TCU is going to give itself two weeks to find a quarterback.
A quarterback. Not two.
“We really would like to have one guy,” quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie said. “If you take two quarterbacks and you split reps, you probably get two average quarterbacks.”
So don’t look for Trevone Boykin and Matt Joeckel, the front-runners, to wind up shuttling in and out every other play or series. The Horned Frogs want one quarterback when they unveil their new up-tempo offense Aug. 30 against Samford.
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“If you take one quarterback and you invest a lot of reps, you have a chance to have a really good quarterback,” said Cumbie, part of a contingent of coaches and players made available to reporters Sunday as the Horned Frogs reported for fall practices. “We’ll figure out how that happens after these first two, two-and-a-half weeks. We’d really like for one guy to be able to do it, but we’ll see how it goes.”
That is no problem for Boykin or Joeckel. Boykin has started part time the past two years and is looking for a chance to prove himself as the unquestioned No. 1. Joeckel is a graduated senior transfer from Texas AM who sat behind Johnny Manziel and sees this season as “my last shot, my last year to play.”
But first, they have to master the new up-tempo offense brought in by Cumbie, a former Texas Tech quarterback, and veteran assistant Doug Meacham, who helped author some of Oklahoma State’s best offenses with receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Brandon Weeden.
That is what the two weeks are for — evaluating and then deciding.
“The biggest thing is, does he make good decisions, is he accurate, does the ball go where it needs to be when it needs to be there,” Cumbie said. “Height, speed, arm strength — all that comes after that.”
Boykin is more athletic than Joeckel.
Joeckel has more experience in the new offense.
But the coaches shrug.
“Our offense is pretty much our offense. It’s not going to change based off whether we have a guy who can run or whether we have a guy who is more of a pocket passer,” Cumbie said. “The biggest thing is, who can run the offense consistently and make good decisions. If our guy who plays quarterback happens to be athletic, that’s a plus. But we’re going to ask our quarterbacks to make smart decisions and get the football to guys who are on scholarship to make plays.”
TCU has five quarterbacks to throw in the mix, but either Boykin or Joeckel are expected to win the job.
The other three quarterbacks have not played in a college game, although redshirt freshman Zach Allen has gone through two springs and a fall of practice.
One thing is for sure, however. Win or lose the quarterback competition, Boykin will be on the field.
“He has to be,” Meacham said. “He’s too dynamic a player.”
Boykin believes he is more prepared than ever, because having the two new coordinators this spring allowed him to put more work into quarterbacking than at any other time in his career.
“It’s probably made me one of the best players I’ve felt and been since I’ve been playing this sport,” he said. “Me and Coach Cumbie are focusing on me being the best quarterback I can be to help this team and help this offense.”
Joeckel said he won’t try to do anything more than what the position requires.
“I just want to operate. I want to be successful and do my job,” he said. “I know what kind of quarterback I am. I want to distribute the ball to the right guys. I want to be the best Matt Joeckel I can be to be the best quarterback I can be for this team.”
He’s not the only one.
But there will be only one.
Boykin vs. Joeckel
Trevone Boykin and Matt Joeckel are the front-runners for the quarterback position at TCU. Neither has played a full season as the starter, Boykin at TCU or Joeckel at Texas A&M. The rundown of their stats: