TCU hopeful for returns this week by Turpin, Schlottmann

TCU football coach Gary Patterson said the Horned Frogs may regain the services of two key performers for Saturday’s game at No. 12 West Virginia: receiver/kick returner KaVontae Turpin and center Austin Schlottmann.

The availability of both players will be “game time decisions,” Patterson said during Tuesday’s news conference. Turpin (knee), injured during the Iowa State game on Sept. 17, leads the Frogs in all-purpose yards (169.3 per game) and ranks fourth in receptions (16). Schlottman (foot), an all-conference candidate, has been sidelined since the SMU game on Sept. 23.

Last week’s open date, said Patterson, provided extra time for healing for both players, who have been missed in recent weeks. TCU (4-2, 2-1 in Big 12) meets the Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0) in Morgantown, W.V.

“I think offensively, they’ve lost a little swagger because of losing Turpin and you’ve lost your best offensive lineman,” Patterson said, referring to Schlottmann. “So we need to get those guys back.”

TCU might have two other returnees in the mix: offensive lineman Trey Elliott and cornerback Julius Lewis, both of whom have missed the first six games because of injuries once thought to be season-ending.

Patterson said Lewis, a starter last season, has “been working awfully hard” to get back in shape and coaches will consider using him down the stretch in lieu of seeking a medical redshirt season. Elliott, he said, “has already made a difference” in the quality of recent practices.

“The more players you have, there’s no substitute,” Patterson said. “Coaches can do so much but you’ve got to have warriors.”

Patterson also said two reserves have left the team because of personal reasons: linebacker Tyree Horton and defensive end Breylin Mitchell. Horton remains in school. Mitchell is no longer enrolled.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch