TCU spring practice closes with Pachall, Waymon James seeing first-team reps

Patterson: "Overall, it's been a great day"

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Waymon James breaks a tackle against Kansas on Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Archive/Charlie Reidel)

Waymon James breaks a tackle against Kansas on Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Archive/Charlie Reidel)

TCU fans looked in at spring practice for the first and only time this spring to see the return of two Horned Frog starters.

Quarterback Casey Pachall and tailback Waymon James saw a majority of first-team practice snaps in Saturday's practice, the 15th and final practice of the spring semester.

Pachall returned to the team in January after legal issues and rehab took him off the field in October. James is returning from an ACL injury sustained from the second week of the season.

No contact was had in Saturday's game, as the team practiced in shorts and ran skeleton drills.

Head coach Gary Patterson said his team prepared against LSU and Texas Tech strategies during the final spring practice, as well as preparing against triple-option and pistol offenses.

Here are other notes, quotes and highlights from TCU's final spring practice:

Team leaves spring practice healthy
TCU came out of spring ball with no major player injuries or need for surgeries, Patterson said. Sam Carter did not participate in Saturday's practice due to a rolled ankle, but Patterson dismissed the injury.

"It's a long ways until August," Patterson said.

Carter was listed as day-to-day after last week's scrimmage.

Patterson credited his staff for doing a good job with getting James, Stephen Bryant and other players rehabbed from injury. He said the team purposefully took their returns slowly to prevent further injury.

Still room for improvement
Patterson said the team still needs improvement at guard and center, while the defense needs more depth at linebacker.

"Outside of that, I'd think we've gained a lot of experience," Patterson said. "We have guys who have come back and knew what they needed to do."

Patterson said his team will lift and run over the summer, but retaining knowledge and actively watching film and practicing without team structure is something his team needs to do on their own.

He also said his focus for the rest of the semester is to make sure his players finish well academically.

"By Any Means"
Patterson, who usually selects the team motto each season, said his seniors came to him to pick the 2013 motto. The phrase, "By Any Means," was developed by the seniors as motivation for younger players to improve in classroom and on the field, he said.

Other performances and notes
Patterson praised defensive end James McFarland, tailback B.J. Catalon and receiver David Porter as three of the most improved players from spring practice. He also said LaDarius Brown improved as well.

In practice, kicker Jaden Oberkrom hit field goals from about 50 yards out, with players and fans cheering him to create a loud enviornment. Receiver Brandon Carter made numerous athletic catches, including a one-handed jumping grab on a dart pass from Pachall.

Former TCU and current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was also on hand at Saturday's practice, walking the sidelines and talking to players and coaches.

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