TCU scrimmaged for over 100 plays Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium and again, coach Gary Patterson said the offense had a slight edge against the defense.
Neither side of the ball received a glowing review from Patterson, but the two biggest areas of concern — linebacker and offensive line — stuck out as troublesome, he said.
The scrimmage was closed to the media. The Horned Frogs scrimmage again Tuesday. The team’s last full-on scrimmage is Saturday, two days before classes begin.
“We worked a fast tempo and the defense was bothered a little bit by it,” Patterson said, before offering subtle praise. “There weren’t as many big plays given up. We need to play better in man coverage.”
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The offense, he said, needs to work faster between plays, and fumbles by young running backs were a concern.
Patterson focused much of his critique on the defense, saying four tackles were missed during a goal-line scrimmage. He did point out, however, that several first-team players on the defensive line played less Saturday, giving way to younger players.
End Devonte Fields, for instance, played with the second team after he and tackle Chucky Hunter recovered from a stomach flu.
Tackles Jon Lewis (tweaked shoulder) and David Johnson didn’t scrimmage much either, Patterson said. Terrell Lathan has missed time recovering from a concussion.
“We’ve got to do a better job of tackling,” he said. “We’ve got to get a lot better on defense. We’ve got to work on getting a better pass rush. Especially, in our league, if you don’t have a pass rush out of [a front] four you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”
O-line pros, cons
The offensive line remains in flux in the wake of the departures of former starter Tayo Fabuluje and reserve Michael Thompson. Center Joey Hunt has been a pleasant surprise, Patterson said.
“You can tell he did a lot of snapping and a lot of work on his own over the summer to get where he’s at,” he said. “He didn’t have a great spring and he’s had a good fall.
Hunt moved from the defensive line to help with depth issues a year ago.
“I think he’s going to be a really good player,” Patterson said. “He really has a grasp of protections and calling out where the blitzes are coming, all the stuff you’ve got to do in our scheme. He really does a nice job.”
James Dunbar worked at right tackle during the scrimmage and is a leading candidate to replace Fabuluje as a starter.
“Right now, as thin as we are, everybody has a chance,” he said. “[Former Denton Guyer standout and freshman] Patrick Morris is snapping and playing guard also.”
Two freshman defensive backs moved to different positions, Gary Patterson said. Former Arlington Bowie star Steve Wesley moved from cornerback to free safety, and Denzel Johnson moved to strong safety.
“[Both are] going to be great moves for us,” Patterson said.
Colors Day competition
TCU is participating in the second annual College Colors Day spirit competition, which runs from Monday through Aug. 29. Fans can register to vote at facebook.com/collegecolorsday. The winning school earns $10,000 towards its general scholarship fund.
“This is competition like a bowl game when you play a team like [LSU]. You always want all your bullets. It’s not good to go into a gunfight with a knife. We need to keep saving our money so we can get a gun.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson on playing LSU on Aug. 31 without suspended DE Devonte Fields and recently departed starting LB Joel Hasley and OT Tayo Fabuluje