With the return of Glasgow and the addition of Shannon, what have you observed this year that has changed and could impact the season?
Well, in only observing one practice I can tell you that you definitely hear a lot of energy coming from Glasgow and Shannon. You can tell right off the bat that Shannon is a players' coach, he's always moving and teaching. Glasgow is an intimidator; he means business on the field. If there is a coach that models Gary Patterson, it's Glasgow.
Both want their players to succeed and I think overall that with Glasgow spending ten years in the system, he knows the defense inside and out. Plus, he has a more athletic set of safeties to work with.
Shannon just oozes with enthusiasm. He reminds me a lot of Burns, not a big yeller and always encouraging his guys. He'll have his work cut out for him with a limited number of linebackers on the roster.
I keep reading about the younger guys advancing on the 2 deep...In your opinion, are the younger guys performing at a Big 12 2-deep status level or will we be in trouble if they have to play significant time?
Again, with only seeing one practice, this is a hard question to answer. I can only go by what Patterson tells us and according to him these guys are pushing the veterans. If they see significant playing time that isn't due to injuries, I can only see that as a plus. Patterson has proven over the years, it doesn't matter your class or scholarship status, if you're better than the guy in front of you, you're going to play. I wouldn't say it's the end of the world with true freshmen seeing significant playing time in the Big 12, especially at TCU.
If Casey went down with injury today, who do you see getting the first snaps out of the backup QBs?
I like both Brown and Boykin and I love Matthew's potential. Worst case scenario and Casey goes down, if Boykin has a grasp on the offense, he'll get the nod. If he doesn't, then it's Brown. Both are sharing the reps behind Pachall and at this point, I think the coaches need to see both in another scrimmage. If what I heard on Saturday is true, I'd be more worried about James Fry going out before Pachall.; seemed to be some trouble with the snaps for the backups.
After seeing the team in the spring and summer, what positions and prospects will be targeted for the last few spots in the 2013 class?
Defensive tackle for sure, if Manning and Billings both called and wanted to commit the loud popping sound you would hear would be the champagne bottles opening at the football offices. They aren't old at defensive tackle, but they lose Coleman at the conclusion of this season and Burns and House next year. They want big d-tackles in the Big 12 and Manning and Billings definitely fit that mold.
I know they also want a receiver and they've already got a dandy in Ty Slanina. But, they want to land another and right now Echols-Luper is the man. If they land him, I can see them possibly going after a taller target. At the end of the day they definitely lose Dawson and no one has really talked about it but if Boyce has a great year, he could leave early. He's on pace to earn his degree (he was an early enrollee) and word is scouts definitely like him. I didn't realize this until the other day, but I noticed that it's not Dawson who is the team's fastest receiver, it's Boyce. He ran a 4.35 over the summer.
Offensive line is still a need and they're evaluating several during the fall. Guys like Alex Mayes, Christian Daimler and Zach Zeimar are a few names that are still being pursued. Of course, if Caleb Benenoch wants to commit or a guy like Joas Aguilar has a change of heart, they'll take them as well.
How do you see the backup QB situation shaking out? If it is Boykin (or Matthews) will they be utilized like Brown was last season coming in on occasion, not just mop up duty?
I can definitely see Boykin running this year's version of the "wild Frog". He's just as fast as Brown and is more of a power runner who can put his head down and get a few extra yards. Not that Brown can't, but you're comparing two guys that have a significant difference in weight.
After seeing and hearing about practice, who do you think our best WR will be this year? Or more importantly, who do you think our 2nd best will be? 3rd best?
My bold prediction for this season…Boyce becomes just the second TCU receiver to break 1,000 yards in a season. Two games from last year that come to mind; 9 catches at Baylor and 173 yards and 3 scores against Boise State. He looked fantastic when I saw him on Tuesday, he had a couple of deep catches on the day. For the 2nd best, give me a toss-up between Brown and Carter. In Carter's case we've see what he can do and I look for him to do even better in 2012. Brown, well I believe if they get him the ball like they've shown the ability to in the spring and early fall, he'll be in the running for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Who is the most impressive player you've seen in practice so far? Pachall, Boyce, James, etc?
Got to go with Pachall on the only day I saw practice. Boyce is a close second but he was just one receiver making good plays on the day. Someone had to get them the ball and Pachall was doing a heck of a job getting it there. In fact, it was the best practice by Casey that I've seen.
Who is the leader(s) this year?
On offense, guys like Blaize Foltz and Josh Boyce stand out. Neither is real vocal but you know what they say about actions and words. Defensively, Kenny Cain and Stansly Maponga are the veterans that are looked upon. Ross Forrest is another guy that isn't vocal, but he's definitely a mentor to the younger guys around him.
What is your guess on pass to run % for this year?
The strength of this team is the quarterback and his receivers. Yes the running game will still be great, but when pressed I think everyone knows what kind of team this can be when they utilize its strength. If you need proof go back to the Baylor, SMU and Boise games. When they had a chance to throw the ball around, they excelled. That's why I feel that they will throw the ball just a tad more than running. Let's remember who the coach is, he's a defensive guy and without a doubt he will want to slow the game down. But, you can't get into situations like last year where they're constantly playing from behind. Give me 55% passing and 45% running the football.
Who will be the #3 RB, #2 QB and #3 & 4 Corners?
First, at the #3 spot at runningback I believe if they want to save Catalon's redshirt, then Dean is the guy. The question is, how much better Dean is than Catalon…if he even is. Catalon can do so many things from being a true breakaway threat to catching the ball out of the backfield. Honestly, I have to see more, a whole lot more to get an answer on this.
At the backup quarterback position, again, it's too early for me to tell without having seen these guys and how they've developed over the spring and early this fall. I heard that neither really had time to throw the ball the other day thanks to miscues with the snaps (mostly in shotgun).
Backup corner is pretty easy right now because there are so few of them. We know Verrett and White are the unquestionable starters; that leaves Keivon Gamble and Brian Alexis. Gamble has impressed coach Patterson but I don't think he's ready to take the lead over White.
What whispers have you been hearing about the state of our O-line have we found a two deep rotation and how are they doing on pass protection versus getting a push up front to open wholes for our running game?
Well, the biggest concern from what I heard is at backup center. I heard they really struggled the other day at the scrimmage and if you're struggling to snap the ball the whole play is ruined. When it comes to the two-deep, actually the guys Patterson has given the most praise to is Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Aviante Collins; two freshmen. So, depth appears to be coming together.
The run game seemed to do good the other day but it was a concern among one of my sources that the offense struggled so heavily in goal line drills. One source said the offense scored just one time in ten tries from 3-yards out. I don't care who you are, that's a concern. But, if there is anyone who can get their act together, it's Eddie Williamson. I've said it all along, I can't remember a time when there weren't several questions surrounding the offensive line to begin the season, but by the end of the season they turn out just fine and end up being the strongest unit on the team.
What does TCU need to do to win recruits against UT? Change of recruiting strategy or just win games? What is their strategy?
Win in the Big 12 and beat Texas. They've done everything they can in every other aspect; they have the facilities, academics, graduation rate, location, player development, the list goes on and on. Win on the field in September thru December and you'll win again in February.
How is Brown handling playing first team, he is standing out as he did in the spring? What is the status of the walk on LB's?
Brown has handled the starting role just fine from what I hear. The day they had an open practice last week he had three scores, two of them long touchdown. One long reception the corner had good coverage but when the ball went in the air, Brown showed another burst and caught a ball many felt was going to be overthrown.
The linebackers as of Saturday had not returned to practice. We'll touch base with Patterson on Tuesday to see how everything is going with the Aledo duo.