TCU will play in the Alamo Bowl without its two best players, but running back Aaron Green took solace in knowing it has been done before.
The Horned Frogs were without quarterback Trevone Boykin and receiver Josh Doctson in a 30-29 loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 21.
“We went up to Norman without Josh, without Tre. We should have won that game,” Green said. “We’ve played without him before. We came here for one reason, and that’s to win.”
Saturday, they will play without them again after an arrest Thursday that led to the suspension of Boykin. Already, the Horned Frogs knew they were playing without Doctson, ruled out last week because of a wrist injury.
Boykin was arrested on charges of assaulting a public servant, public intoxication and avoiding arrest. TCU coach Gary Patterson announced a suspension of the quarterback and receiver Preston Miller.
Co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham said the Frogs are leaning toward using senior Bram Kohlhausen at quarterback.
Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie said the game plan will not change for Kohlhausen, who was in a similar offense as a freshman at Houston before going to junior college for one year and then coming to TCU in 2014.
“Bram has been in this offense a long time,” Cumbie said. “One of the things about playing in this offense, especially at quarterback, is repetitions. He’s had tons of reps. He gets the ball out of his hands quickly. He does a good job with our fast screens on the perimeter. He’s a kid that’s really confident. He’s confident in his abilities.”
Kohlhausen took over for Boykin in the Nov. 14 game against Kansas in which Boykin was hurt on the second snap. Kohlhausen played until the third quarter, when he was lifted one series after an interception in favor of freshman Foster Sawyer, who then started the next week at Oklahoma.
Sawyer was intercepted three times against the Sooners, and Kohlhausen took over and led a second-half rally that brought TCU within 30-29 with less than a minute to play. The Frogs tried a two-point play to win the game, but Kohlhausen’s pass was blocked at the side of the end zone as he scrambled to find an open receiver.
Receiver Kolby Listenbee said it’s up to him to make the quarterbacks confident.
“Really, our job title as receiver is to catch the ball, make the plays, make the blocks, everything that we’re supposed to,” he said. “They both can play football pretty good. Foster can throw the hard ball. Bram can make great decisions. The receiver’s job is to make them confident in us, catch the balls you need to catch and make the plays if you need to.”
Listenbee said he did not feel let down that Boykin would not be the one to throw him passes in his final game.
“It would be cool to have him there because I’ve been playing with him the last four years,” he said. “But the two other quarterbacks, I’ve been practicing with the last couple years. I’m used to them, too. I just have to go out there and catch the ball that’s thrown to me.”
Green said adversity is nothing new to the team in 2015.
“I feel like we always play our best games when our backs are against the wall,” he said. “Me personally, I love when people count us out, when they count me out personally. I feel like that’s when I play my best ball. Go ahead, count me out.”
The Frogs, No. 11 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, had 25 players miss a game, part of a game or the season because of injury, discipline or personal choice this season. Yet they finished 10-2 and third in the Big 12 to land in the Alamo Bowl.
Green said the team does not feel that it has been relieved of pressure to win Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say ‘nothing to lose,’ ” he said. “Got big playmakers here on this stage. I think we still have enough of what it takes. I know we have enough of what it takes to beat these guys. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”
No. 11 TCU vs. No. 15 Oregon
5:45 p.m. Saturday, ESPN