In preparation for Friday’s annual Spring Game, Thursday afternoon’s football practice was no less intense: the pads were bumping, and so was the music.
Head coach Gary Patterson used to play in a band, and songs such as “Raise a Little Hell,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “We Will Rock You” toned practice throughout the day.
Late afternoon practices provide a scheduling challenge for football because players have night classes and are forced to leave practice early. However, those absences give younger guys a chance to step in and prove themselves.
Frogs’ sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall no longer has to wait for former TCU starting quarterback Andy Dalton to leave for night class now that Dalton is set to start his NFL career.
Fans will be able to judge Pachall at the same time Patterson will — Patterson said practice is no time to judge the former four-star recruit out of Brownwood.
“I don’t judge quarterbacks in scrimmages or practices; they get judged in ball games,” Patterson said. “I underplayed Andy Dalton, and look how much I knew. It’s better to understate and overplay than the other way around.”
Pachall, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds, completed four of six passes for 54 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Logan Brock in a 66-17 rout of New Mexico in the final regular season game of 2010.
With TCU losing half its starters after the 2010-11 season, Patterson talked a lot about the young players who will have a chance — if only one chance — to show what they can do during the Spring Game.
Freshman Deryck Gildon, a linebacker out of Arlington, is a perfect example.
“Deryck is amazing in his attention to detail,” Patterson said. “It’s amazing for a guy who’s been here for three months to do so well in this system when other guys are out.”
Gildon will have a chance to step in for veteran Horned Frogs in practice and in the Spring Game, but it may be his opportunity to take a starting job.
“I hear coaches say they’re returning 18 starters and are going to have a good team,” Patterson said. “Well, I say we’re losing 18 starters, and that’s how you keep a job for a long time. You’ve got to find a way to grow people up quicker and give yourself a chance to go be successful.”
Young players stepped in to make plays throughout Thursday’s practice. Sophomore cornerback Jason Verrett, an early enrollee from Santa Rosa, Calif., is one underclassman who made an immediate impact on Patterson.
“Our boundary corner has got to be a guy with ice in his veins, and he has to play with a lot of discipline,” Patterson said in reference to Verrett. “When we have a boundary corner that can really play, it makes us a lot better. If a young guy can do it, so be it.”
Saturday’s Spring Game also will give the coaching staff another chance to see what Patterson’s team is made of. It will be more of a game setting compared to practice, with a running clock and first-down markers.
TCU’s annual Spring Sale, which features apparel and gear from TCU athletics teams. The sale will last until the end of the Spring Game. Items for sale include jerseys, shoes and apparel from other TCU sports.
Sports editor Ryne Sulier contributed to this article.
TCU Spring Game
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium
When: 8 a.m. to end of Spring Game
Where: Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center