When Kenny Hill threw three interceptions last week at Kansas, coach Gary Patterson never considered a change at quarterback.
“No. Nope,” he said after the game.
Patterson told reporters after practice Tuesday that two of the interceptions resulted from improper routes.
“One of them, there was a safety who was deep and the receiver was supposed to sit down (stop his route),” Patterson said. “Kenny threw it like he was going to sit down. The guy picked it because he didn’t.”
On another interception, Patterson said the receiver didn’t finish his slant pattern. “He stops on the slant,” he said.
Hill leads Big 12 quarterbacks with eight interceptions. Only eight teams have thrown more interceptions this season, and only four of the nation’s top 50 passers have nine or more.
“Some are on the quarterback, some are both,” Patterson said. “That just comes with playing. Fortunately for us, we found a way to get to 4-2.”
Hill, a junior in his first year as the starter at TCU, ranks third in the country in passing yards (2,142) and fourth in total offense per game (391.3). The Horned Frogs are eighth in the country in total offense.
So the ball is moving with Hill despite the turnovers. He led a touchdown drive and a field goal drive in the fourth quarter for the 24-23 victory at Kansas, drawing praise from teammate Kyle Hicks for his poise.
“I don’t think he dwells. I don’t think you can dwell,” Patterson said of Hill’s demeanor. “But you’ve got to be smart about all that stuff, too.”
Hill has been intercepted in 10 of his last 11 starts. In that time, which includes his last five starts at Texas A&M, he has an interception rate of 3.5 per 100 attempts. At TCU, his interception rate is 3.1. Only Casey Pachall in 2013 has had a rate over 3.0 at TCU since 2003.
The Air Raid offense means more risk of interceptions, of course. Trevone Boykin had 10 in each of his two seasons as the full-time starter in the offense, with interception rates of 2.5 last season and 2.0 in 2014, when he was fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.
“This offense, it’s the nature of it,” Patterson said Saturday after the Kansas game. “You’re not going to win very many ballgames if you do (throw interceptions), but that has a little bit more to do with us, how we call it and what we do.”
With a bye week, the Frogs hope to sharpen Hill’s connection with his receivers. Patterson said none of the outside receivers graded well against Kansas. The third interception happened when the ball popped in the air after Emanuel Porter failed to secure a low throw.
So Patterson is not blaming Hill entirely, but he also said he has more confidence in backup Foster Sawyer now than a year ago. He said Sawyer operated well in finishing out two victories.
“I’d probably feel better right now about playing a backup, with Foster coming in, than I did a year ago with Bram or Foster,” Patterson said. “Because I think Foster’s come a long way. Because when he’s gone in, he’s run the offense. He did a great job against Iowa State and SMU.”
TCU at West Virginia
2:30 p.m. Oct. 22