TCU football’s top 5 players in 2019
Kansas State graduate transfer Alex Delton got the start, and true freshman Max Duggan came in relief. Each quarterback had their moments, and coach Gary Patterson assessed the QB play as “good” after watching the film.
“We didn’t turn the ball over. No interceptions,” Patterson said on the Big 12 football coaches teleconference on Monday.
“Really, I was glad. Two new quarterbacks who never played here. One’s a freshman, one’s a transfer, and first ballgame we found a way to win. Both of them did a good job of commanding the huddle and getting ready to go.”
But Patterson acknowledged that TCU “left a lot of offense on the field” and reiterated the struggles in the red zone. TCU settled for five field goals in seven trips to the red zone.
Part of it happened because TCU ran a fairly vanilla offense all night. The Frogs didn’t want to show too much with a matchup at Purdue looming on Sept. 14, but more points should’ve been scored.
“We’ve got to play better in the red zone,” Patterson said. “A little bit is on the coaches. We have to do a better job of what we want to be in. We didn’t want to show a lot of what our offense is before going into the [Purdue] week.
“We had run/pass stuff and we checked to passes when we probably should’ve stayed with the runs. You’ve got to be able to pound the ball. You’ve got to be able to run it down there and you’ve got to be able to get it in the end zone.”
TCU scored three TDs on the night, all with Duggan under center. He led an 11-play, 58-yard scoring drive on his first series, scoring on a 1-yard QB sneak.
Duggan later connected with Jalen Reagor for a 37-yard TD pass, and was the QB when Darwin Barlow scored on an 8-yard run late in the game.
Duggan finished 16-of-23 passing for 165 yards.
Delton, meanwhile, went 10-of-22 passing for 119 yards. But Delton’s numbers are somewhat misleading because several receivers dropped catchable passes, including a surefire TD to Derius Davis.
Patterson had a pointed critique of the receiving corps.
“We’ve got to catch the ball; that’s the bottom line to it is we had drops,” Patterson said. “Everybody wants to put it back on the quarterbacks. We checked into a vertical route inside the red zone to Derius Davis and it was a great check against man coverage and we didn’t catch it. We had some dropped on the outside. We’ve got to play a lot better at that position.
“If you want to throw the football, you need to catch it or you need to run the football because it just turns into second- or third-and-long. These guys need to understand they want the opportunities you need to be able to catch the football.”
Ohio State transfer quarterback Matthew Baldwin was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA last week, but Baldwin is not in the QB mix yet.
Patterson said Baldwin is still getting healthy after undergoing a cleanup surgery on his knee this summer. There is no timetable on when Baldwin may be fully cleared. For now, he’s been running the scout team.
“He can’t run yet,” Patterson said. “Right now, he’s just getting healthy.”
Baldwin was a four-star prospect coming out of Austin Lake Travis. He didn’t play as a true freshman at Ohio State. Before transferring to TCU, Baldwin went 20 of 36 for 246 yards passing with two TDs and two interceptions in Ohio State’s spring game.
▪ Patterson said he hasn’t talked yet with co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie about whether Cumbie will call games on the field, or be in the coaching booth going forward. Cumbie called a game from the field for the first time on Saturday.
Said Patterson: “Because of the young quarterbacks, being able to see them face-to-face, was the big issue for him wanting to come down.”
▪ Patterson was pleased with how freshman cornerback Kee’Yon Stewart handled his first start, and said Stewart and fellow freshman cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson will get plenty of snaps this season.
▪ Patterson on the opening victory: “The biggest thing we wanted out of this whole ballgame was to be able to win it and also be injury free, especially coming off last year.”