The signature dreadlocks of senior Jason Verrett remained a staple in the defensive backfield as TCU ran through its second spring practice Saturday, alongside his starting cornerback partner from last season, junior Kevin White.
Beyond that tandem of TCU’s depth-chart headliners from last season, cornerback drills feature plenty of fresh faces.
Fresh, however, does not mean inexperienced.
Returning to action this spring is sophomore Travoskey Garrett, who was sidelined the entirety of last season after surgery. Joining Garrett in the depth-chart battle at boundary corner is sophomore David Jenkins, who was ineligible to play last season to satisfy NCAA rules after he transferred from LSU.
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While the group might be inexperienced in game action, TCU coach Gary Patterson said they add to the veteran feel of the Horned Frogs by already having the system ingrained in their minds from a season of observing and participating in practice.
“Really, everyone out there secondary-wise is back,” Patterson said. “Those guys have already been through the experience. It helps us, because when you don’t have to teach them the basics you can work on the little things.”
Those little things include expanding TCU’s defensive packages to include more man coverage beyond the zone looks the Frogs perfected last season.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver and Florida transfer Ja’Juan Story and running back and Nebraska transfer Aaron Green enter the season on the same terms, learning the TCU system after sitting out 2012 .
Now it’s a matter of fitting that knowledge with their natural athletic ability inside the framework of Patterson’s system.
“It doesn’t matter how good of an athlete you are, it’s can you play in the scheme and can you do it the way we need to do it,” Patterson said. “That’s where we are with all three of them.”
The months of inpatient treatment for substance abuse quarterback Casey Pachall went through last season seem to have created a new aura about the senior.
“Like I told people, with everything he went through and when he came back from inpatient, it was like the kid that came here as a freshman,” Gary Patterson said after Saturday’s practice. “The color was back in his face.”
What surprised Patterson the most was, despite his absence, Pachall returned a better player in some aspects than he was before, particularly in outside passes.
“You could tell the difference in his arm, comparably with how quick he throws it,” Patterson said.
Pachall has since caught up with his weightlifting program and has put up 350 pounds on the bench press this spring.
Pushing Pachall to excel is Trevone Boykin, who filled in under center last season.
“I’m really excited about him and Trevone,” Patterson said. “Both guys, it doesn’t look like there was any drop-off whatsoever.”
Perry makes impact
The newest addition to the TCU coaching staff, former Arlington Bowie coach Kenny Perry, whizzed up and down the practice sidelines Saturday decked from head to toe in Horned Frogs gear, meeting and greeting recruits and their families. He’s the new director of high school football relations.
While the transition into the role already appears to be seamless, Gary Patterson said its not where he ultimately sees Perry in the future.
“He’s a very respected high school coach that wants to be a college coach,” Patterson said. “He’s a guy that eventually won’t just be that position, he’ll become a guy that will be a member of the staff one day that will be a position coach.”