After missing only his second bowl game in 14 years, TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson decided a change was necessary, and he had a good idea where to start.
“The offense was bad,” Patterson said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “There was no in-between.”
After TCU’s 41-38 loss to Baylor in its 2013 finale, Patterson decided it was time to give his outdated pro-style offense a makeover.
So, he traveled south and hired Houston co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham to run the offense.
“I think people are just in shock that I let him do it,” Patterson said. “That’s all I heard is, ‘No way he’s going to let him do it.’”
Prior to his 2013 campaign at Houston, Meacham served as the tight ends and wide receivers coach at his alma mater Oklahoma State for eight seasons.
The Cowboys ranked in the top 10 nationally in offense and averaged at least 40 points in five of Meacham’s final six seasons in Stillwater.
He also coached a couple of NFL First Round picks in wide receivers Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant.
Meacham expressed the need for depth at wide receiver for TCU down the stretch this season.
“If you’re going to have 75 or 80 plays a game, those guys aren’t going to be able to go all those reps,” Meacham said.
Patterson didn’t stop with Meacham, however, as he brought in Texas Tech assistant Sonny Cumbie to help coach the quarterbacks.
Cumbie, who served as Texas Tech’s co-offensive coordinator, also played for the Red Raiders. He was an All-Big 12 performer as a senior and his 4,472 passing yards is fifth best in NCAA history.
Cumbie said it was his tutelage under Mike Leach at Tech that has him in-sync with the up-tempo offense.
“The nuts and bolts of the offense are what we ran at Texas Tech,” Cumbie said. “Everyone just tries to take their personal flavor and spice it up to do different things with it.”
Statistically, TCU has the most improved offense in the nation this year.
Under Meacham and Cumbie’s guidance this season, TCU leads the nation in scoring offense – averaging 50.4 points per game. The Horned Frogs are also second in total offense with 573 yards per game.
In 2013, the Frogs averaged only 25.1 points per game and 344.8 yards per game.
The offense’s success in its first year has surprised Patterson.
“Been surprised all the way through. First year I don’t think you can say ‘I knew this was going to happen,’” Patterson said.
Another significant improvement is the quarterback play. Trevone Boykin has been exceptional all year for the new coordinators.
Boykin has thrown for 2306 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s completed 58.7 percent of his passes and thrown only three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 374 yards.
Meacham said he feels the new offense fits Boykin well.
“The simplicity of what we do helps him,” Meacham said. “A lot of the things we do are reactionary and that suits him.”
Boykin was named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week after his performance Saturday in the Frogs 82-27 win over Texas Tech. Boykin was 22 of 39 for 433 yards and seven touchdowns.
When asked why the offense ran the score up the junior quarterback didn’t hesitate to take a jab at his new coach.
“You’ll have to ask Coach Cumbie about that,” Boykin said grinning. “After all he’s the Tech guy.”
However, the numbers that Boykin has accumulated under Cumbie’s guidance are nothing to joke about.
Boykin is only the third quarterback since 2009 to average over 300 yards per game passing (329.4) and at least 50 yards per game (53.4). The other two were Heisman Trophy winners Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel.
He is the first quarterback to throw for 250 yards or more in seven straight games during Patterson’s 14-year tenure.
Boykin isn’t the only Frog seeing improvement this year. Seven different players have already set career highs for yards in a season.
Patterson said he sees a distinct difference in his offensive unit this year compared to last.
“The whole group has evolved,” Patterson said. “Going from where we didn’t think we had anybody to guys having great days.”