Slot receiver Deante’ Gray sat out practice Saturday as he continues to recover from knee surgery, but it may be until the end of August before he is back, TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
“That’s a big loss if he doesn’t make it back,” Patterson said Saturday after the Horned Frogs’ fourth day of fall camp. “We’re hoping by the end of the month.”
That wouldn’t give Gray much time to practice, and he’d have to prepare on a short week. The Horned Frogs open the season with a Thursday night game, Sept. 3 at Minnesota on ESPN.
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Gray suffered a noncontact knee injury in spring training, Patterson said. Four weeks after the injury, Patterson said Gray’s recovery was going “fantastic.”
He was more neutral in his update Saturday.
“I don’t know. You know how these things go,” he said. “It could be not for the whole season. Could be he plays the first game. I don’t know what it’s going to be.”
Gray caught eight touchdown passes last season, second most on the team, and averaged 16.2 yards per catch. The senior from Houston is listed as the first-team H-receiver, backed up by sophomore Desmon White.
In addition, starting cornerback Torrance Mosley sat out Saturday’s practice, Patterson said. He is recovering from a groin injury suffered in July.
“We had probably three or four guys with certain things,” Patterson said. “We’re down a little bit corner-wise. Got a couple guys banged up.”
Patterson came off the field thoroughly displeased with the defense in Saturday’s practice because it didn’t handle its assignments or the heat.
“The offense can move it around. The defense can’t line up right now,” he said. “Yesterday was an unbelievable practice. Today was bad. We came outside late, didn’t handle the heat very well.”
Patterson said the defense gave up “about four vertical-go’s for touchdowns” and “didn’t line up as linebackers,” adding in a half-joking tone that outside of that, “I’d say it was a pretty good day.”
Asked about the intelligence he said the freshman linebackers had shown in the spring, Patterson said, again with a just a touch of lightness, “That intelligence has lowered since we got in the heat.”
Saturday’s high reached 103. The Horned Frogs began the practice in the indoor facility, then moved outside.
But Patterson made it clear he was serious about his displeasure.
“What I didn’t like is they didn’t come mentally when they came outside,” he said. “To be honest with you, they didn’t come when we went inside.”
Patterson told reporters that Minnesota won’t release a depth chart until Sept. 1, two days before the season opener.
“That tells you how badly they want to win this ballgame,” Patterson said.
So neither will he.
“It’s going to be really hard for me to say very much about people, who’s starting, who’s not, because that’s how they’re handling things,” Patterson said.
Patterson and Minnesota coach Jerry Kill are good friends. This series was scheduled on relatively late notice in part because their close relationship allowed that flexibility. Patterson called Kill “a good man, as good as there is.”
But he’s not interested in giving him any scrap of information.
“You don’t want to hurt your players,” Patterson said. “That’s what people don’t understand sometimes. These guys come out and do this for 30 days, and if somebody has a better plan than they have and they know what’s going on more, then they have the advantage. And they already have the advantage because we’re going to their house. They have the advantage because we’re higher-ranked and they want something to prove. You can go down the list of things that sit on their side.”
Which, for Patterson, highlighted the urgency of every practice.
“I’m just trying to prepare these guys to understand what they’re going into,” he said. “Today will not get that done. Does it mean they won’t practice better tomorrow? No. But today, that wasn’t the standard.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760