TCU’s defense ranks 21st nationally and third in the Big 12, behind Baylor and Oklahoma, in yards allowed per game.
TCU coach Gary Patterson is especially pleased with the unit when factoring in how many plays it has defended: 732, the most plays among the top 50 defenses in the country.
Only seven teams in the top 50, including TCU, have defended 700 or more plays. Baylor’s defense, for instance, has defended 600 plays. Oklahoma only has 590.
Michigan State, the nation’s top-rated defense, is allowing just 210.2 yards per game against a total of 545 plays. Of course, some of these teams, such as Baylor, haven’t played as many games as TCU (4-6, 2-5 Big 12), which only has two games left, including at Kansas State (5-4, 3-3) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
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“To be 21st and play that many plays, that many minutes, speaks volumes for what this group has done this year,” Patterson said.
He pointed out that only 14 teams have defended more plays than TCU, and none rank higher defensively than No. 57 Missouri, which has defended 757 plays.
Trevone Boykin’s natural athleticism never ceases to amaze Patterson.
Boykin has continued working on returning punts and could take the role at Kansas State. He rotated worked out with Brandon Carter and Cameron Echols-Luper on Wednesday.
“He’s a natural at it,” Patterson said. “It’s amazing how easily he catches the ball. I shouldn’t be surprised — he does everything else.”
Boykin could return kickoffs, too, but not any time soon.
“He’s got a lot on his plate,” Patterson said. “Kickoff return is a little bit more of a play. Punt return is go left, go right, go middle.”
Patterson said there are few positions Boykin couldn’t excel at on the field.
“If we had 100 Trevone Boykins, we’d be an awfully good football team,” he said. “He could play three out of the five secondary positions. Both linebackers. He could play both tailbacks, play wide receiver and quarterback.”
Patterson said last week that Carter’s availability the rest of the season would be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
“Right now, he’s on the bus, but it’s still only Wednesday,” Patterson said. “I’m treating him like my own sons. If you want to go out this weekend, make your bed, do your chores, finish up what you need to.”
Carter, who attended Euless Trinity High School, has dealt with family issues this season and missed the West Virginia game. He returned against Iowa State and led the Frogs in receiving.
Patterson said Carter had a couple of academic commitments to keep by Thursday afternoon before he’s “able to get on the bus.”
“I don’t mind trying to hold people to 30 if we can score 45, so maybe somewhere down the road here we’ll try that philosophy out — because I liked the 2009, 2010 seasons. Makes life a lot easier being the head coach and also [being able to] help call defenses.” — Gary Patterson on the high-powered offenses in the Big 12