Three days into fall camp, head coach Gary Patterson is clearly pleased with his secondary.
Jason Verrett, who continues to impress in practices, has a solid corps of cornerbacks to complement him on the opposite side of the field, Patterson said.
“Kevin White, knock on wood, might be playing the best football he’s been playing since he’s been here,” the head coach said. “Kevion Gamble and [Ranthony] Texada are other guys we’ve been really high on.”
Cornerback Cydney Calvin and safeties Derrick Kindred, Chris Hackett and Denzel Johnson all got praise as well, as the coach noted those players as impressive in the first three days of practice.
Gary Patterson will meet with the media next on Tuesday, Aug. 6. TCU is scheduled to have its first situational scrimmage on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Here are other highlights from Saturday’s post-practice press conference:
Stepping up on practice
Saturday was the first day of shoulder pads and despite a “pretty intense” practice, Patterson said he felt that his players were able to follow through well and had a better finish than previous practices.
As far as freshmen picking up to the schemes of practice, Patterson said he was satisfied about how the players are performing, especially the linebackers.
“They’re very athletic and they want to learn,” Patterson said of his linebackers, particularly Sammy Douglas and Paul Whitmill. “That’s half the battle and we like that."
Offensive line improving, starting positions still open
TCU’s offensive line, which is no longer “playing basketball,” as Patterson likes to say, performed well in shoulder pads and helmets on Saturday, the coach said.
Patterson said freshman Matthew Pryor looks good, as well as James Dunbar. Patterson also said he is satisfied with the performance of lineman Michael Thompson in early fall practices.
As far as starting positions go, Patterson said Joseph Noteboom has a chance to play as well as Lloyd Tunstill.
As far as who looks likely to replace Tayo Fabuluje at offensive tackle, Patterson didn’t have a specific pick, but made it known that Halapoulivaati Vaitai is not the main starter.
“Big V has never been the starter. He’s always been the number two guy. From what it looked like today, he’s our number two guy right now,” Patterson said.
Quotable Patterson lines:
On TCU’s #20 ranking in the coaches poll: “I appreciate the enthusiasm of some, but we have to prove people right or prove people wrong. In this case, we have to prove to people we belong.”
On young linebackers: “We’re still in our teaching phase and every day we teach a whole new defense. It’s hard to tell with any evaluation when we’re teaching it, trying to learn it and trying to make it faster. They’re very athletic and they want to learn. That’s half the battle and we like that.”