TCU returned to the practice field on Monday after an off day; splitting the practice between the Morris Practice Fields and the Sam Baugh Indoor facility.
On Saturday, the Frogs had their first scrimmage of fall camp which head coach Gary Patterson said consisted of 70-plays after an hour long practice.
Patterson said on Friday that he hoped to see a better performance from the offense compared to their effort in the spring game. So far; so good. The offense moved the ball well according to the coach and only had one turnover when Kevin White intercepted a pass in red zone.
Defensively, his unit needs to continue focusing on the little things.
“We only turned the ball over in the red zone once and I thought the offense was far better than we were in the spring,” Patterson said. “We’ve still got a long way to go to win a championship. On defense we’ve got to have attention to detail on a lot of little things as far as assignment wise.”
Joeckel is battling Trevone Boykin for starting QB
As it’s been all camp, all eyes were on the quarterback battle between Trevone Boykin and Matt Joeckel. Patterson said although neither has separated themselves from each other, he did acknowledge that it’s just a two man race for the starting position.
“We’re down to two,” Patterson said of the quarterbacks. “We’ve got two more scrimmages; by this Saturday we’ve got to make a decision. Both of them have had their moments. To be honest I’ve been fired up about both of their leadership but the key is what the guy does on Saturdays.”
One critique Patterson had for his quarterbacks’ performance from the scrimmage was the ability to make big plays when they were presented. The coach spoke of his quarterbacks’ failures to hit open receivers and said with his teams’ speed at the skill positions, his signal callers have got to deliver a throw.
“There won’t be anyone faster on offense skill wise,” Patterson said. “Baylor is fast and there are other guys that are fast but no one there runs a 10.17 (100-meter). That’s what Kolby (Listenbee) runs. We had guys open and we didn’t get it to them.”
The quarterbacks saw some difficulties on Monday as the defense picked off five passes. Of course, that could’ve also resulted from the play of the receivers which Patterson said had an off day.
McBride has caught Patterson's attention
“We’re getting better; it just depends on the day,” he said of his receivers. “Right now I was getting after them because it’s the one thing we didn’t do today; we’ve got to make plays. You’ve got to get off the ground, get off the press and go make plays. The two guys that have been making leaps and bounds are Emanuel Porter and Corey McBride. Story too. All of outside receivers are better now.”
Defensively, Patterson has been impressed with his defensive line even with the loss of Devonte Fields, Jon Koontz and Jon Lewis. James McFarland has also been sidelined with an injury all camp. Despite the losses, Patterson said several players have stepped up including three true freshmen.
“Mike Tuaua actually moved up to the starting right defensive end today,” Patterson said. “He’s really done a great job. Lathan has unbelievable attention and he’s going to make us better. L.J. Collier has had to play the number two defensive end and everyday he’s gotten better. Chris Bradley is going to be our number two and Casey (McDermott Vai) has moved into nose guard. Tevin Lawson has been out.”
While fans wait to see an improved offense this season, the fact remains that TCU will again be strong on defense with several key players returning. In two years of Big 12 play, the Frogs have finished no worse than No. 2 in total defense.
When asked if he sees a comparable defense to the last two seasons, Patterson said for now that the potential is there.
Collier is the back up at LE
“We have potential but it’s hard right now because you’ve lost Devonte (Fields), (Jon) Koontz and McFarland so you’ve three defensive ends with a lot of knowledge,” he said. “(Josh) Carraway is having a great camp to be honest with you. He was a starter at the end of spring. We have the opportunity to be more athletic at that position than we were a year ago but we have to have knowledge and the toughness. The length of time between three games is really going to allow us to grow as a defense.”
Patterson says he needs to see an improvement at linebacker. Much like the receivers, he needs to see consistency from the position. On Saturday Paul Dawson and Jonathan Anderson were starters. By Monday, it was Marcus Mallett and Anderson. While it could be a good problem to have because of depth, Patterson is ready for the top two to step up.
“Every day it’s a competition,” Patterson said of his linebackers. “Whoever has the best day is in; he’s the one that wears a black shirt. You’d obviously like to know who your two best guys are. Ty Summers is our fourth but Paul Whitmill woke up a little today and made some plays.”
If there is one position Patterson has reason to glow about it’s at safety. Patterson didn’t hesitate when he described his safeties as the strength of his team.
“The safeties are the strength of our football team right now,” he said. “Out of all of them, they’ve been the one’s I’ve been the happiest with. They make plays they’re supposed to make and they’re very talented. Kenny Iloka is becoming better behind Hackett; Derrick Kindred is a different player from Elisha (Olabode). Sam and Kindred can both play strong and free. Hooker has also had a good camp and I also like the two freshmen. I think it bodes well for the future of us growing up because we only lose Hooker and Sam.”NOTABLE:
- Junior offensive lineman Frank Kee has a banged up shoulder and is day to day. He did not practice on Monday.
- Sophomore defensive tackle Tevin Lawson was held out of Monday’s practice due to a concussion.
- True freshman running back Shaun Nixon was injured in the scrimmage on Saturday and is likely lost for the season.