TCU notes: Linebacker Dawson sets bar high in first start

Posted Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Coming from Dallas Skyline High School, known for producing FBS-caliber linebackers, Paul Dawson possessed the pedigree and talent to start for TCU.

The mental side of head coach Gary Patterson’s accountability-heavy 4-2-5 defense is what kept Dawson, as it does most young players, on the sidelines.

Saturday marked Dawson’s career breakout game, in his first career start for the Horned Frogs.

The junior college transfer led TCU in tackles against Kansas in a 27-17 victory with 17, eight ahead of the next best TCU defender, Marcus Mallet. Dawson moved from 11th on the team in tackles to fifth with Saturday’s performance.

Dawson also had three of those tackles for loss and claimed a share of a sack.

Defensive teammate Sam Carter was shocked to hear of the linebacker’s tackle total after the game and said he was happy for Dawson’s success.

“Paul is probably one of the top three linebackers in the conference,” Carter said. “Our system is just hard for a lot of people to adjust to — even me, I’m still learning stuff. I think now the game is slowing down, and you have Marcus Mallet out there helping him out.”

Defensive end Jon Koontz, regarded amongst teammates as one of the smartest players on the defensive line, echoed Carter’s thoughts on the difficulty of Patterson’s defense, especially in the area between the ears.

“It’s a really tough defense and it’s all about accountability,” Koontz said. “It’s not as much about how good of an athlete you are, it’s about being in the right place at the right time, and Coach Patterson does a great job of scheming for teams and putting us in the right spot.”

Dawson took the spot alongside junior linebacker Mallet over Jonathan Anderson, who recorded three tackles in a more limited role on the Frogs’ defense.

Dawson’s 17 tackles were the most by a Horned Frog since Anderson himself recorded 17 against BYU in 2011.

As for the future, the job is now Dawson’s to lose, Patterson said.

“We finally got him in the game doing something, and he made some plays, which is awesome,” Patterson said.

Porter steps up

The jury may still be out on which wide receiver will step up to be the Horned Frogs’ “ace,” but on Saturday junior wide receiver David Porter made his case.

Porter finished with a team-high 118 receiving yards on four catches, marking the first 100-yard game for a Frog since Josh Boyce’s 180-yard performance last season at West Virginia.

“He was seeing the same thing I was seeing,” TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin said. “We were on the same page. I was just trying to get him the ball, and he made plays.”

Porter did what Gary Patterson has been asking his receivers to do in recent weeks — catch the balls that may not be the easiest plays, but should be caught.

Porter pulled in two passes from Boykin that were not quite on target, one high and one behind on a slant route, which Boykin said gives him another level of confidence.

“That gives me a lot of confidence knowing that as long as the ball was in his area, he was going to come down with it,” Boykin said. “We have a lot of guys who can do that, but David stepped up today and made those plays.”

The majority of Porter’s yards came on a 75-yard touchdown catch-and-run on the first play from scrimmage of the third quarter.

It was the longest play from scrimmage for the Frogs since Brandon Carter’s 80-yard touchdown catch from Boykin against Oklahoma last season.

Injury update

• Freshman wide receiver Ty Slanina left Saturday’s game in the second quarter after taking a hit while reaching for a pass that would fall incomplete. Once he reached the sideline, his helmet was taken away from him by the training staff.

“He got banged up a bit,” Gary Patterson said after the game.

Patterson was unsure of Slanina’s status for next week’s game against Oklahoma State and said they will conduct evaluations Sunday.

• All-America cornerback Jason Verrett sat out for the majority of the fourth quarter after he aggravated a shoulder injury. Patterson said his removal from the game was precautionary.

Briefly

•  Wide receiver Brandon Carter saw limited playing time Saturday and remained on the sideline until late in the second quarter. Gary Patterson said the reasoning was “something between him and I.”

• TCU’s win percentage in homecoming games reached .500 with Saturday’s victory, putting the Frogs at 41-41-5 all-time.

• Running back B.J. Catalon’s 91 yards rushing set a career high for the sophomore.

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