TCU football shows off up-tempo offense during first spring practice

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    Horned Frog football is back.

    The TCU football team took the field Saturday morning for their first of 15 spring practices.

    “As a general rule, for three new coaches doing everything, how practice progressed, I thought it was pretty good,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.

    Saturday marked the debut of new co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie. The offense looked noticeably quicker and more up-tempo during drills.

    “Obviously, you can tell the tempo is a lot quicker than what we did,” Patterson said. “So there’s going to be some learning curve.”

    Meacham, who handles wide receivers, was the offensive coordinator at the University of Houston last season. Cumbie served four seasons as an assistant coach for Texas Tech before coming to coach quarterbacks at TCU last December.

    Junior wide receiver Deante Gray appeared to thrive in the new offensive scheme and looked extremely sharp for the majority of practice. He practiced at receiver Saturday despite contributing to the defense at cornerback last season as well.

    Gray has eight catches for 156 yards in his college career.

    While there have certainly been questions about what he’ll play next year, junior Trevone Boykin took most of the reps as the first-team quarterback.

    “Trevone’s the oldest so he’ll be the guy doing that,” Patterson said.

    Boykin, who started seven games at quarterback for the Frogs last year, also practiced at punt returner early Saturday morning.

    Junior wide receiver Brandon Carter was notably absent from practice. He’s still listed on the roster and Patterson said that he’s “taking care of academics.”

    Other players absent included junior tailback Jordan Moore, junior wide receiver Kolby Listenbee and freshman wide receiver Cam Echols-Luper, who were all competing for the track and field team instead.

    Junior defensive end Terrell Lathan wore a red jersey and sat out for most of practice with an undisclosed injury. He appears to be okay though.

    Sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields was on the field for the Frogs Saturday.

    “We’re not going to talk about good players. You prove you’re a good player,” Patterson said. “Devonte had so much publicity as a freshman [and] probably didn’t handle it very well as a sophomore.”

    Fields missed most of last season with a foot injury after garnering Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012. He has 10 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in his career as a Frog.

    “It’s a learning process,” Patterson said. “That’s what you have to do as coaches. You can’t forget that you’re parents.”

    Redshirt freshman cornerback Ranthony Texada practiced with the first-team for most of the day. He was rated the No. 5 cornerback in Texas coming out of high school, according to GoFrogs.com.

    Several high school players were also in attendance for TCU’s first practice of the spring including quarterback Grayson Muehlstein and linebacker Semaj Thomas.

    Muehlstein, a three-star signee from Decatur, Texas, was part of TCU’s quarterback class for 2014 that was ranked second-best in the country by Scout.com.

    Thomas committed to TCU in late January as a part of the class of 2015.

    Former Frogs quarterback Casey Pachall questioned the team’s leadership earlier in the month but Patterson said that he didn’t think it was meant to be negative.

    “I don’t think he meant it that way. I think he understands we gotta grow up,” Patterson said. “How we do things, how we handle things has been the same all the way through.”

    Pachall’s comments came after receiver LaDarius Brown was dismissed from the team following an arrest for possession of marijuana.

    TCU went 4-8 last season but came close to winning the majority of their games.

    “Our kids know we’re very close,” Patterson said. “How do we put ourselves in position to where we get over that hump and go play?”

    The team only lost two games by more than 10 points.

    “We’ve shown as a program that we can play in the Big 12,” Patterson said. “For us, we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing.”

    TCU continues spring practice until April 5. They’ll open their season against the Samford Bulldogs on August 30 at Amon G. Carter Stadium.