Clark — Gary Patterson has been pretty quiet on the subject but mentioned earlier this week that Casey has actually been playing scout team quarterback the last three weeks. The doctors have not cleared him to play with full contact and Patterson mentioned it will continue to be a week to week basis. We do know that out of the three breaks Pachall had in his forearm, two are healed. However, it's just a matter now on whether or not he can take a hit; it's up to the doctors to decide that. My gut feeling is we will at least see Pachall suited up on the sidelines against Texas, will he play, we'll all know by Saturday.
The difference between he and Boykin is pretty simple; Boykin is the better runner of the two and Pachall is the better passer; in the past at least. It's tough to judge where Pachall is as a thrower in game situations because he hasn't seen a lot of game action in the last two years; just six games to be exact. In the two games this year against LSU and SE Louisiana, he struggled making decisions and didn't have as much zip on his passes. You could definitely tell that the time away from game situations affected him.
2) TCU started this year as a popular Big 12 favorite. Why hasn't this year gone as expected for the Horned Frogs so far?
Clark — It boils down to one thing; offense. Anyone who has watched a TCU game this year knows the Frogs have one of the best defenses not only in the Big 12 but the entire nation. While the stats may not be indicative of where they are, I'd challenge anyone to find a defense who has been put in more stressful situations than TCU's defense thanks to the lackluster play from the offense. TCU is averaging just 12.3 points per game on in their Big 12 losses and the last two weeks against Kansas and Oklahoma State they've turned the ball over 8 times. That's not going to win you very many games. The crazy thing about it and proof of how good the defense truly is, TCU has been within a touchdown in the final minutes of every loss they've had this season.
3) Once again, TCU has arguably the Big 12's best defense, despite losing starting linebacker Joel Hasley just before the season and Devonte Fields before the season reached its halfway point. Why do you feel that TCU has been so effective on that side of the ball?
Clark — Patterson and his staff do a tremendous job of developing players, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They've had players that have always stepped up to the challenge regardless of the position, but even after the injuries the Frogs still had seven guys that were starters in 2012. I personally feel the defensive line has improved from last year, despite not having a guy like Devonte Fields. His replacement, Terrell Lathan has provided a huge boost to their pass rush and last week James McFarland had two sacks against Oklahoma State. TCU's interior on the defensive line with Chucky Hunty, Davion Pierson, Jon Lewis and Tevin Lawson have also been a big reason why TCU has been successful.
It also doesn't hurt if you have arguably the best corner in the Big 12 in Jason Verrett. The senior has basically been able to shut down one half of the field and Kevin White is playing extremely well right now with more teams throwing his way. Patterson said earlier this year that his back five may be the best as a group that he's coached at TCU.
4) Who's your X-Factor for TCU — a player who isn't a no-brainer factor, but somebody who the Horned Frogs need to play well to win — for Saturday?
Clark — Well, the Frogs are struggling the most on offense and a lot of those troubles are up front on the offensive line. They say an offense is only as good as the offensive line so with that, it has to be the whole collection of players the Frogs have up front. They have to prove that they can move the pile in the run game, just as they did a year ago in Austin. One thing that has been a big struggle for the offense is the snaps from center. Patterson defended his quarterbacks earlier this week by saying it's tough for them to make a read downfield when they constantly have to pick up low snaps and avoid the rush. Patterson said there will be a change at the position against Texas, but he's declined to say who will get the start.
5) What's your prediction for Saturday's outcome?
Clark — I'm excited to see this game. If there's one thing I know, TCU is bound to put together a full game at some point this season; they are more talented than their 1-3 conference record indicates. They will have a new play caller this week with Rusty Burns calling the offense. Burns took over in the second half last week against OSU and the results were night and day. TCU had amassed three first downs in the first half but in the second half the Frogs totaled fourteen first downs. I think the fans are excited to see what the change in offensive play-calling brings.
Will that be enough to beat Texas? Just how good are the Longhorns right now, in other words are they as good as their 3-0 record indicates. It should be pointed out that Texas was on a three-game winning streak last season when they lost to TCU at home. But for TCU to beat the Horns again, they have to keep the offense off the field. Call me crazy, but I thought last year that Case McCoy gave Texas a spark late in the game and it's obvious that he's on a mission to prove all of his critics wrong. McCoy is more elusive than people give him credit for and his offensive line is blocking better which gives the Longhorns running game a big boost. If they run the ball as successful as they did against OU, it could be another decent win. The Frogs have got to get an identity on offense and find out what's working for them early on. They have to do better than three first downs in the half. Boykin's light has to come on in the first half. Receivers have to catch the ball. The atmosphere has to resemble that of a Big 12 atmosphere. The defense will keep TCU in the game, but I don't feel it will be enough to come out on top. I look more at the past results instead of being overly optimistic. Again, I think TCU is bound to put together a full game performance in all three phases, it just won't start this week against Texas. TCU losses a very close game at home.