Apple: Why I was wrong about Boykin

So far...so good for the Horned Frogs' quarterback in 2014

It’s like Bob Dylan wrote: the times they are a-changin’ for the TCU football program. No longer is the offense an obvious second-fiddle to the defense.

Those changin’ times have have changed few people more than TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin.

Ten touchdowns. 1,176 yards. Four wins. No losses.

Kudos to Trevone Boykin for posting those impressive numbers in four of the best games of his career. He has even bettered Bryce Petty through four games. The Baylor signal-caller has 1,024 yards passing and nine touchdowns.

So like any good politician about to tell the public he was wrong about something -- I’ll first say where I was right.

Before this season, Trevone Boykin was not a capable Big 12 quarterback. His reads were slow, and he struggled to shepherd a “stagnant” TCU offense through its first two Big 12 seasons.

I was right when I said the Frogs could not win with that Trevone Boykin at quarterback.

But I was also wrong -- wrong to think that Trevone Boykin would show back up on the field in 2014. The Trevone Boykin that is currently playing for TCU is a far-cry from the much-maligned Boykin of the past.

So let’s first give credit to Boykin’s off-field maturation. New offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie have taught the redshirt junior what it looks like to prepare to win.

He’s more mature. He’s a better leader. He’s more poised. He’s more confident. I was not sure Boykin would become those things.

Mature Boykin told the media after beating Oklahoma, "It basically gives us confidence knowing that we can play with guys like OU, because a lot of Big 12 championships have went through there."

The Frogs were 6-12 in Big 12 games the last two seasons, but to hear Boykin put it, the Frogs have their swagger back now.

And Boykin’s swagger now comes for different reasons. Under the tutelage of Sonny Cumbie, Boykin is learning how to win on Sundays through Fridays, and in turn, he is winning on Saturday.

“Finally, after two years, the football gods ... we finally got a little luck,” Gary Patterson said Saturday.

Well coach, you also have a quarterback that’s now doing all the right things off the field. In years past, I watched a kid that wanted to be a warrior on the field on Saturdays, but one that did not consistently prepare to win during the week.

So yeah, I was wrong.

We’re seeing a Boykin that I never thought we would.

And he has a chance to vault TCU into the college football playoff conversation if he beats Baylor this weekend.

Patterson noted after beating the Sooners, “The key for any quarterback is finding a way to win a big game. And he did that.”

Now, he needs to do it again.

Boykin is not just different in how he prepares. His mechanics and football acumen are also improved.

Meacham and Cumbie are great resources for a quarterback as they provide a set of eyes that see what a QB cannot on the field.

The new offense puts a lot on a quarterback’s shoulders, and Boykin has responded by understanding what a defense is giving him.

"Running the offense, execution, running it when they don’t have numbers in the box, throwing it when they have too many, doing all the things that a quarterback has to do to manage the game and operate it.” Those are the keys for a quarterback in the Frogs new offense.

Patterson went on to say, “Doug [Meacham] does a great job on the sideline seeing all that. You’re going to get some different coverages, possibly more man coverage in this ballgame. So now you’ve got to beat 1-on-1s. There’s the first thing you’ve got to see that you got better at.”

As he’s learned to make those in-game reads and adjustments, Boykin’s passer efficiency rating has risen from 122 to 140 this season. That takes him from near the bottom in the Big 12 to near the top. He’s made that improvement as the Frogs greatly increase the number of plays they run per game.

Understand this: through four games, TCU has run already run nearly half as many plays as they ran all last season. Meanwhile, Boykin has significantly cut back on his mistakes.

The list of Boykin’s improvements go on-and-on. It must feel good for Boykin to prove his doubters wrong. He still has significant work to do, but I’ll give credit where credit is due.

I was a doubter. And I’m proud to still lead the group of previous doubters. I said what I believed, and called it like I saw it. The amount of vitriol a discussion of Boykin incited this offseason was palpable, and like in life, there are winners and losers.

Consider me a loser in the argument about whether Boykin was the right man for the job.

He proved me wrong.


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