Backup quarterback Shawn Robinson was already on his way to playing more for TCU, looking for an offensive spark, in the final two games of the regular season.
Now it may be even more than the Horned Frogs planned.
Starting quarterback Kenny Hill is among four starters described as “between probable and questionable” by coach Gary Patterson for the 11th-ranked Frogs’ game at Texas Tech on Saturday. The list includes linebackers Travin Howard, the team’s leading tackler, and Montrel Wilson and strong safety Niko Small.
Already, leading rusher Darius Anderson is out for the season, and placekicker Jonathan Song was unable to kick last week against Oklahoma. Center Patrick Morris, who has missed six games, will be available, although only for limited duty.
“We’ve lost guys before,” Patterson said. “Bottom line to it is, we have enough players to go win a ballgame.”
Patterson declined to specify any of the players’ injuries, or if they are injured.
Hill and Howard spoke with reporters after the 38-14 loss at Oklahoma. Typically, TCU does not bring injured players to the interview room.
“Everybody else has been affected by injuries,” Patterson said. “There’s guys that have been saying, ‘I need to be playing more.’ Well, here’s your opportunity, if those guys can’t go.”
Patterson said Hill, Howard, Wilson and Small could all be game-time decisions, however.
“If I thought they were out, I would just tell you they’re out,” Patterson said.
Robinson has played in five games, including last week at Oklahoma, when he entered late in the second quarter for three plays. Patterson said after the game he would like to see Robinson play more, and also throw more when he gets into games.
Tuesday, Patterson said Robinson the plan was already to get Robinson on the field.
“Here’s the thing — in at least three games, the next two games and a bowl game, whether we get a chance to play in the championship game or not, Shawn Robinson is going to be one of the guys we’re going to be looking at to change, to revamp, our offense,” Patterson said. “So sometimes things happen for a reason.”
Since losing Morris against Oklahoma State, TCU has averaged 25.2 points in six games. The Frogs did not get a point out of their offense in a 14-7 loss at Iowa State that ended their undefeated start and were held to 20 points last week at Oklahoma, which was allowing more than 400 yards a game and surrendered 52 points in its previous game.
Hill has thrown only one touchdown pass in the past three games.
“I’m more worried about the defensive guys, to be honest with you,” Patterson said. “You know why? Offensive guys get to punt. If you don’t do well, it’s three plays and then it goes back to the other team. Defense doesn’t get to punt. When they’re running vertical routes and the guy’s standing in his end zone because you don’t cover, then it’s a problem.”
The Frogs will thus be the most short-handed they have been all season when they travel to Lubbock, needing to win there and at home the next week against Baylor to all but secure a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
“Not my first rodeo,” Patterson said. “If it was my first rodeo, then I might be sitting on the top of a building somewhere debating. But it’s not. You know, I’ve found out sometimes guys step up that you never, ever thought they would, because they know it’s their time.”
Of Robinson, Patterson added, “If it does have to be his time, then we’ll see how that works.”
No. 11 TCU at Texas Tech
11 a.m. Saturday, FS1