Around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a group of about 10 TCU football players lumbered over to the steps leading to the locker rooms on the north side of the practice fields. They took off their helmets, untied their cleats and headed inside early.
They had night class.
School started Monday, but the Horned Frogs have been practicing since Aug. 6. That means adjustments had to be made when the team returned to the practice field this week. For most players, especially freshmen, finding the balance between class and football has been challenging, head coach Gary Patterson said.
“They’ve all done a good job,” Patterson said Thursday evening. “They’ve done a good job at going to class. They haven’t necessarily done a good job at coming out here.”
Finding that balance usually takes a little longer for true freshmen, who now have a class load to worry about it in addition to adjusting to a new team, Patterson said.
“You’ve got to close it off,” Patterson said. “Both Devonte (Fields) and Deante' (Gray) haven’t been making any mistakes until Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and Thursday. You’ve got to learn the grind.”
TCU’s Sept. 8 start, one week later than most teams, might help smooth the transition process, Patterson said.
“One of the positives about not starting the first week is we’ve got three weeks of school to get into the routine,” Patterson said. “You're probably going to get your first test out of the way.”
Frogs need toughness at tight end position
Patterson said he is looking for some toughness out of his tight ends.
“Our problem isn’t catching the ball,” Patterson said. “Our problem is whether or not we can be physical enough to play tight end.”
Last year’s starter, Logan Brock, is now with the Houston Texans, and Stephen Bryant, who figured to be heavily in the mix for playing time, is out for the year with a shoulder injury.
“Stephen Bryant was that guy,” Patterson said. “[Griffin Gilbert] and Cory [Fuller] have got to become physical guys. They were wide receiver guys. They’ve got to become that for us to become the offense we want to be.”
George visits practice
Eddie George, the former Tennessee Titans running back who won the 1995 Heisman Trophy at Ohio State, visited Thursday's practice. George will be a college football analyst for Fox Sports this fall.