Gary Patterson is as eager as TCU fans to see how this player performs against Southern

The Shawn Robinson era as TCU’s starting quarterback officially begins on Saturday at 11 a.m.

TCU coach Gary Patterson has anointed him as the starting quarterback, and heaped more praise on him during the Big 12 football coaches teleconference on Monday.

Patterson reiterated that Robinson has special “escapability” to evade pressure and extend plays.

“You got a 220 pound guy who can really run, throws it,” Patterson said. “A year ago he wasn’t as good in the touch-pass category, but has really gotten better at all the throws.

“Shawn is really starting to step up, own the offense, understand what’s going on. He lost 10-12 pounds, which has made him even faster and probably more durable, better shape than he was maybe at the end of the school year last season.

“He’s done everything up to this point we’ve asked him.”

But Patterson reminded reporters that he doesn’t judge quarterbacks until Saturdays, and is as eager as fans to see how Robinson handles the pressure in a game situation.

Robinson fared OK in his lone start last season, leading TCU to a road win at Texas Tech. And Robinson has been the odds-on favorite to be the starting quarterback throughout the offseason.

He beat out Michael Collins for the starting nod in fall camp, although Patterson feels strongly about the QB depth. He said Collins will play in Saturday’s season-opener against Southern, “possibly earlier than later just because I think it takes you two quarterbacks to get through a season if you want to be successful.”

Among other highlights from Patterson on the teleconference:

* Patterson described his team as “banged up” at the end of fall camp on Aug. 18, but progress has been made.

“We’ve got a lot more people back,” Patterson said. “I feel a lot better now.”

* Patterson made it clear that his players are ready to get into game action, but isn’t overlooking Southern.

“Our kids our excited, tired of hitting each other,” Patterson said. “We’re playing a Southern team I think that does a lot of good things. They do a nice job coaching. They do a lot of things that cause you problems. We’ve taken them very seriously.”

* Patterson described his mindset going into a season.

“First you’ve got to find a way to win six ballgames, so you get bowl eligible,” Patterson said. “Then do you have a special team or are you OK? The first thing is how do you get to six. Right now, we’re trying to build enough as a football team that we can get to six wins, get to a bowl, then maybe play for a conference championship, maybe play for the playoffs, or play for all of it.

“But right now it’s got to be about us and right now the first opponent is Southern.”

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