Despite his less-than-stellar stat line, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall looked pretty good in his return Saturday against Texas.
Pachall, playing for the first time since breaking his non-throwing arm Sept. 7, completed only 13 of 34 passes for 139 yards, but he looked more sharp than rusty.
Pachall will “probably” start against West Virginia (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium, coach Gary Patterson said.
As was the case for Trevone Boykin for much of the previous seven games, Pachall didn’t get much help from his receivers.
But with a revamped offensive line that provided a little bit better protection (with Eric Tausch moved to center and Joey Hunt moved to right guard), Pachall was able to find receivers and throw downfield more.
Pachall, who has proven to be an adept passer, was on the money more often than not Saturday, but six dropped passes helped force the Frogs to punt on nine of their last 11 possessions. The other two ended with a fumble and the clock expiring.
TCU, which rushed for only 45 yards, could have more success rushing in its final four games if Pachall continues to take shots downfield.
“The one thing I like about him is he has a higher expectation level coming in,” Patterson said of Pachall, who replaced Boykin on TCU’s third series Saturday. “He knows we have to do a lot better if we want to win any ballgames. He understands that. He doesn’t accept that.
“He was a lot better leader in the huddle during the week and on Saturday than we’ve had. Nothing against Trevone, but [Casey] has been there a lot longer than he has been.”
Pachall showed that TCU (3-5, 1-4) “can still sit in there and throw the football down the field without having to scramble,” Patterson said. “We had some pressures, but if you look at it, as a general rule, we got an opportunity to throw the football.”
Receiver LaDarius Brown has caught 16 passes for 152 yards in the last three games, including a team-high seven receptions for 87 yards against Texas. He’s been one of the few receivers to step up while the offense has struggled, but even he had a key drop on third down Saturday.
Pachall said after the game that every part of the offense was equally to blame.
“There was some confusion within the O-line, within the receivers and what they did and myself, and some missed assignments from our running backs,” Pachall said. “You can’t put the blame on any one person. Most every play, we, at times, one or two of us, would take turns screwing it up.”
Several of Pachall’s passes fell incomplete, seemingly thrown to no specific receiver, a similar issue that plagued Boykin. Sometimes it’s obvious a receiver ran the wrong route; other times, it appears that the receivers and quarterbacks are not on the same page.
“If you want to throw on timing, you’ve got to have people where they need to be or you need to scramble to get where you need to get to,” Patterson said Sunday. “Whether it’s coaching, whether it’s talent, whether it’s effort, whether it’s injuries — whatever it is, you can only judge a team by wins and losses and, for us, we have to become a better football team.”
Making a statement
Gary Patterson thinks teams, after building a lead against TCU, have tried taking shots against Horned Frogs All-American cornerback Jason Verrett.
That includes Texas, which tried to beat Verrett several times in the second half. Verrett and Kevin White each had interceptions in the third quarter on deep passes.
“We sit on routes and they are going to take their best shot,” Patterson said. “I felt like they were trying to make a statement. People feel like we’re a good defense, and if they can go do that they can make an even bigger statement nationally.”
Rising: Defensive tackles Chucky Hunter and Jon Lewis (playing for the injured Davion Pierson) combined for 19 tackles against Texas. Lewis started for the first time in 2013 and had career highs with nine tackles and 2.5 for a loss.
Falling: B.J. Catalon and Waymon James did not play in the first quarter Saturday for a team violation, Gary Patterson said. TCU radio reported that the running backs missed Tuesday’s practice. Patterson declined to comment on the nature of the violation.
7 TCU’s seven points Saturday against Texas were the fewest in a game for the Frogs since they lost at Utah 20-7 Oct. 5, 2006. Since 2000, TCU has been held to seven points three times.
“There wasn’t anything that happened to us last night on defense that [Texas] did that we didn’t already know about. The one wheel route we had run 100 times since last Sunday. Everybody in the conference runs it.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson