Cumbie deserves a ton of credit for Boykin’s development on and off the field. Boykin is older now so obviously he has more maturity, but Cumbie has brought on the team aspect. What I mean by that is becoming more of a “we” player instead of “me”. Gary Patterson says that’s one of the biggest changes Cumbie has brought to Trevone and it’s really helped with everything else. In the past two season’s Boykin has tried to do everything himself. Now, he gets everyone else involved. On the field the changes have been remarkable. Boykin is still a great runner but what has set him apart from the previous two seasons is his decision making. Before, he’d try to force throws and he wouldn’t go through all of his progressions. Now, he’s only thrown three interceptions and is making great decisions. He doesn’t run as often (even though he’s the leading rusher), he does a really good job of keeping his eyes downfield to look for open receivers. Patterson has even commented that he wished Boykin would run more when the opportunity presents itself, but he’s also not complaining with the way Boykin has played. But to answer your question, Cumbie deserves a ton of credit for Boykin’s development; no one outside of TCU could’ve guess Boykin would be playing at his current level.
2. Where does this season's defense rank among recent TCU squads?
I’ve covered the team since 2005 and this defense to me would rank near or at the top of all of the defenses I’ve seen under Patterson. This year’s squad has experience and good players at every position. The defensive line is the best collection of players I’ve seen from top to bottom; they truly don’t have a big drop-off between their first and second units. Patterson has commented several times that he has four starters at defensive end.
Last season the linebacker corp was a huge question going into the season and they turned out to be one of the top positions on the field. This season, they may be the best. Paul Dawson is playing lights out and to be honest he’s one of the top linebackers I’ve ever seen in Patterson’s system. He leads the Big 12 in tackles per game and he is around the ball nearly every play. Marcus Mallet has also developed into a very good backer.
The secondary has taken some lumps this season, especially to Baylor, but overall they’ve played very good this season. Last week against Oklahoma State in the second half they didn’t allow one single yard through the air. That was a huge for them.
The defense overall doesn’t have a ton of big time names, but they have eleven starters that are older and have a ton of experience.
3. Some of Tech's coaches who are former players commented this week they were surprised to return to Lubbock and find TCU had become a rival and noticed an unusual amount of animosity between the schools. What is your theory on the vitriol between the two schools?
I love the rivalry between the two. I think it obviously begins with the fans generally not liking each other…at all. When TCU was playing in BCS games and winning the Mountain West, Tech fans were always there to keep the Frog fans in check…more than any other fan base. Plus, the games between have been close the last few seasons so that makes for a great rivalry. The two schools also recruit the same players so you have that aspect for the coaches. Not to mention, there is a familiarity with the coaches since Cumbie is now on staff at TCU and one of the Red Raiders former defensive coordinators, Chad Glasgow, has been back at TCU for two years now. I could probably go on for 1,000 more words on why the rivalry has become what it has, but the aforementioned reasons are plenty!
4. What is your favorite Gary Patterson postgame presser story?
That’s a good question because he’s had some good pressers following some games; the June Jones debate; Art Briles call out. But, probably the best one in my opinion was coincidentally following the 2006 game against Texas Tech which the Frogs won 12-3. It was the rematch from the 2004 game which Tech slaughtered TCU 70-35 (behind Sonny Cumbie) and you could tell Patterson and his players were waiting on that game. Patterson mentioned how his team wasn’t getting respect he felt they deserved and when asked what it was the helped the Frogs get the win, he gave us the line that still sticks around today…”speed baby”. I think looking back Patterson might’ve said some different things, but you could tell he was fired up to get that win.
5. In the midst of all the success this season have you noticed a difference in recruiting? If so, what?
Not too much as far as adding more players goes, simply because it’s a small class and they already have 15 commitments and there isn’t much room. Although a ton of new names haven’t come into the picture, I do think it has helped them with keeping current commits solid. There hasn’t been much wavering, if any, from the current commitments which I think is important.
The 2016 class is already off to a great start with four-star Brennen Wooten at quarterback and defensive end Jonathan Marshall, who I think has a chance to be a four-star player. They are in the running for several of the top 2016 guys in the state.
New names will come into the picture as well as some old names. In fact, the Frogs have hosted a handful of recruits that are committed to other programs that are still listening to what the coaches have to say. Needless to say, if TCU keeps having the success they’re having on the field, it will be a very interesting January for the Frogs’ recruiting class.