Questions linger for Frogs

Gary Patterson addressed the media on Saturday after TCU's third scrimmage of the spring. The scrimmage wrapped up the Frogs' third week of practice which Patterson said is designed to be the longest and most challenging.

TCU started spring practice with an abundance of question marks, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

The first 11 practices of the spring have done little to resolve many of those questions. Trevone Boykin is considered the "starter" at quarterback, but Tyler Matthews got as many reps with the first team as Boykin on Saturday. Meanwhile, all eagerly await the arrival of two freshman quarterbacks who will enter the fray.

The Frogs continue to seek playmakers at the wide receiver position. While Jordan Moore and Josh Doctson drew the praise of Gary Patterson on Saturday, the Frogs consider the position a big enough need to add a late addition to the 2014 class at the position.

While Ranthony Texada is the frontrunner to win the second cornerback job, Gary Patterson told the media last week that he only has one starter at cornerback right now: Kevin White.

However, Gary Patterson did answer one question on Saturday. That question revolved around the offensive line.

"Joseph Noteboom is now the starter at right tackle, and Big V is the starting left tackle," Patterson told the media on Saturday. "Joey Hunt does a great job calling things. We're getting better at all the things. I don't think there is going to be any doubt that we're going to be better along the offensive line."

The offensive line is farther along in their pass protection than run blocking, but they have made enough progress for Patterson to say that the offense won the scrimmage on Saturday.

"The offense won which is really the first time this spring that they have which means we're getting better," the Frogs head coach said. "Each group has to keep raising their level of intensity and excellence. We've already started turning our attention to Samford and Minnesota.

"We went almost 50 plays with the 1s and 2s and the threes got about 30 something."

The Frogs were short on running backs in Saturday's scrimmage as three of their four scholarship backs were out with injuries. Aaron Green has a broken collarbone. Kyle Hicks has a bruised shoulder, and B.J. Catalon is battling a hamstring injury. The lone running back that was healthy was Trevorris Johnson.

At the receiver position, the Frogs have a lot of improving left to do. In the part of the scrimmage open to the media, the only pass completed over five yards was from Tyler Matthews to Rahmaan Patterson. The defense then held the offense out of the end zone with four stops inside the five yard line.

Patterson listed three names at the receiver position that have shown out this spring.

"Deante Gray and Josh Doctson, Jordan Moore still," Patterson said. "As a passing game, we have a long way to go. We're in the beginning stages of it."

The secondary was crisp in the part of the scrimmage open to the media even as Sam Carter looked on from the sidelines on crutches. However, Carter's absence has given two young athletes a chance to show marked improvement.

"Denzel Johnson and George Baltimore are a lot further along because they're getting more reps," Patterson explained. "Same thing happened to Derrick Kindred a year ago. Sam [Carter] didn't play the last week and a half of spring, and Peanut got all the reps and became better. Also, our linebackers are older. It will be the first time in three years we've had a linebacker coach not change. That has to be a positive."

Over the last week of spring practice, TCU will focus on special teams, an area where they have made several changes since last season.

The most notable change is that the Frogs have changed to using a Utah punt. The Utah punt utilizes the formation where three players form a shield in front of the punter while players on the line can set up wider, making coverage easier.

"We've gone to what we call a Utah punt," said Patterson. "It's important for us for coverage purposes...I know about three quarters of the way through last season that we were gonna need to change. When you get into the spread punt, you can have more [athletes] covering."

The Frogs have also changed the coaches in charge of the different special teams units.

"We've changed our punt team which we've really improved on it. Coach Luper is doing a great job as our new kickoff guy. Coach Cross is our punt, and Coach Burns is our kickoff return guy."

Other notes:

Matt Pryor worked at tackle with the second team, and Bryson Henderson was effective getting by the big offensive lineman. Pryor needs to continue to improve his speed and footwork.

Grayson Muehlstein took in practice, something he has done a lot of this spring. With Muehlstein and Sawyer attending several sessions, they should adapt quickly to the new offense.

Kenny Perry is fun to watch as a coach. He coaches with great passion and energy.

Cydney Calvin has some improving to do. While no one questions Calvin's athleticism and talent, he needs to rely more on natural instincts instead of thinking on the field.

Paul Whitmill looks considerably bigger than he looked in 2013. He moved well and worked with the twos on Saturday. Dawson and Mallet were the starting linebackers with Jonathan Anderson (who shaved off his dreadlocks) joining Whitmill with the twos. Sammy Douglass got some reps with the ones, but he rotated mostly as a two.

So thin are the Frogs at running back that 5'5 tailback Stacy Boyd got a handful of carries when Trevorris Johnson was not on the field.

Tayo Fabuloje sat out with a high ankle sprain.

Buck Jones got a lot of reps at fullback.

On Tyler Matthews first possession, he took the offense right down the field and scored. From all accounts, Matthews looked really good yesterday.

Travosky Garrett had an interception that looked very athletic. Garrett has all the tools to be really good if he can just put it all together.

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