Out of close competition, TCU may have found itself a new kicker

TCU’s Ryan Graf goes for a kick in a Sept. 23, 2016, game at SMU. He made two field goals and two extra points in the game.
TCU’s Ryan Graf goes for a kick in a Sept. 23, 2016, game at SMU. He made two field goals and two extra points in the game.

If there were a game tomorrow, Brandon Ritchie would probably be doing the kicking for TCU, coach Gary Patterson told reporters Monday.

The sophomore from Colleyville has been a touch sharper on field goals than Jonathan Song in the fall practices.

“We were 11 of 12 on Saturday, Song was the only guy that missed,” Patterson said. “I think Brandon outkicked him again today. Song was the starter up to the last three days, and now Brandon will probably be the starter tomorrow.”

Faulty field goal kicking played a part in three losses for TCU last season, which Song missed because of a quadriceps injury. In his place, Ryan Graf and Brandon Hatfield were 19-for-25.

Song and Ritchie have been the top two competitors in camp. Ritchie has shown a bigger leg, but Patterson said he was not up to speed in conditioning early in camp because he didn’t kick as much during the spring and summer, when his eligibility had yet to be certified. He was cleared last week.

Patterson said both kickers are hitting from 40-plus yards. Last week, both lined up for a 52-yard try and missed, but Richie’s ball was only a little bit right and “could have been a 60.”

Last week, Patterson said kickoff specialist Cole Bunce also had been kicking well.

Patterson credited some of the kicking improvement to new long snapper Lucas Gravelle, a graduate transfer from Washington State who gets the ball to the holder quicker and more accurately.

Practice notes

Cornerback Ranthony Texada suffered a hamstring injury Monday, joining a list of injured players that includes defensive end Ben Banogu, linebacker-turned-defensive-end Ty Summers, linebacker Montrel Wilson, safety LaKendrick Van Zandt, running back Sewo Olonilua and cornerbacks Noah Daniels and Tony James.

Patterson said none, as of Monday, were in danger of missing the season opener, Sept. 2 against Jackson State. Defensive end Brandon Bowen is out for the season from an injury suffered before fall camp.

Needing more help at defensive end, the Frogs looked at L.J. Collier at the position Monday. Patterson said freshman Dennis Collins played with the first unit since Banogu and Summers sat and Isaiah Chambers was missing after deciding to transfer.

Chambers, a redshirt end from Houston, posted on his Twitter account that he is returning home to be care for his aunt, who raised him, because she is ill.

Patterson reacted to the death of former Arkansas coach and athletic director Frank Boyles. “He’s one of those guys, when you think football, you think Bear Bryant, Frank Broyles. Those are the kind of names that come up,” Patterson said. He added that his former defensive coordinator, Dick Bumpas, was particularly close to Broyles, having played for him in Fayetteville.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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