Next week’s game against FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin might mean TCU can afford to be patient with the return of injured players like defensive end James McFarland and defensive tackle Davion Pierson.
But coach Gary Patterson was non-committal after Thursday night’s game against Minnesota. He might want them back as soon as possible.
“We’ll see how they play it out,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned – no matter who you play, you can’t take a play off. They come in with emotion; people get hurt. We’ve got to make sure we get better next week.”
Patterson said Friday he doesn’t know yet if linebacker Sammy Douglas, who played only the first two series against Minnesota, will be back after one week or be out multiple weeks. He didn’t say what the injury was.
Patterson also said after the game that safety Derrick Kindred played hurt and that the team wasn’t sure he was going to play. Again, Patterson did not say what the injury was.
So Patterson was looking forward to the long weekend before the week of preparation starts for Stephen F. Austin.
“You got a chance for us to get healthy,” he said. “You’ve got a couple extra days to get healthy, get a little rest before we come back Sunday.”
Patterson said safety Kenny Iloka, one of the six new starters, is a key to the defense and must play better.
“It’s just part of the deal. He hadn’t played at this level,” Patterson said.
Iloka, a junior who transfered from Tyler Junior College two years ago, was credited with six tackles against Minnesota. He didn’t register in any other category.
“I thought our strong and our free played better,” Patterson said. “I thought our corners played well. You count the six starters you lost last year, plus Davion, plus McFarland; so you say you went into this game and played a lot of freshmen and guys that didn’t play before. You have to feel that you’re pretty happy.”
Freshman linebacker Mike Freeze made his first start and got credit for seven tackles, tied for second-most on the team, against Minnesota.
“I thought he did well,” Patterson said.
Asked if Freeze recognized things correctly, Patterson said, “Yeah, he did. As far as I know right now.”
It was the first game action for Freeze, a freshman from Graham, since he played as a high school junior. He missed his senior season because of a shoulder injury.
Veteran defensive end Josh Carraway was impressed.
“Mike was out there battling the whole time, and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” he said. “He was just flyinig around and looked like he was a senior out there.”
Trevone Boykin led the Horned Frogs in rushing against Minnesota, gaining 92 yards and scoring a touchdown.
But he said he’d rather be throwing.
“I would rather throw touchdowns all day, to be honest,” he said. “But some games aren’t going to work like that. Some do. So you have to play it out.”
Boykin was the team’s second-leading rusher last season, finishing with 707 yards and eight touchdowns.
He said he checked into a run for his 19-yard score in the third quarter.
“We got the look we wanted, I took to a play, and we were fortunate enough for it to hit like it did,” he said. “That was one of the big plays that put us up in the game. It was a big momentum swing after that.”