Running back Aaron Green didn’t participate in TCU’s scrimmage Tuesday because he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
But coach Gary Patterson said it was a precautionary move, and it gave the other running backs a chance to play more.
“They’re just protecting him,” Patterson said of the offensive coaches. “For us, it’s all about getting the other three guys what we need. You’ve got to have four that can run the offense.”
Kyle Hicks, Trevorris Johnson and Stacy Boyd saw action in the scrimmage, the third of the spring for the Horned Frogs. Shaun Nixon is still recovering from a knee injury last August, but is expected to be ready for fall camp.
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“Running backs in the spring,” Patterson said and shrugged. “The way they call things, they tell me they know the offense. That’s what I go off of. The biggest thing is for all four of them to be able to run the offense.”
Green, who will be a senior, led the Horned Frogs in rushing last year, finishing with 922 yards, nine touchdowns and a 7.1 yards per carry average.
Defensive bad day
Patterson was not happy with his defense in the scrimmage after it gave up big plays, including a long touchdown catch and run by Ja’Juan Story, who is filling in at Z-receiver for Josh Doctson.
“Good day by the offense, bad day by the defense. Simple as that,” Patterson said.
But for Patterson, it was mitigated by the absences of defensive ends Mike Tuaua, who is sitting out the spring with a shoulder injury, and James McFarland. Patterson did not say why McFarland didn’t participate but said a handful of players are being handled carefully.
“It all comes down to players,” Patterson said. “We had a freshman corner that shouldn’t be playing with a hamstring that let a long pass go because he can’t run.
“It’s all relative. You’re trying to get guys out there so they can run plays and do what they need to do. That’s what you do in spring.”
Boykin last practice
Tuesday was the last practice for starting quarterback Trevone Boykin, who is taking the rest of the spring to get a jump on recovery from a wrist injury.
Patterson said Boykin performed as expected during the spring.
“He knows the offense. That’s all we needed,” Patterson said. “He’s running what we need him to run. He’s checking what he needs to check. He knows what he’s doing.”
The backup competition is between Bram Kohlhausen, Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein, but it won’t be settled in the spring.
“We won’t have a No. 2 guy until fall,” Patterson said.
Defensive end Bryson Henderson won’t practice the rest of the spring so he can recover from an undisclosed injury.
“There’s a bunch of guys — three or four guys who are going to get things cleaned up come Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, that won’t go next week,” Patterson said. “They’ll all be back in the fall.”
Patterson said none of the injuries are major besides the one to receiver Deante’ Gray, who suffered a “non-contact” injury in the first week of practice. He had surgery and was expected to miss four to six months.
“The only guy that’s been a major injury out here has been D-Gray, and his rehab has been fantastic,” Patterson said.
Patterson still has not seen enough from freshman linebackers Mike Freeze and Alec Dunham to consider them ready, but he reminds himself there’s still time.
“We’re a long way from where the seniors were,” Patterson said, remembering where Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet were at this point a year ago. “But they’re freshmen. Got a long way to go.”
It sounds like that goes for the entire defense, although it’s not intact because of injuries.
“Right now we don’t hunt together,” Patterson said. “We’ve got guys who have never played much before, and they don’t trust each other. But we’ve got a long way to go before we get to that point. Felt the same way about the offense a year ago at the end of spring.”
Dry spring game
The TCU spring game, a rarity under Patterson, is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 10 at the stadium and is free and open to the public.
But don’t expect to see much. Boykin won’t play, and the action is likely to be vanilla as Patterson keeps his plans under wraps.
“I’m watching Texas Tech’s spring game. I’ve evaluated them,” he said. “That’s why I don’t have a spring game, and I don’t put it on TV. So they don’t know those kinds of things.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760
2015 TCU schedule
Sept. 3: at Minnesota
Sept. 12: Stephen F. Austin
Sept. 19: SMU
Sept. 26: at Texas Tech*
Oct. 3: Texas*
Oct. 10: at Kansas State*
Oct. 17: at Iowa State*
Oct. 29: West Virginia*
Nov. 7: at Oklahoma State*
Nov. 14: Kansas*
Nov. 21: at Oklahoma*
Nov. 27: Baylor*
Times TBA. *Big 12 Conference game.