It’s time to shake loose KaVontae Turpin on punt returns.
That’s the assessment of TCU coach Gary Patterson.
“We’ve got to do a better job with our punt return group to get him more chances,” he said Tuesday at his midweek press conference. “We haven’t been able to get him released yet. So we’ve got to find a way to do that.”
This year, he is averaging 7.2 yards on four returns, with a long of 17. TCU opponents have punted 26 times.
“He’s too much of a weapon not to be getting more chances,” Patterson said.
As a kickoff returner, Turpin is making a bigger impact. He had a 42-yard return at Oklahoma State to set up the Frogs’ game-sealing touchdown. His 41-yard return last week against West Virginia put his average at 30.0 for the season, ranking third in the Big 12 and 15th in the country.
As a receiver, Turpin is tied for the team lead with 16 catches, but his 8.7 average ranks only ninth on the team.
His longest catch has been for 27 yards. His longest run of four carries has been for 39 yards, a touchdown in Week 1 against Jackson State.
Turpin recovered from the knee injury in time to play the last five games of 2016. But his offseason was rocky. Patterson banished him from the start of spring practice because of academic and other issues, but he was soon back in good standing.
The Frogs — who visit Kansas State on Saturday — do a lot to get Turpin the ball, and not necessarily to run it. Last week, he threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Kenny Hill. He also threw a pass as a freshman.
“That’s one of the things the coaching staff tries to come up with — how do we get this guy the ball,” Hill said. “I know for me, personally, and for everybody on our team, any time he touches the ball, we think he’s going to score. He’s just that electric. Any time he can get the ball, that’s a good thing.”