TCU coach Gary Patterson needs to get through five practices before giving a true progress report on his team.
But, after two days of fall camp, Patterson has liked what he’s seen for the most part.
“Really they’ve done about all we can ask,” Patterson said following Day 2 on Saturday.
The Frogs put on the pads for the first time today. That’s when the real evaluation will get underway.
But Saturday’s practice was open to regular reporters who cover the team, and here’s what we learned --
▪ The quarterback competition is alive and well. Saturday had a mixed bag of results with defensive backs intercepting at least three passes during the one-on-one portion.
“You’ve got to quit throwing them to us (the defense),” Patterson said. “They’ve got to throw them open. They can’t wait until they’re open. That’s not the way great ones do it. So we’ve got to throw them open.”
K-State grad transfer Alex Delton received the first reps and is the favorite, but he struggled at times with the deep ball.
Junior Mike Collins had the most consistent day, but also saw a pass intercepted by strong safety Innis Gaines during the one-on-one portion.
True freshman Max Duggan stood out the most during team drills, including a beautiful deep ball to sophomore receiver Derius Davis.
Redshirt freshman Justin Rogers didn’t flash much in his limited reps. Earlier this week, Patterson said Rogers is “closer than ever” to being fully healthy, but Rogers still isn’t 100 percent.
It’s fair to wonder if Rogers’ reps could dwindle as TCU won’t want to push him as the opening-day starter if he’s not 100 percent.
▪ As stated, the defensive backs shined, particularly during the individual portion of practice.
Gaines jumped the route to intercept the pass by Collins, and Patterson likes how Gaines is returning from a season-ending injury.
But, as Patterson noted, Gaines plays a demanding position in the defense. For instance, Patterson looked ahead to the Purdue game where Gaines will likely be matched up against All-America receiver Rondale Moore.
Outside of Gaines, sophomore safety Trevon Moehrig also came down with an interception during the individual portion.
Patterson likes the speed the secondary has shown early on, but noted they have to get through fall camp healthy. Starting cornerbacks Julius Lewis and Jeff Gladney each went out at different points Saturday for precautionary reasons.
▪ How good is TCU wide reciever Jalen Reagor? Patterson is having the cornerbacks flip every day so each of them gets work against Reagor.
Said Patterson: “Everybody gets Reagor work.”
▪ Senior running back Darius Anderson had a nice run up the middle during the team portion, throwing up the “deuces” as he broke away. It’s the same celebration Reagor does, as well as Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill.
The Frogs’ running game should be in good shape with an offensive line that features two tackles (Lucas Niang and Anthony McKinney) that have potential to play on Sundays.
▪ Speaking of the running game, true freshman Darwin Barlow out of Newton has made a favorable first impression.
“He ran a cut [Friday] that was unbelievable,” Patterson said. “Up to this point, he’s still a lost puppy when it comes to where he needs to be and where to go and all those kind of things.
“But when we put the ball in his hands, he’s pretty good at what he does. He looks the part, let me just say that to you.”
▪ Patterson raved about senior linebacker Montrel Wilson following Saturday’s practice.
Wilson, a Keller Fossil Ridge product, has battled injuries throughout his college career, but opted to return for his senior season. He has the chance to be a valuable piece to the defense, but will likely start the season being limited to 15-20 reps as a way to try and preserve him.
“The thing I’ve been most impressed about is he’s just been a great leader,” Patterson said. “He’s a great story. He came real close to quitting, being done because of all the injuries he’s had, but now here he is. He made it through Day 2.”