TCU is two weeks from opening against LSU at AT&T Stadium and two of the three biggest questions surrounding the Horned Frogs are beginning to be answered.
Coach Gary Patterson said that his linebacker corps will be run by committee with Marcus Mallet, Paul Dawson and former safety Jonathan Anderson vying for the two starting spots.
Freshmen Sammy Douglas (Arlington High) and Paul Whitmill are next off the bench, he said. Both freshmen hit a wall physically earlier this week, Patterson said, but have snapped back and looked better later in the week.
Patterson spoke after the team’s Friday morning walk-through in the indoor facility. The team also practiced Friday afternoon and holds its last full scrimmage Saturday morning at Amon G. Carter Stadium, weather permitting. The scrimmage is closed to media and fans.
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Patterson said redshirting Douglas or Whitmill isn’t an option in the wake of former starter Joel Hasley’s departure the first week of camp.
“[Douglas] is one play away from being the third guy,” he said. “Paul Whitmill is one play away from being the fourth guy, and another play from being the third guy. They’re going to have to keep going because it’s a long season. Sammy is light years from where he was two weeks ago.”
QB question remains
Gary Patterson said he still has not decided who will start at quarterback, Casey Pachall or Trevone Boykin.
“I haven’t even had that discussion with the offensive staff,” he said. “Our whole thing right now is how are we going to make this team better. I’m happy with both.”
Could both be used against LSU Aug. 31?
Patterson remained cagey, saying he didn’t know.
“We’ll see,” adding that his staff will discus the matter on Sunday.
Big V on O-line
Right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is working opposite left tackle Aviante Collins on the first team, but the position hasn’t been settled, Gary Patterson said.
Vaitai, who attended Haltom High School and is called Big V, played in five games in 2012 as a reserve.
James Dunbar is the top reserve for both tackle spots, Patterson said.
Freshman Joseph Noteboom is also improving, Patterson said.
While the offensive front remains one of the team’s biggest concerns, Patterson praised the unit after Friday’s morning walk-through as showing the biggest leap since the spring.
“The offensive line is the most improved group on this football team,” he said.
“What does that mean against LSU and Anthony Johnson? We’ve watched him on tape. We didn’t play against a defensive tackle like that last year. He’s a really good player. Our young tackles are better than they were at the end of the spring. What does that mean? I don’t know until a ballgame. We’re going to find out.”
“Guys act different sometimes when we go down there compared to the practice fields. Because there’s no coaches on the field. You’re on your own. You’ve got to solve your own problems. That’s why scrimmages are good.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson on why he likes scrimmaging at Amon G. Carter Stadium