Linebacker Ty Summers made the second-most tackles on the TCU defense last year. Now coach Gary Patterson wonders what he can do at defensive end, where the Horned Frogs can use some help.
Summers, a junior from San Antonio, recorded seven sacks in two practices at defensive end this week, Patterson said.
“Right now, he’s pushing for a starting spot at defensive end,” Patterson told reporters after practice Tuesday.
The Horned Frogs have linebackers to spare, apparently. Patterson said Alex Bush has also gotten work at defensive end, leaving junior Arico Evans to work with the first team alongside Travin Howard, the Big 12’s leading tackler a year ago. Junior Alec Dunham and senior Sammy Douglas are also getting more snaps at linebacker, and junior Montrel Wilson will work his way into the rotation soon, Patterson said.
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“We’ve got a lot of depth there,” Patterson said. “They’ve played well there. When we get Montrel back, it’s going to make us even better.”
Summers had 121 tackles last year in 10 starts, following up on a freshman season in which he recorded 86, including a Patterson-era school-record 23 against Baylor, a double-overtime victory sealed by his tackle on fourth down.
In the spring, Patterson mentioned a plan to look at Summers at defensive end because of his speed off the edge. It has long intrigued the coach.
“We saw him when he was a redshirt freshman, when he was down on the scout team, rushing the passer,” Patterson said. “We saw him then. It’s not something uncommon. We bring our linebackers off the edge quite a bit. So it’s not like they’re not used to doing something like that.”
But Summers’ work must have stood out this week.
“I think he had four sacks yesterday, most on effort,” Patterson said. “Now, he ran with the 2s, so I don’t know what that means. But he had four sacks yesterday, and I think he had three today.”
Patterson called Saturday’s scrimmage “average” and said the team was tired after also practicing for an hour beforehand. “We still got in over 100 plays, but we were tired,” he said.
The Frogs held out running back Kyle Hicks from the scrimmage, opting to limit contact where they can for their leading returning rusher and pass-catcher.
Patterson said questions remain at defensive end and strong safety, but otherwise the defense is progressing. “Everybody else, the 1s, it’s good,” he said.
Patterson complimented the work of long snapper Lucas Gravelle, a graduate transfer from Washington State who has brought an eagerness and maturity to special teams. “Unbelievable snapper, wants to be able to kick off, covers every punt,” Patterson said. “He’s made everybody else learn how to be a professional specialist.”