Practice number one of the 2013 season is in the books and TCU head coach Gary Patterson seemed satisfied with his players after the two-hour, 25-segment practice.
“It wasn’t bad, especially with the younger guys,” Patterson said. “As a general rule, I thought it was pretty good.”
Patterson said he might change his mind after reviewing the tape, but the only thing he was unhappy about after practice was the younger players‘ inability to finish out stations in the final segment of practice.
Patterson is tentatively scheduled to have another meeting with the media after Saturday’s practice.
Here are some other notes and highlights from TCU’s opening practice:
Tayo Fabuluje and the O-Line
After news broke this morning that offensive lineman Tayo Fabuluje left the team, Patterson told the media that he knew only minimal things about the situation, but confirmed that the former BYU transfer left due to a family issue.
“It’s been a family problem for about two months,” he told the reporters about the situation. “We had a meeting last night and he said he couldn’t do it anymore. You know as much as I do.”
With the loss of Fabuluje, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has moved to the top of the offensive tackle depth chart. He served in practice opposite Aviante Collins.
On the interior, Joey Hunt saw a majority of practice at center, while Eric Tausch played guard. Jamelle Naff and John Woolridge rotated at the other guard position with the first team slot.
“You gotta play with guys who want to be here,” Patterson said about his offensive lineman depth. He said that he would not know the talent level of his offensive line until the team begins full-pad practices.
Patterson said at TCU’s media day that he thinks that the position for quarterback is wide open, and repeated it after Thursday’s practice.
“I said it about Casey, you thought it was chatter. I said it about Trevone, you thought it was chatter. It’s just like at home. I’ll just tell the truth, you don’t have to listen to me. I can talk to the dogs, they’ll listen to me,” Patterson said after practice.
Trevone Boykin was able to make deep passes with tight spirals and seemingly found targets with ease. While Casey Pachall looked to be playing at proper form, quarterbacks coach Rusty Burns was vocally unhappy when Pachall would take snaps.
The coach yelled things unfit to print as Pachall would be behind center, telling Pachall that his mental game and focus needs to be present when calling plays.
Two young players were seen returning kicks in drills. Freshman Ranthony Texada and sophomore Kolby Listenbee were returning kicks and punts in practice, something that Patterson said could likely be happening during the season.
“We have about five guys who fielded them better than we did last fall,” Patterson said.
In addition to Texada and Listenbee, freshmen receivers Ty Slanina and Cameron Echols-Luper, along with senior running back Waymon James, were returning kicks as well. Junior receiver Brandon Carter and receiver Deante' Gray also returned a handful of kicks.
Jason Verrett dominated in one-on-one drills, suffocating receivers in coverage. LaDarius Brown, who practiced often with the first team, was the only receiver who seemed to be able to challenge Verrett in the drills.
When not participating in drills, Verrett would be encouraging players and directing players on how to better perform on the field. Verrett, after performing in the individual drills, would continually pull the receiver he just covered to break down how he was able to cover the receiver's route. After his explanation, he would show and explain to receivers how to make better breaks and get open against a defender.
Catching up with Kenny Cain
Former TCU linebacker Kenny Cain was on hand to watch TCU’s inaugural practice for the 2013 season.
Cain, a former All-Big 12 selection, said he is working at the TCU Physical Plant as general labor help while he continues his education. The Louisiana native, who is one class shy of graduating, will walk the stage in December with a degree in criminal justice.
Cain was in contact with the New Orleans Saints after his collegiate career, but he said the organization ultimately chose to not pursue him. He said his new career aspiration is to be in the justice system as a probation officer or as a SWAT team member.
Former offensive guard Blaize Foltz and Kelsey Patterson, the wife of Gary Patterson, were also on hand at TCU’s practice.