August 29, 2013

Football preview: TCU’s Casey Pachall is the Big 12’s best QB

Horned Frogs quarterback has the size, strength and accuracy of the nation’s best QBs.

Accuracy: His ability to put the ball on the money, no matter the route and no matter the coverage, is probably taken for granted by many TCU fans. Remember how often Andy Dalton, especially early in games, could struggle with his control? He’s a respected quarterback in the NFL now.

Arm strength: Not only is he accurate, he zips most passes to his receivers between converging defenders with a fastball pitcher’s velocity. He doesn’t always throw lasers, but when the moment calls for it he can set his phaser and stun.

Size: Of course, his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame doesn’t automatically make him talented, but it’s one of the reasons he has a future in the NFL. And his ability to see over his line, to read defenses, to find his receivers, all come easier thanks to his size. When he needs to run, moreover, he’s no dandelion to tackle.

Motivation: Again, motivation alone doesn’t make Pachall a top quarterback, but no one has more to prove — to himself, his teammates, his coaches, and perhaps most importantly, to NFL scouts.

Experience: Started 17 consecutive games with a 15-2 record before leaving the team last October. The only other Big 12 quarterback with similar experience is Texas’ David Ash, who is 12-6 in 18 career starts.

Big-game pedigree: Shown a penchant for stepping up when the stakes were high. Exhibit A: His 473-yard, four-touchdown performance at Boise State in 2011. He held his own with 251 yards and four touchdowns against eventual Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in a nationally televised opener earlier that season.

Improved mobility: He didn’t run much as a first-year starter but was expected to change that in 2012. He gained 71 yards on 21 carries in four games, but several big losses on sacks and a muffed snap at Kansas skewed his rushing totals. A full season could show off his versatility.

Focus: He vowed a renewed focus upon his return to TCU in January and, by all accounts, he remains determined to give his TCU career a happy ending.

Spreads the field: Defenses are hard-pressed to box him to one side of the field or to concentrate on one or two receivers. He’s shown an ability to scatter passes all over the field and target every receiver.

His teammates: He can’t do it alone, but Pachall has all the weapons he needs to be an offensive force. Running backs Waymon James and B.J. Catalon offer a proven tandem in the backfield, and receivers Brandon Carter, LaDarius Brown and Cam White, along with newcomers Ja’Juan Story, Cam Echols-Lupor and Ty Slanina offer big and speedy options downfield.

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