TCU coach Gary Patterson is still planning a committee approach to his linebacking corps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean inferior play from the position.
Although the Horned Frogs no longer have 2012 leading tackler Joel Hasley, who quit football the first week of camp, the position could be in good hands.
Marcus Mallet, who started two games and played an important role as a reserve last season, has nailed down one of the starting spots. Paul Dawson and former safety Jonathan Anderson will fill the other. In fact, all three could be on the field at times against run-heavy LSU for the Cowboys Classic on Aug. 31 at AT&T Stadium. The Frogs employed three linebackers at times last season.
“We’re more athletic than we were a year ago,” Patterson said after Thursday’s practice in the indoor facility. “Paul and Jonathan are as athletic as guys we’ve had.”
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Anderson’s move from safety, where he made four career starts, gives TCU a big (6-foot-3, 227 pounds) but fast presence in the box to perhaps provide better coverage than Hasley was capable of in 2012.
“He didn’t know how to play linebacker a year ago,” Patterson said of Anderson. “Every scrimmage he’s gotten better.”
Freshmen linebackers Sammy Douglas (Arlington High) and Paul Whitmill will also see action. Whitmill injured an ankle, Patterson said, but is recovering.
If Casey Pachall is TCU’s starting quarterback against LSU, as many suspect, then what becomes of Trevone Boykin? Patterson has been open to the idea of using both quarterbacks, but has been vague about how and in what capacity.
“Trevone is such a good athlete,” Patterson said. “If he’s the starter, great. But if he’s the backup, you’ve got have him in situations. He just gives you too many options to do things. We’ve got to use every option we have.”
When Patterson was asked whether he considered it a luxury that TCU has two proven quarterbacks with at least nine starts each, he reminded the media of the hand he was dealt when Pachall left the team after four games a year ago. Boykin, a redshirt freshman who had just been moved to running back earlier that week because of Matthew Tucker’s injury, was moved back under center two days before starting his first game against Iowa State.
“I didn’t get any phone calls when I moved a running back to quarterback on a Thursday from anybody,” Patterson joked. “So if they’re looking for any sympathy, I’m the wrong person to come talk to. It’s one thing to get hurt and have all week to prepare [a replacement].”
Meet the Frogs
TCU’s annual Meet the Frogs autograph session is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility. Fans are permitted one autograph per player and coach Gary Patterson. Team posters will be available.
“A guy like Aaron Green has that moral compass already. So it makes my job a lot easier. There’s good knuckleheads and there’s bad knuckleheads. When there’s more of a percentage of good knuckleheads, including coaches, then my life is a lot easier.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson on running back Aaron Green, who transferred from Nebraska in 2012