TCU fans may have their sights set on a playoff run but quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Ty Slanina reminded reporters Tuesday that their focus is on Minnesota, not a No. 2 national ranking.
“That’s the only way we try to approach it—like our back is against the wall,” Boykin said of the team’s mindset. “Just because when you got that bulls eye on your back and you’re thinking about rankings and stuff like that you never play as good. So we’re just going to try and play like our back is against the wall.”
In big, bold letters the phrase “prove them right” hangs in the TCU team meeting room. The phrase, coined by Patterson, has become the No. 2 ranked Horned Frog’s season motto.
“It’s a great time to show everybody what we’re made of,” Slanina said of the team’s primetime matchup at Minnesota. “You know, everybody has a lot of talk that we’re one of the best teams in the nation and this is our chance to show them.”
Despite a new rallying cry for the Frogs, Boykin said the team’s approach is consistent—regardless of last year’s results.
“Our mindset really hasn’t changed, to be honest. Our mindset is just like we came off a 4-8 season,” he said.
Patterson acknowledged there are still doubters.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t believe that TCU belongs at No. 2 or that we can beat Minnesota or we can win the Big 12 or any of the above,” he said. “So, I don’t think you ever get to a situation where [you are] playing one side of that phrase.”
If TCU’s goal is to prove themselves worthy of the national spotlight, the Frogs must successfully replace some key components to the 2014 defense.
“They’re very athletic and they’re very fast. Last year our defense was pretty big and this year they’re very athletic. They’re able to run with us a lot better than what they did last year,” Slanina said.
- Both Patterson and Slanina were quick to talk about Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray. Murray, a senior, was named to the coaches' All-Big Ten Second Team as a junior. He recorded three tackles against TCU during the 2014 contest. Patterson said he was probably the best cornerback they played last year.
- “They’re very athletic. They’re very smart as well,” Slanina said of the Minnesota defense. “They’re very good at disguising their coverages.”
- Patterson said the defense will have “a couple of guys who are not going to play in the game.” He declined to specify which players.
- Patterson also said the team has prepared for a loud environment at Minnesota by practicing in the indoor facility while music blasts over the speakers.
- Patterson said running back Shaun Nixon has had a tremendous camp, just as he did in 2014 before an injury forced him to sit a full season. Nixon is a former four-star recruit out of Lake Travis High School.
- Boykin also talked about what a Heisman trophy would mean to him.
“It always comes down to winning games. And If I’m fortunate enough to bring the Heisman to Fort Worth then I’ll be happy and I’m pretty sure the city of Fort Worth would be proud too,” Boykin said.