Patterson Discusses Frogs' Progress

TCU head coach Gary Patterson met with the media on Sunday.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson met with the media on Sunday afternoon, a day after the Frogs held their first scrimmage of fall camp.

According to Patterson, his team ran just over 100 plays. The coach said plenty of improvement is needed on both sides of the ball.

"We worked fast tempo offensively and the defense was a little bothered by it," he said. "There weren't as many big plays given up in the scrimmage. Offensively we've got to get set when we're playing fast and defensively we've got to play better in man coverage. I think having two older quarterbacks is a plus for us; neither one of them threw an interception. There wasn't anyone banged up to where they're not going to be able to practice or anything."


Hunt has impressed Patterson this fall
The biggest question on everyone's mind is how his two quarterbacks; Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin competed. As Patterson stated, neither turned the ball over in the scrimmage. But, he's not ready to name a leader just yet and admits he hadn't even thought about the battle until he was questioned on it Sunday.

"They both did well," he said of his two quarterbacks. "To be honest with you I haven't even thought about it."

Patterson hasn't praised many of the offensive line group since fall camp started. It's tough to when you lose guys such as Tayo Fabuluje and Michael Thompson. Consistency and growing guys up is the biggest challenge at the moment. Patterson did however praise one guy in particular on Sunday with his improved play from the spring; center Joey Hunt. The sophomore from El Campo originally came to TCU as a defensive tackle before switching to center in fall camp last season.

"Offensive line wise we've still got a lot of improvement that we've got to do in the next three weeks," he said. "We've got to keep working at it. The guy that has been a surprise is Joey Hunt. You can tell he did a lot of snapping and work over the summer on his own to get where he's at. He didn't have a great spring and he's had a good fall. I think he's going to be a really good player. He's got a good grasp of protections and calling out where the blitzes are coming. All the stuff that you've got to know as a center in our scheme; he really does a nice job."

There could be another youth movement along the offensive line according to Patterson. True freshmen Matt Pryor and Patrick Morris are two guys that the coach has said could have a chance at early playing time. Of course, he quickly admits it's that way for every lineman on the roster at the moment.

"I think right now with the offensive line as thin as we are, everybody has got a chance," he said.

Senior James Dunbar spent most of his time at tackle in the scrimmage Saturday but will continue to get work at both guard and tackle.

"He played a little guard but played mostly tackle (in the scrimmage)," he said of Dunbar. "He's done more at guard in practice."

As thin as the Frogs are at the moment along the offensive line, it's the complete opposite at runningback. Patterson mentioned a couple of younger guys put the ball on the turf in the scrimmage but other than that the entire group has looked good in the fall.

"There's nobody in there that can't play," he said of his runningbacks. "Probably you can say that Waymon and B.J. are above the others but Aaron Green is close; we just haven't seen him in a ball game. Both Waymon and B.J. have some quick twitch in them."

Patterson mentioned his receivers as a group hit a wall toward the end of the week but nonetheless he lauded the play the play of Ladarius Brown, Brandon Carter and freshman sensation Ty Slanina for their efforts on Saturday.

"They're a tired group," he said of his receivers. "I liked LaDarius Brown and I liked the leadership of Brandon Carter. Ty Slanina was good but he's kind of even hit a wall on Friday and Saturday. But he's still been where he's running in the first huddle."


A "SUCCESS" STORY


Anderson has missed the last two seasons
Devonte Fields came down with the stomach flu earlier in the week and in his absence junior Matt Anderson worked with the first team at defensive end for two days. Anderson continued to work with the first team in the scrimmage on Saturday.

Anderson has had quite the bad luck in each of the past two seasons. In fact, he hasn't played one snap in a game since the 2010 season. He continues to be a pleasant surprise to Patterson.

"It's a success story because the year we went to the Rose Bowl he tears his ACL in the last play of the New Mexico game so he can't play in the Rose Bowl," he said. "Basically he's had two ACL surgeries since then. You're seeing a guy that's glad to be back playing."

James McFarland is another defensive lineman who received praise from Patterson on Sunday.

"McFarland keeps pushing which is good for us for a two-deep," he said. "He's ahead of Carraway right now. Carraway needs to keep coming."

Although Patterson is pleased with Anderson's and McFarland's progress, the coach said as a whole the defensive line needs to show improvement, noting that they didn't play very well up front in the scrimmage.

"We've just got to keep on working on getting a better pass rush, especially in our league if you don't have a pass rush at a four then you're going to be in a lot of trouble," he said.


THE BATTLE (YOUTH) AT LINEBACKER

Make no mistake about it; the loss of senior Joel Hasley has hurt the depth at linebacker for the Frogs. But, the silver lining is the emergence of two young players in freshmen Sammy Douglas and Paul Whitmill. Patterson said his two freshmen backers continue to progress, but just as freshmen do, they have had to make adjustments to continue getting better.

"Friday and Saturday those guys hit a wall," he said. "Athletically there's not any doubt that they're going to be good players. The offense did some things on Saturday that they hadn't shown us in any previous practices and now the adjustments will go in today."

While the young linebackers seem to be the talk of fall camp, when asked about his veteran linebackers Patterson wasn't ready to name starters and said they aren't where they need to be as a TCU linebacker.

"There still needs to be a lot more accountability from that position for what we ask our linebackers to do," Patterson said of his veteran linebackers.


A YOUTH MOVEMENT PART II?

Patterson doesn't particularly mind playing younger guys; he's always been open to playing the best guys on the field regardless of class. Does he like having to play young guys…no. He went through the growing pains last season with playing 16 true freshmen in 2012. With losses of Fabuluje, Thomspon and Hasley, there isn't much choice other than having to play younger players.

Patterson isn't sure which players will play or redshirt, noting it's way too early in the first place. He just knows he wishes he could redshirt them all.

"The definition of a redshirt is not playing one play," he said. "There's no such thing as saying you're going to redshirt this year; especially when you have a lot of younger guys playing. I wish we could redshirt all of them.

"That's the thing with Tayo, Hasley and those guys not being on the team because it makes the younger player have to play before his time because you only have "X" amount of numbers. That's what happened to us last year because injuries and everything that went on you probably only had to play ten (true freshmen) but you end up having to play 17. That's a big deal because you leave that freshman class with only four or five guys in it.


PATTERSON HAPPY WITH NEW TURF

TCU practiced inside Amon G. Carter Stadium for the first time on Friday and Saturday and upon inspection of the field Sunday, it looked like no one had set foot on it. Over the summer TCU installed new Bermuda grass to ACS for the first time in 23 years and also improved the drainage system. Patterson raved about the new field on Sunday.

"I loved it, in fact if you look at it, it doesn't look like anyone has been on it. It's a lot firmer and faster surface," he said. "They did an awesome job of getting it ready."


BRIEFLY

Patterson said Jon Lewis, David Johnson and Terrell Lathan did not scrimmage on Saturday. Lathan hasn't practiced since a concussion earlier in the week.

True freshmen Steve Wesley and Denzel Johnson have changed positions. Wesley moved from corner to free safety and Johnson moved to strong safety. Patterson said the moves would be good for the team.

The Frogs will have a special teams scrimmage on Tuesday and have their last scrimmage of fall this Saturday.


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