Coach Gary Patterson knows at least two things about his 2016 TCU bunch after Friday’s spring game at Amon G. Carter Stadium, even after he said he spent 40 minutes of the 60-minute live scrimmage glad-handing with fans.
He knows he’s got team speed, and he knows he needs young cornerbacks to emerge.
Redshirt freshman Jeff Gladney in particular showed off his quicks on play after play Friday to stay with receivers and break up multiple passes thrown in his direction.
QBs Hill, Sawyer produce few fireworks in TCU spring game
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“We can run on defense, we’ve just got to keep getting bigger,” Patterson said. “Between April and August we’ve got to get bigger as a defense.”
Gladney showed he could be effective in press coverage, especially on several plays against newcomer receiver Taj Williams and Jaelan Austin. Gladney broke up passes to each and kept Williams off his route on a deep ball from quarterback Foster Sawyer late in the hourlong scrimmage.
Williams scored the lone offensive touchdown of the night on a 13-yard slant from Grayson Muehlstein’s second drive behind center.
“Him and Tony [James, opposite starting cornerback] have come a long way, but they’ve got to get in the weight room,” Patterson said. “They’re going to get pushed, so they’ve got to get stronger, but they did some good things.”
Early enrollee and true freshman running back Sewo Olonilua saw the most carries of any rusher in the spring game. Junior Kyle Hicks played only the first series.
Olonilua fumbled once, but the ball bounced right back into his arms on the second play of Muehlstein’s first drive behind center, the third series of the scrimmage. On the next play, Olonilua broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and rumbled 40 yards to set up the touchdown throw to Williams.
He did good against the 3’s, not as good against the 1’s and 2’s, but he’s a freshman.
Gary Patterson, on the play of freshman running back Sewo Olonilua
“He did good against the 3’s, not as good against the 1’s and 2’s, but he’s a freshman,” Patterson said. “That’s why we put them in these situations, to kind of see how they all react.”
Defensive end game
The highlight of the night was from sophomore defensive end Tipa Galeai, during Sawyer’s second series. Just when the offense started to gain some steam under Sawyer, Galeai tipped a pass in the flat that was intended for KaVontae Turpin. Galeai made the interception and went 65 yards to score.
Fellow defensive end Mat Boesen got to the quarterback a couple of times, and James McFarland applied pressure as well, with plays blown dead before contact was made with any quarterback.
Between April and August we’ve got to get bigger as a defense.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, after Friday night’s spring game
At the end of the night, junior transfer quarterback Kenny Hill lodged six series to Sawyer’s five and Muehlstein’s three. But don’t read too much into the snap count.
“Tonight Kenny started because it was his turn to start with the 1’s,” Patterson said. “We’ll go into fall camp with two guys working to be the starting quarterback.
Song in spotlight
Jonathan Song, a sophomore kicker out of Fort Worth All Saints who will get first crack at starting duties, connected on two routine field goals.
Muehlstein’s second drive led to a 33-yarder from near the right hash mark, and Sawyer’s fourth drive netted Song a 29-yarder from the right hash.
Patterson said he would have liked to have seen a stop from his defense one play earlier on that second drive, which would have set up a 47-yarder, but one more Muehlstein first down led to the easier try.
Sophomore Ryan Graf was short on a 47-yard attempt earlier in the game.
On offense, the Frogs were without the services of wide receivers Emanuel Porter, Jarrison Stewart and Ty Slanina, as well as running backs Shaun Nixon and Trevorris Johnson. Johnson’s right foot was in a walking boot during pregame warmups.
On defense, TCU held out safeties Markell Simmons, Kenny Iloka and Arico Evans, corners Julius Lewis and Cyd Calvin and linebacker Ty Summers with injuries.