Practice notes: Defense improves, younger players impress


    TCU's defense progressed Tuesday during the team's scrimmage, head football coach Gary Patterson said on Wednesday. 

    Patterson said the defense played much better on Tuesday after the offense had the edge during a scrimmage on Saturday.

    "Defense had a better day [on Tuesday]," Patterson said. "We picked [the quarterbacks] two or three times. The number one quarterbacks, not the two's and threes."

    During Saturday's scrimmage, the defense struggled when the offense went up-tempo, Patterson said. 

    However, Patterson said both the pass rush and linebackers needed to improve. He said the young linebackers have hit a wall physically.

    When asked who needed to step up on the defensive line, he responded, "Everybody."

    Texada, Matthews, other freshmen step up

    Patterson also said a number of younger players have been impressive through the first few practices of the year.

    Freshman cornerback Ranthony Texada did well returning punts and kicks during Tuesday's scrimmage, Patterson said. Texada nearly returned two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns.

    Patterson also said freshman safety Zach Jackson had one interception during the scrimmage, and that freshman receiver Ty Slanina is practicing with the first team.

    When asked about the quarterback battle, Patterson went so far as to say redshirt freshman Tyler Matthews is in the mix.

    "We really feel really good about the young guy," Patterson said of Matthews. "He's vastly improved from a year ago."

    Patterson said Matthews' throwing motion has improved with strength development, and that he believes Matthews "gained confidence in the spring and through the summer."

    Injury news

    Brandon Carter had surgery on Tuesday after injuring his hand, but Patterson said he will be back at practice next week in preparation to play in the opener against LSU.

    "It's not a big deal," Patterson said of the injury. "The whole thing with what he's got is when he can tolerate the pain and catch the ball. Once he can do that, then he goes."

    Zach Jackson is practicing despite a bruised rib. Junior defensive tackle Jon Lewis returned to practice after sitting out with an injury. Also, sophomore defensive tackle Terrell Lathan is in the process of returning from a concussion.