The TCU defense, if not set entirely, should at least inspire some certainty for the Horned Frogs heading into their third Big 12 season. The unit, after all, finished first in total defense in 2012 and second last year as a slumping offense slowed TCU to 7-6 and 4-8 seasons.
But if there’s something TCU coach Gary Patterson feels OK with, it’s that he has the arms to ignite what’s been missing offensively.
The Frogs, who report to fall camp Aug. 3, return part-time starter Trevone Boykin and bring in Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel and freshmen Grayson Muehlstein and Foster Sawyer. All four, with the addition of redshirt freshman Zach Allen, will be vying for the reins of TCU’s newly implemented, high-octane offense.
“I think the biggest thing with it is that we’re looking for a guy who can help us win ballgames, whether it be Trevone Boykin or Matt Joeckel or Zach Allen or the two freshmen coming in,” Patterson said Tuesday evening before a fundraiser for his foundation at Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. “We have five or six guys who can spin the ball, and I think it’s been a very heated competition, even this summer with them out there throwing it.”
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Boykin completed 105 of 176 passes for 1,198 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games last season. Boykin started six of those games for an injured Casey Pachall.
Joeckel, an Arlington High grad, spent the last two seasons as Johnny Manziel’s backup. He has one year of eligibility left after graduating from A&M.
Patterson said the addition of Joeckel, if anything, will help the other quarterbacks get more acclimated to the Frogs’ more pass-heavy offense, which will be coordinated by new hires Doug Meacham from Oklahoma State and Sonny Cumbie from Texas Tech.
“I think he does give you a guy who’s been there,” Patterson said. “He has his degree. He wants to go to law school when he gets done with football. He’s a very smart guy that knows this offense, so I think it’ll be a guy who helps these other guys also, learning the little things about it. It’s about confidence. Who has the swagger to take this offense?”
Camp coming soon
TCU has Big 12 media days next Monday at the Omni Hotel in Dallas. Chucky Hunter, Sam Carter, Joey Hunt and David Porter will attend along with Patterson. Soon after that, players will report to two-a-days on Aug. 3.
Patterson said he and his staff returned from a break and went back to working on game plans.
“We just got back, making sure all the fine details of two-a-days are in place, and obviously our first two or three ballgames, game plan-wise going into it, with an emphasis on Samford and Minnesota,” he said. “This will be the oldest football team we’ve had in two or three years. So for us, getting back into winning ways — I think that’s the biggest thing. I think our kids are hungry.”
TCU opens the season against Samford on Aug. 30 at home.