TCU football has a quarterback in Shawn Robinson who is expected to take the reins of the offense and excel in 2018.
Robinson has all the tools, like size, arm and running ability, to have success in the Big 12.
But a quarterback's success is directly related to his team's offensive line. And the offensive line is the big mystery for the Horned Frogs this spring after losing four mainstays to graduation.
"We’ve got some work to do," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We just have to keep getting better."
The Frogs have to replace left tackle Joseph Noteboom, center Patrick Norris, guard Austin Schlottmann and right tackle Matt Pryor, plus backup guard Garrett Altman. Tight end Cole Hunt and Charlie Reid are also gone.
For a sophomore quarterback, which Robinson will be in the fall, there are a lot of question marks up front.
"He’s deep in alligators," Patterson said, using an edited version of a favorite saying. "Usually your confidence goes with the experience of your offensive line and right now they’re a work in progress."
Patterson said three lineman are taking reps at left tackle to replace Noteboom, who is one of several TCU lineman likely to go in the NFL Draft.
In the past, the Frogs have had success rotating their right tackle to the left side. Patterson said that could be an option with Lucas Niang. Anthony McKinney, who transferred from Iowa Western Community College, is one of the three working on the left side.
Quarterback Michael Collins, who transferred from Penn last summer, could be a backup option, along with senior-to-be Grayson Muehlstein.
Justin Rogers, the highest-rated quarterback in Patterson's tenure who enrolled in January, is still taking it slow this spring while recovering from knee ligament surgery after a season-ending injury in his high school opener last fall.
"He’s only in his fifth day [with the] TCU Horned Frogs, so he’s deep in alligators," Patterson said after the Frogs' fifth spring practice.
Patterson typically prefers to hold off before declaring anything definitive about his quarterbacks, especially during a transition from an established starter (Kenny Hill) to a new era.
"You know me, I only judge quarterbacks in scrimmages and games," he said. "For a new guy, it’s a lot of work. That’s why we push the issue all the time."