Few things are certain in college football. In fact, whatever is expected, rarely comes to pass.
However, Gary Patterson’s teams having a very good defense has become one of the few things that may actually be certain.
Sure the Frogs have a young secondary, but their front six, by Patterson’s own admission, is better than a year ago.
Offensively, the Frogs have four running backs who could start for most any team in the Mountain West Conference. Ed Wesley is set to continue his ascent up the list of all-time most rushing yards at TCU.
TCU fans do not need a newspaper writer to tell them what is most different about this team from one a year ago. Number fourteen is no longer under center for the Frogs. Enter a tall, long haired, number four, with a sleeve of tattoos on his throwing arm and a load of confidence to go along with it. Enter Casey Pachall.
Pachall is loaded with talent. He was recruited by traditional powers like Florida and Michigan but chose the Frogs instead. However, when the Horned Frogs take the field in Waco, Casey Pachall will be making his first start for the Horned Frogs after sitting for two years behind Andy Dalton, who experience unprecedented success with the Frogs. Lots of talented quarterbacks take time before feeling comfortable in the backfield. Success may not come right away.
Andy Dalton was as steady as quarterbacks come in college football, so more mistakes may be in store for the Frogs offense this season, but Pachall may bring more big plays as well.
Analysts and commentators have put forth a myriad of opinions on how the Frogs will fare this season. Most of the uncertainty that so many of these experts have centers around Pachall. How will Pachall fare for the Frogs as he seeks to step out of the shadow of Andy Dalton and the undefeated team that he led a year ago?
It is important for Casey Pachall to not try to be Andy Dalton. After all, he isn’t. Pachall must blaze his own trail. Sure, he should take what Dalton taught him and run with it, but the Horned Frogs are Casey Pachall’s team now, and it is Casey Pachall’s job to lead it.
The Brownwood, Texas, native who threw for 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns in his senior season of high school has the talent to replicate those numbers at the college level. Pachall has already been on TCU’s campus for over two and a half years since he enrolled early and redshirted, so he is more than familiar with Justin Fuente’s and Gary Patterson’s philosophy. What will make the difference for Pachall this season will be his ability to handle adversity, his ability to command the huddle, his ability to come back strong after an interception and his ability to exude confidence when the Frogs know they absolutely must take the ball down the field and score.
Andy Dalton was a calming influence for the entire team, and Casey Pachall will need that same even-keeled attitude when the game is on the line this season. But most of all, Pachall must realize that he was recruited to TCU to be Casey Pachall, not Andy Dalton.
And this is now Casey Pachall’s time to shine.
Alex Apple is a sophomore journalism and political science major from Nashville, TN.