TCU has “a great chance” of getting starting defensive tackle Davion Pierson back from injury this week against SMU, coach Gary Patterson said.
That gives the Horned Frogs a chance to get their most experience player some game action before the start of the Big 12 schedule on Sept. 26 at Texas Tech.
“That’ll be a big help,” Patterson said of Pierson’s potential return, speaking during the weekly Big 12 coaches conference call with reporters.
Pierson, a senior from Oklahoma City, has the most starts on the team with 31 and has played in 37 games at TCU. But he missed the first two games this season with an undisclosed injury; Patterson said in August that Pierson “tweaked” something he was working his way back from in the spring.
The competition level was different. But what we were asking them to do, how they reacted, how they did things, was better.
TCU coach Gary Patterson on LBs Montrel Wilson, Travin Howard
Pierson had 3.5 sacks last year among 30 tackles, but his combination of size at 6-foot-2, 305 pounds and three years’ experience is what Patterson misses. He said two weeks ago the Frogs could have used both as they tried to adjust to new looks from the Minnesota running game.
The Frogs will take it slow with Pierson, however.
“He’s gone through the processes and looks better,” Patterson said. “Even if he does play, I don’t know if we’ll start him just because of the context of the game. We can ease him back in. It’s a long season.”
Patterson said replacements Montrel Wilson and Travin Howard played better at linebacker Saturday than Mike Freeze and Ty Summers in Week 1.
“The competition level was different. But what we were asking them to do, how they reacted, how they did things was better,” Patterson said. “I thought it was a positive.”
Wilson, a freshman from Keller, and Howard, a sophomore from Longview, shared the team lead in tackles with nine. They are both converted safeties and in line to start this week against SMU.
“Every week has to be a learning experience,” Patterson said. “We can’t just be getting ready for the team we’re playing. We also have to keep preparing for the season – the things we do on Sunday, the game-planning we do, things we’re going to see down the road.”
Patterson said he did not know if defensive end Mike Tuaua will play this week. Tuaua did not play last week against Stephen F. Austin and was not even on the sideline. Patterson did not say why Tuaua missed the game.
Patterson praised the play of defensive end Bryson Henderson. “A guy that I thought stepped up,” he said.
Defensive end James McFarland is scheduled to have toe surgery this week, Patterson said last week.
60Touchdown passes at TCU for Trevone Boykin after he threw four on Saturday. He trails only Andy Dalton’s 71 on the TCU list.
Patterson said the Horned Frogs will miss Kenny Iloka’s size, plus his contributions on special teams.
“We’ve got some freshmen that have those kind of bodies that are going to have to play,” Patterson said. “We plugged in last week on special teams. They were on kickoff. We’ve got to keep giving them reps until they become more comfortable.”
Iloka suffered a knee injury on kickoff coverage in the first quarter.
“Only time will tell,” Patterson said of the TCU depth. “We’ve got some young guys that, how fast can we grow them up? All those kinds of things have been done before. You deal with it. But they handled it last week.”
Patterson said SMU quarterback Matt Davis presents the same kind of threats as his own quarterback.
“Great athlete. It’s like playing Trevone Boykin – he can run all over the place,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to worry about him scrambling. The hardest thing is o get on him when he goes back to pass. That’s where he’s hurt a lot of people. Big sprintout, then took off and ran last week for about a 50- or 60-yard touchdown. He creates problems.”
The 70 points by TCU Saturday was the second-most in team history, behind the 82 scored against Texas Tech last year.
Davis has completed 33 of 47 passes (70.2 percent) for 337 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions and has run for 240 yards and two touchdowns in the Mustangs’ first two games, against Baylor and North Texas.
▪ Kickoff for the Horned Frogs’ game at Texas Tech on Sept. 26 was set for 3:30 p.m., with the game televised by KDFW/Ch. 4.
▪ Receiver Desmon White did not play against Stephen F. Austin. Patterson did not address his absence.
▪ The 70 points was the second-most in team history, behind the 82 scored against Texas Tech last year.
▪ TCU has the nation’s longest active streak with a takeaway in 27 consecutive games.
No. 3 TCU vs. SMU
7 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports Net
Amon G. Carter Stadium