TCU football coach outlines Casey Pachall’s ordeal and deems it a success

Posted Monday, Jul. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
TCU Coach: Gary Patterson (13th season, 116-36) 2012 record: 7-6 Season opener: Aug. 31 vs. LSU (Cowboys Stadium) Key issues: It may not be an issue at all if Casey Pachall returns to form before his untimely departure in 2012. But as long as coach Gary Patterson declines to select a starting quarterback, Pachall’s and Trevone Boykin’s status will remain an issue, whether it’s real or not. ... The Horned Frogs have real issues at linebacker, where a lack of depth will be a concern and a point of contention during August camp.

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Another wrinkle has been added to TCU’s quarterback question.

TCU coach Gary Patterson told about 500 media members that he’s not opposed to using Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin during his 20-minute news conference Monday at the Big 12 media days at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas.

“We’ll see how scrimmages go going into the first ballgame,” Patterson said, before clarifying that “when I say that, it won’t be a 50/50 thing, I don’t think. But I do believe there’s a place for both of them.”

How serious he’s considering the proposition and how, exactly, they’d be used, is left for debate. But one constant remained clear: No starter has been chosen.

Later, Patterson repeated his intention from the spring that he plans to select a starter midway through August camp. But with LSU lurking in the Horned Frogs’ Aug. 31 opener at Cowboys Stadium, Patterson may, as he cagily acknowledged Monday, prefer to keep the Tigers guessing on who they’ll face under center.

“[A defense] can’t just say that your game plan is all about a guy that’s a thrower and he hands it off and he does a great job checking and has a strong arm,” Patterson said, without naming LSU. “I think you have to get ready for both of them, just like we’ve done for other schools in this conference. If they have a guy that can throw it, a guy that does a better job running ... for a defensive guy, that’s a lot different animal because you’ve got to put a lot more work into it.”

Patterson said Pachall chose not to attend media days, preferring to keep a low profile as he prepares for his final season at TCU. Whether Patterson considered bringing Pachall, who was the media’s preseason All-Big 12 pick last week, is unclear.

What is clear, however, is Patterson and his players, including running back Waymon James, are excited by either quarterback earning the nod.

“They’re both great players,” James said. “We’ll see Aug. 31. They’re both too good to just sit them on the bench.”

Patterson and James expressed a new look in Pachall’s eyes since he returned to school in January after departing in October 2012 to seek substance abuse treatment. Patterson reiterated to the media that the decision to allow Pachall’s return has proven to be the right move.

“To see color back in his face this spring told me we had done the right thing,” Patterson said.

To James, Pachall seems like a changed man.

“I really think he has,” he said. “He works out like he’s focused. He knows what it takes now. He doesn’t miss reps, he’s there every day. He’s ready. Casey is going to make a lot of people proud of him. That boy is ready.”

Patterson tried to put the ordeal into perspective for national and Big 12 media curious to know if Pachall’s situation was handled appropriately.

“I think it was an easy decision of understanding that we needed to get him in a place where not only for this year, but for the rest of his life, we knew we gave him a chance to be different,” Patterson said. “Casey is a very talented young man. How he handles everything will be an indication of how well we do in the Big 12 Conference. If you want to play well in the Big 12, you’ve got to play well at quarterback.

“Even last year, when Trevone played well, we won. When he didn’t play well, we lost. So having a Casey Pachall back — I think he was the No. 1-ranked quarterback after four games when we set him aside — I think tells you when he comes back and plays at that level, it gives us a better chance to win.”

Pachall’s desire to follow Andy Dalton into the NFL has also been a key factor in his new outlook, Patterson said.

“That’s one of the things that drives him,” he said. “But you have to understand, like all the rest of them, how you handle yourself off the field, how you do things in a day-to-day life, affect that. If you want to get to the NFL, it’s a business. You’re going to clock in at 7 or 8 in the morning, and you’re going to do your job, and you’re going to go home at 6 or 7 at night.

“Can you handle that? The story, as we go forward, we’ll find out how he does that. If he does, it’s going to be a great story. If not, we took our opportunity to try to change a kid’s life, and maybe it didn’t work out. But I’m betting on the first one.”

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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