TCU senior wide receiver Deanté Gray will be sidelined for the remainder of spring practice due to a non-contact injury, TCU coach Gary Patterson said Thursday.
Patterson said he believes Gray will be ready for fall two-a-days.
“He got hurt, non-contact,” Patterson said.
Gray finished as TCU’s fourth-leading receiver last season with 36 receptions for 582 yards and eight touchdowns.
Patterson had said before spring practice that they would give Gray some reps at defensive back in the second half of spring practice to add to the possible depth at the position.
Sophomore defensive end Bryson Henderson was also “dinged up” in practice, but should return, Patterson said.
Patterson invited TCU students to watch practice inside the Sam Baugh Indoor Facility and liked the energy the few dozen fans brought to his team.
“This is the first day of pads. It wasn’t bad. I think I need to bring people in to watch every day and then they practice hard,” Patterson said.
TCU has only been able to hold three practices out of the typical four this week because of winter weather that has shut down the school twice.
After players and coaches return from a week of spring break, they will have two more days of installing offense and defense before the real practicing can begin. Typically, Patterson holds one scrimmage before spring break, which was not an option this year.
“Today was the best practice we’ve had,” he said.
Defense, LBs growing
With the graduation of three starting linebackers — Paul Dawson, Jonathan Anderson and Marcus Mallet — Patterson was left with a huge hole to fill in the middle of the defense with a young, inexperienced pool from which to draw.
So far, so good, Patterson said.
On the first day with full pads, they weren’t afraid to hit.
“The one thing I was pleased with was the down-the-middle drill. Sometimes guys shy away from that. They did not shy away from that,” Patterson said.
With Sam Carter and Chris Hackett leaving for the NFL, Patterson has to develop new leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
One person naturally stepping into that role is true freshman Alec Dunham, an early enrollee from Coldspring who is taking part in spring practice.
“It’s really kind of interesting watching out here,” Patterson said. “He doesn’t know where he’s going yet, but he can listen. He follows good directions.”
Senior defensive end Davion Pierson, a captain in every one of TCU’s games last season, and senior safety Derrick Kindred are the two returning veterans who Patterson expects to take on vocal leadership roles.
▪ Patterson said sophomore defensive tackle Chris Bradley has had an excellent opening of camp and is on the first-team defense with Pierson.
▪ Sophomore wide receiver Emanuel Porter has had a consistently good spring so far, Patterson said, but needs to continue to develop as an asset on special teams.
▪ Patterson also liked the work of sophomore safeties Nick Orr and Travin Howard at strong safety. Orr might also play cornerback, Patterson said.