TCU football begins its 15-practice spring workouts on Friday. The Horned Frogs will practice four times before taking a week off for spring break March 12-16. The spring session is scheduled to conclude April 7 with the spring game.
Position battles are always a big part of spring camp, but this year TCU is replacing 11 starters. Integral starting roles are up for grabs on both sides of the ball. This is the time for those heralded recruits to live up to their ratings and for the dark horses on the roster to rise up and surprise the coaching staff.
TCU position battles to watch this spring:
The key to TCU's 4-2-5 defense being effective is the secondary being up to speed. The departures of weak safety Nick Orr and cornerback Ranthony Texada leave two big holes. Junior Tony James is likely the leading candidate to take over for Texada. Sophomore Vernon Scott will battle junior Julius Lewis and Noah Daniels for one of the three safety spots. Lewis is still listed as a cornerback on the roster but specific positions are fluid, especially in the spring. Keenan Reed, a sophomore who transferred from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, could also be in the mix for a starting spot.
2. Running back
Junior Darius Anderson rushed for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017 and enters camp as the primary back. Sewo Olonilua can hold his own and will see plenty of action after rushing for 333 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. Kenedy Snell impressed as a freshman and provides depth in the backfield while also working as a receiver.
True freshman receiver Taye Barber, who is one of four early enrollees who will take part in spring practice, could help keep Snell in the running back rotation with a strong showing.
3. Defensive end
Tackle L.J. Collier could be tasked with replacing Mat Boesen at defense end. He'll be pushed by Dennis Collins and Michael Epply. Brandon Bowen, who transferred from Baylor, could prove to be a major factor in August. A shoulder injury may limit him this spring but he was one of the top-rated defensive ends in the country coming out of Byron Nelson High School in 2016.
Alex Bush will step into the big shoes left by Travin Howard, who led the Frogs in tackles the past three seasons as the strong side linebacker. Arico Evans could slide over from the middle linebacker slot and also see time at the strong side. Alec Dunham and Montrel Wilson will also challenge for playing time.
5. Offensive line
The most wide open area on the team is the offensive line. Four starters need to be replaced. Replacing left tackle Joseph Noteboom is the biggest concern. It will likely come down to Lucas Niang and Anthony McKinney, an early enrolled signee from Iowa Western Community College. Complicating matters is the loss of Sam Awolope, who left the program for undisclosed reasons.