 offense all spring and in all honesty, I don't think you can go wrong with either. Brown has a better grasp of the offense right now but Boykin is coming along. Both have great athleticism and can make plays with their feet. Throwing the ball, you have to give the advantage to Boykin. As a pure passer Boykin's arm is comparable if not stronger than Casey Pachall's. Those who haven't seen him throw before and see him for the first time walk away saying he has one of the strongest arms they've seen for a TCU quarterback. Both quarterbacks need to learn to let the play develop and become passers instead of runners. In last week's scrimmage both were without the protective red jersey worn by quarterbacks and while both made a few plays, they also paid for their mistakes. I feel once Boykin is completely comfortable running the offense that he will become the clear #2. That doesn't mean Brown won't play, he needs to get on the field in some capacity.
2) What do you think our ratio of pass/run will be this year? I think it was about 45/55 last year.I think we will see a similar ratio this season, but I've also heard from various recruits and their families that TCU plans to really utilize Pachall's arm more this season. Last season they averaged just over 200 yards per game through the air; I expect that number to increase substantially in 2012, especially with the corp of receivers coming back.
That doesn't mean the run game will decline, that's the beauty part with all three runningbacks returning. That's the biggest reason why I feel the ratio will be the same in 2012 as it was in 2011. Now, ask me this question again heading into the 2013 season, and you will see the ratio completely different with inexperience at runningback and a wealth of experience and athleticism at receiver.
3) Any evidence that the passing game will be more vertical than in years past?Yes, 100%. The Frogs have six receivers that run in the 4.4 range. That's the most ever by a receiving unit in the Patterson era. In the limited number of practices I've attended, the vertical game is definitely there. I firmly believe that LaDarius Brown has the type of big play ability that Frog fans haven't seen from a receiver in quite a while. We're talking a guy who can run by most cornerbacks and outmuscle them all too. He will be deadly in the redzone for the Frogs.
Who do you see potentially as the next commitment?There are a handful of guys I can see pulling the trigger for the Frogs, the most obvious choice is Mansfield Summit defensive end Bryson Henderson, who is as close to a commitment as you can be. Another prospect I can see making a commitment that will fill a huge position need is Atlanta runningback Corion Webster.
Also keep a close eye on Steve Wesley and Charlie Reid.