For the first time in his tenure at TCU, head coach Gary Patterson allowed freshman players to speak to the media.
Quarterback and redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin, along with true freshman defensive end Devonte Fields, spoke to members of the media about their season following Thursday’s practice.
Here are a few highlights of what they said:
In early October, Trevone Boykin was awarded the starting quarterback position following Casey Pachall’s arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. Boykin, who was practicing as a running back that week, told the media he was notified of the start through a phone call.
“Coach Burns called me,” he said. “And he told me that I was going to be the guy. He told me I had to step up and be the leader.”
Boykin said the Iowa State game was “a fast game” that he had difficulty adjusting to. He said that his next start, a 49-21 win over Baylor, was when he felt he was fully in sync with his offense.
He said he feels that he has much room to improve, particularly in his footwork, arm delivery and in-game decisions.
“I’ve made a lot of bad decisions,” he said, laughing.
On playing as a quarterback next season, Boykin said he has a good relationship with Pachall and said he was willing to fight for the starting job if Pachall returns to the team in the spring.
“I competed against him every day,” Boykin said, referring to practicing alongside Pachall this year. “Right now though, my only focus is playing Michigan State.”
Boykin finished the press meeting by addressing his injury status.
“I wouldn’t say it’s at 100 percent, but it’s close,” he said. “I’d say my body is at about 80 percent right now.”
Boykin was set back with an undisclosed shoulder injury against Kansas State and was taken to the locker room for a part of the first half. He attempted nine passes against Texas and 31 passes against Oklahoma.
So far this season, Boykin has completed 154 passes in 263 attempts, with 1,853 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Devonte Fields, who won All-Big 12 Defensive Freshman Player of the Year, also addressed the media for the first time in his career. Fields credited his coaches and his teammates for improving him over the season.
“I couldn't do it without the coaches and the hard work I put in,” he said. “All the plays the coaches called, I had to run them right, so I couldn't do it without them."
Fields said he didn’t expect to have the starting job in August, but feels his abilities are improving on a weekly basis. He said he felt support and confidence since he got the starting job, particularly with the coaching he’s received from senior Ross Forrest.
Forrest competed against Fields for the defensive end spot, but fell to the second spot on the depth chart after the end of preseason camp. Forrest was put on injured reserve early in the season with a knee injury.
Fields said as the season goes on, he believes more in his playing skill.
Referring to his confidence for playing in the Big 12, he said, “I’m gaining it a little bit.”
Fields, when asked, said his favorite play on the season was a sack he laid out on Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege.
“Coach called the blitz play and I got the sack and almost knocked the helmet off [the quarterback],” he said with a smile on his face, causing the media members to laugh.
When asked whether he thought his sack against Texas quarterback Colt McCoy on Thanksgiving was his favorite play, Fields shrugged.
“It was an OK game for me. I can do better,” he said. “I just have to keep working."
TCU will continue bowl practices next week. Starting on Sunday, the team will practice for five straight days, Patterson said.
Patterson said his team is improving, but he wants to see more improvement in mental focus and the defense’s communication.