TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin gave up Twitter to become a better quarterback.
Or that’s what TCU coach Gary Patterson implied, at least.
Boykin, the redshirt sophomore who returns to the role he assumed almost a year ago, has been willing to do anything to improve his game. Whether it’s losing the distraction of social media, or becoming a dedicated student of film, or changing his throwing motion last spring, Boykin has done whatever necessary to improve his game.
“At some point in time, if you want to be great, you have to become a student of the game,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “And I think Trevone has become [one] a lot more.”
Boykin makes his first start Thursday at Texas Tech since he led the Frogs’ offense for the last nine games of 2012. The team went 3-6 after Casey Pachall left the team after four games.
As a redshirt freshman, Boykin was tough and gutsy, but too often struggled with his accuracy. He threw for more than 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns but was also intercepted 10 times. In his first start against Iowa State a year ago, he was picked off three times, which directly led to the Cyclones’ win.
But there will be a different Boykin on the field at AT&T Jones Stadium. Not only does Boykin have a year’s experience under his belt, but his passing is also noticeably better. His 35-yard pass over the shoulder of receiver Josh Doctson in the second half against LSU was a prime example.
His game will also be helped by the clear-cut understanding that this is his offense now with Pachall’s broken arm keeping him out for at least two months. Although Patterson and his players had claimed that the offense stayed the same no matter who was under center, it was obvious in the first two games that it moves differently with Boykin at the helm.
Patterson declined to say whether he thought Boykin had outplayed Pachall in the first two games, but credited Boykin after both games with sparking the offense.
“I don’t think it’s fair to Casey or to Trevone to even comment on what other people think,” he said. “It’s easy to be the second guy. I’m on the golf course and I shank it and my B player has been better at golf the last 15 years.”
Patterson said that it could help the offense prepare with just one style of quarterback as opposed to two.
“We get a chance to hone in on one game plan instead of fitting a game plan for both,” he said. “But Trevone gave us a lot of positives lining up at wide receiver and running back.”
Boykin’s mobility is his strength at quarterback and his willingness to go for the extra yard like a running back is a product of his competitiveness. But as the full-time quarterback, his penchant for taking defenders head on may need to change.
“I have to protect myself as much as possible and they were telling me that on the sidelines,” Boykin said. “I was just being hard-headed on the field and taking shots I didn’t need to take so we have to get that changed. It’s not that I like the contact. I’m trying to do whatever it takes to win so I’m going to do whatever it takes to win.”
It’s a double-edge sword for Patterson, who obviously loves Boykin’s tenacious mentality. At the same time, however, he doesn’t want an injury to Boykin to force him to put redshirt freshman Tyler Matthews into the same place Boykin was in 2012.
“He’s an unbelievable competitor. That’s what it starts with. He understands and runs the offense completely different than he did when he had to start against Iowa State,” Patterson said. “He makes plays and extends drives and plays with his feet. That’s what you’re looking for, a chance to move the chains, first downs. He’s just got to be smarter with the football.”
In the first two games, Boykin has better numbers than Pachall. Boykin has thrown for more yards, completed a high percentage of passes and has two touchdown passes with no interceptions.
“He’s improved a lot,” center Joey Hunt said. “[Last year’s experience] is going to help a lot. He knows what he’s getting thrown into. He’s been through all this so it’s not going to be as big of an adjustment for him.”
Boykin remembers the empty feeling of watching Texas Tech swipe a 56-53 triple overtime win a year ago in Fort Worth. TCU coaches haven’t mentioned it, Boykin said, but it was discussed among the players.
“They came down here and beat us on our home turf so we’re trying to go down there and get the W,” he said.
The circumstances are eerily similar to last year for Boykin. But he’s a different player now.
“The first game happened so fast it was gone,” he said. “It was way better [the next week] playing Baylor. I’m starting to read coverages easier. That’s the main goal. Seeing the progress from last year to this year it’s a big jump. Some of the passes I could have thrown a little better, or could have stepped into a little more, or followed through more. Little things like that I still need to work on. But from that point last year to this year I feel like I’ve gotten better. I’ve mentally prepared more and physically I’m better than I was last year.”
Head to head
|Points per game||32.5||51|
|3rd down conv.||46.2%||60%|
|3rd down conv.||54.5%||32.4%|