The football team has “a lot of work to do” in preparation for the season opener against LSU, TCU head football coach Gary Patterson said Friday.
The program’s ambition is to look like LSU and other SEC schools in the next few years in terms of physicality, Patterson said, but TCU’s players are not big enough and the roster is not deep enough for that yet.
“They know how to play at a high level,” Patterson said of LSU. “They know how to play in this arena we’re getting ready to go into.”
Although Patterson spoke highly of LSU, he isn’t counting out a high performance from TCU when the two schools face each other at the end of the month.
Patterson said the offensive line is the most improved group on the football team.
“Now what does that mean against LSU and [junior defensive tackle] Anthony Johnson?” Patterson said. “We’ve watched him on tape. We didn’t play against a defensive tackle like him last year.”
Rotation at linebacker
Patterson said the young linebackers, freshmen Sammy Douglas and Paul Whitmill, have been getting past the physical wall he mentioned earlier in the week. His plan is to use a rotation at linebacker throughout the season.
“Right now, we’ve got three guys that are older that we can play with Jonathan [Anderson], [Paul] Dawson and [Marcus] Mallet,” Patterson said. “Right now, if I had to play a game tomorrow, those would be the three and [the freshmen would] rotate with the fourth [spot].”
Douglas has been improving, and is now “light years from where he was two weeks ago,” according to Patterson.
Patterson said there are no plans to redshirt either of the freshmen, and that TCU will need the whole group of linebackers they have.
Slanina impressing on and off the field:
Patterson also said wide receiver Ty Slanina has had a great camp, performing well on and off of the field.
“If you put him on the board, he can teach you the whole offense,” Patterson said. “He’s just a smart dude.”
Slanina played multiple positions, including quarterback, in high school. Patterson said he debated whether to make him a receiver or a safety.
“I think he’s just one of those guys who’s very football smart, very academically smart. He understands,” Patterson said. “He’s got more of a toughness, maybe more of a work ethic. Things that maybe some other kid doesn’t have when he comes in here on his first year.”
The team’s last day of camp and final scrimmage is Saturday. The season opener against LSU is Aug. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.