Spring football update: Gary Patterson speaks on all three phases

Gary Patterson speaks on the state of the team with eight spring practices in the books.

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Senior safety Sam Carter is not expected to return to practice this spring after sustaining an unspecified injury. (Photo courtesy of TCU 360 archives)

Senior safety Sam Carter is not expected to return to practice this spring after sustaining an unspecified injury. (Photo courtesy of TCU 360 archives)

At the end of TCU’s eighth practice of spring football, TCU head coach Gary Patterson spoke with the media on several topics including the quarterback race, injuries and how the depth chart is currently shaping up.

Offense

While incoming freshmen Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein aren’t with the team yet, the Frogs’ quarterback race is still in full swing.

“Still, no, there’s not any comparison,” Patterson said. “Still Trevone’s the number one guy. Then, Tyler [Matthews] No. 2 and then Zach [Allen].”

Junior Trevone Boykin started seven games for TCU last season but only threw seven touchdowns. Patterson said his athleticism and experience gives him the edge right now.

“He’s athletic, hard to blitz, [and makes] right decisions, even though he did throw a pick here a minute ago,” Patterson said. “[During Saturday’s scrimmage], he didn’t throw any interceptions.”

Patterson was quick to point out though that the decision of the starter is still a long way away.

“Quarterbacks get judged on Saturdays, fellas,” Patterson said. “We’ll find out next Saturday, you know, in about five months what they’ll be. Doesn’t matter what they do now. They’ll be completely different. We’ll just keep prepping.”

The offense is still in the process of learning new schemes from co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham. It’s expected to be a lot more up-tempo than previous years.

“It’s hard to get lined up to ‘em, to be honest with you,” Patterson said. “They’ve been going fast. They’ve done a good job of that. The tempo has been very fast.”

Sophomore Jordan Moore recently changed positions from running back to wide receiver and has impressed so far, according to Patterson.

“He’s still got a lot to learn about wide receiver but he’s awfully athletic,” Patterson said. “The one thing he brings is awfully athletic.”

Moore, who runs track for TCU as well, is pushing junior receiver Josh Doctson during practice, according to Patterson. Doctson tied for the team-high in receptions (36) last season.

“Jordan’s more athletic,” Patterson said. “Josh knows more.”

As for senior wide receiver Brandon Carter, he’s still focusing on academics this semester and not participating in practice. Patterson said he’ll be back on the team if he can improve his schoolwork.

“[He’ll be back] if he makes his academics,” Patterson said. “Gotta pass.”

Carter has 90 catches for 1312 yards and nine touchdowns in his TCU career.

“Why take reps away from somebody if he’s not eligible?” Patterson said. “We might as well get ready and, if he makes it, he’ll learn the offense.”

Patterson seems to believe the 2014 recruiting class will need to make an impact at receiver due to the lack of depth.

“We’re gonna need to just cause you don’t have numbers,” Patterson said. “I think all three or four of ‘em will.”

Defense

Moving on to defense, Patterson mentioned that senior strong safety Sam Carter is out for the rest of spring ball with a minor unspecified injury.

“He didn’t go Saturday,” Patterson said. “Won’t go the rest of spring.”

Carter missed the end of spring practice last year as well. He started all 12 games for the Frogs and gained Defensive Player of the Week honors this season.

“Kinda like last spring,” Patterson said. “He didn’t go the last week and a half. We’ll grow up the other strong safeties.”

When asked about the rest of the safeties, Patterson mentioned that sophomore Denzel Johnson is practicing with the first-team in Carter’s absence while junior transfer Kenny Iloka practices with the second-team.

“Spring is the time to grow ‘em up,” Patterson said. “It helped [Kindred] last year…it’ll help both of those guys too.”

As for the other defensive backs, Patterson once again praised redshirt freshman Ranthony Texada for his cornerback play.

“Ranthony’s farther than we thought he was,” Patterson said. “He’s just gotta keep competing.”

The Frisco, Texas, native seems to have solidified the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.

“I feel good about our first two corners.” Patterson said. “I don’t feel good about the next two. Not yet.”

The Frogs are attempting to replace two time All-American and 2013 Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jason Verrett.

“We’ve tackled better in the scrimmage than what we have other years but we just need to keep focusing and do what we do,” Patterson said.

Sophomore defensive field Devonte Fields has looked more focused during practice, according to Patterson. Fields had a rough sophomore campaign after missing nine games with a broken foot.

“Still way ahead,” Patterson said. “Best he’s looked since he’s been a freshman.”

Big 12 coaches voted Fields the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year at the end of his first year with the Frogs. Fields had 10 sacks that season.

Special Teams

As for the special teams unit, Patterson said they’re still looking solid.

“Well, we’re teaching,” Patterson said. “You know, we’re doing a new punt thing but everything else has looked good.”

TCU had several players return punts and kicks for them last season, which gives the team several options to go with next year.

“We’ve got BJ Catalon, who’s been back, doing some,” Patterson said. “You’ve got three or four or five guys that’ve caught kicks and punts from a year ago.”

Junior kicker Jaden Oberkrom and junior punter Ethan Perry return for the Frogs this year.

“They’re okay,” Patterson said. “We haven’t put ‘em in any critical situations yet. Probably this Saturday we’ll have a little more of a live look.”

Oberkrom was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection last season.

The Frogs are expected to finish spring practice on April 5.

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