TCU linebacker jobs remain ‘wide-open deal,’ but some pieces falling into place

TCU junior linebacker Sammy Douglas, making a stop last season against SMU, is a frontrunner for a starting spot this year.
TCU junior linebacker Sammy Douglas, making a stop last season against SMU, is a frontrunner for a starting spot this year. Star-Telegram

The linebacker spots remain wide open for TCU, but progress is being made there and at other positions, coach Gary Patterson said Wednesday.

Freshman Mike Freeze and junior Sammy Douglas are getting first-team snaps, but Patterson is still looking at Montrel Wilson, Ty Summers and Alec Dunham. Wilson was back at practice after missing one week with an undisclosed injury.

“Really, it’s a wide-open deal,” Patterson said. “There’s four or five guys. Every day’s been a new experience as far as somebody having a better day.”

Two weeks remain for the Horned Frogs to sort it out, although it would not be surprising to see more than two linebackers play when the season begins Sept. 3 at Minnesota.

“That’s normal for us — eight defensive linemen, always three or four linebackers,” Patterson said.

It remains a learning atmosphere for the linebackers, who are receiving information about both Minnesota and Texas Tech, the Frogs’ opponent in the conference opener.

“Depends on the day if they’ve made some progress,” Patterson said. “Biggest thing is linebackers have to make plays on their own. Offenses now put you in space; you’ve got to go make plays. Our whole thing is you’ve got to go make plays.”

Defensive chemistry

Patterson said the defense had a strong scrimmage Monday, with multiple interceptions and good performances in several areas.

“Defense won about the whole day — red zone, goal line,” Patterson said. “Not a good day for the offense. Defensively, we played really well, or they didn’t. We picked them three or four times.”

Patterson said he’s still trying to find a second or third cornerback, with Torrance Mosley still slowed by injury, but that the safeties have been playing well.

“We’ve really done a pretty good job of covering them,” he said.

Patterson said Nick Orr continues to play some corner and safety, and that freshman Julius Lewis has been playing with the second unit since recovering from an injured ankle earlier in camp.

“The biggest thing is just a little bit more chemistry, playing better,” he said. “We’re starting to get our legs back a little bit, and that’s how we’re going to be able to play defense. We’re going to be fast; we got to be able to run.”

Gray, Doctson ‘closer’

Patterson said receivers Deante’ Gray and Josh Doctson are “starting to get closer” as they recover from injuries.

Gray had knee surgery in the spring and had not practiced as of last week. Doctson, who had a broken hand in the spring, was being limited at practice last week.

“We’re working with all those kind of things,” Patterson said. “Got to get all your weapons back.”

QB competition

Patterson said senior Bram Kohlhausen has pushed ahead of redshirt freshman Foster Sawyer for the backup quarterback job, though it’s still close.

“I’d probably tell you it’s still a competition,” he said. “But probably Bram’s leading right now a little bit.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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