The day before he became TCU's quarterback for the rest of the season, Trevone Boykin was working at running back during practice.
Of course, he was no stranger to the quarterback position. He began his redshirt freshman season as Casey Pachall's backup and even got to show off his abilities in TCU's season-opening blowout of Grambling State.
But after the season-ending injury to Waymon James and nagging injuries to Matthew Tucker, Boykin was moved to tailback. He had spent two practices at the position when Pachall left the team after being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in the early morning of Oct. 4.
He was swiftly moved back to quarterback with two days to prepare for his first start against Iowa State. The Cyclones took advantage of his inexperience, but Boykin learned from the three-interception outing and helped the Frogs secure a winning record and their eighth consecutive bowl berth. TCU (7-5) plays Michigan State (6-6) at 9:15 p.m. Dec. 29 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
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How did you learn that you would be taking over at quarterback? After the situation that happened, [quarterbacks] coach [Rusty] Burns called me and just told me I was going to be the guy. That's all that it really was. He said we need you to step up and be a leader. I just played my role. That's what they got me here for, so that's what I came to do.
How tough was it being thrown into the starting role like that? The [Iowa State] game was fast, just never playing before... so the game came fast. During practice we practiced fast, played fast. So once that next week came it kind of helped me because we practiced fast, the repetitions and we got it done. We came up with the W versus Baylor.
You have much more of a running game than Casey Pachall. How did your teammates and your offense adjust throughout the season? My team fell behind me. I stepped into a role, that's basically all I did. I tried to do the best I could to step into a role. My teammates, they build me up, my offensive line, they build me up. Blaize Foltz and all the seniors, they were behind me and said this is my team, and I just took it and ran with it. The leaders of the team were behind me 100 percent. They just told me, 'Don't be nervous. Just go out and play. You've been doing this your whole life.'
What can you do better? I have a lot to learn -- footwork, keeping my arm up because balls get knocked down. I've had a lot of bad decisions. My main focus right now is Michigan State.
What was the biggest light-bulb moment you had all season? I would have to say probably the Baylor game. The Iowa State game was really fast for me. Once I slowed it down and got through my reads, and they slowed it down for me it became a lot easier.
Another freshman who had to step up was running back B.J. Catalon. How has he helped you? B.J. is a quick dude. He enrolled in the spring so he knew our offense. Once he had to step up when Waymon got hurt it wasn't a step back for us, but we miss Waymon a lot.
What was your favorite play you had this year? I would have to say the two plays at West Virginia, both of them to JB [Josh Boyce]. The one that was a [94-yard] touchdown pass, I don't remember what it was.
Was that a broken play? My main read was to the field, the offensive line blocked great, I came back to the boundary. I just saw him. I tried to give him the ball. That's my job.
From the Iowa State game to the Oklahoma game do you feel like a different player? I feel like the game has slowed down a lot more than it did against Iowa State. That was one of the main things. Me progressing through the weeks, I feel like it has slowed down a lot.
Was there any pressure on you knowing you were dealt the task to get this team back to a bowl game? No, I basically just played football. No pressure or nothing. That's why my team stayed behind me, and I stayed behind my team. My job was to try to get the seniors to a bowl game and give the seniors the best season they could possibly have."
At what point did you feel you had command of the huddle? Going into practice the Baylor week I felt like they told me, 'We're behind you.' I took it and ran.
How important is it for a quarterback, especially, to have some success to earn some of that respect from your teammates? First, I think it started off the field. We jelled off the field, so I think the more we play, the faster we play. In the Baylor game, it was quick passes. We had one long pass to LaDarius Brown. That was the coaches. They slowed the game down for me. That was it.
First time you got popped in the Big 12, what did it feel like when you had to shake it off? In the Iowa State game one of the D linemen got me, and he just drove me into the ground and the first thing I thought, "Man, now I see what it's really like to stand back here and try to throw the ball."
Do you and the other young guys feel like you proved something to people who didn't think TCU could win in the Big 12? We had played in big games. They were playing in big games before I got here so they knew we could compete. And us being young was basically -- we couldn't be young anymore.
Did you prove anything to yourself personally? Our team proved something as a whole. That we could compete every week and you just can't count us out.
You played as a freshman at West Mesquite. Do you think that's helped you, too? Yeah, I've been playing with older guys my whole life. I was always big, that's why. I was just oversized. My birthday is late, but I've been playing with older guys my whole life. It was no big deal.