TCU is on the verge of finishing spring training without figuring out who the starting linebackers are.
Coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday he demoted Ty Summers and moved freshman Mike Freeze into that spot opposite veteran Sammy Douglas.
The combo of Summers and Douglas has been listed as the starting unit. Freeze and fellow freshman Alec Dunham, both early enrollees, were listed as the backups.
So it could be two new pairings that the Horned Frogs use in their spring game Friday night, the last practice activity of the offseason.
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“Right now we don’t have starters,” Patterson said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys who are 2s.”
Linebacker is one of the most critical areas for the Frogs to prepare for the fall. They lost a pair of seniors, All-America Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet, who combined for 236 tackles.
Patterson said it takes time to learn to play the position, but he said Douglas, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior from Arlington, is making a noticeable push at improvement.
“Sammy Douglas is the guy that is really trying to make an effort to be what we want him to be,” Patterson said. “He’s an unbelievable athlete. He can do all that. It just takes time to play linebacker.”
Patterson said Freeze and Dunham benefited from enrolling early and going through spring practice, but that they’re not there yet.
“They’re farther ahead than they would be if they came in August,” Patterson said. “They’re going to get a chance, after Friday, to clear their mind. I think they both have unbelievable potential to be really good players here. I really do.”
If Freeze stays at first string, Patterson isn’t afraid to go with a freshman. He said Tanner Brock did it for him.
“We’ve had freshmen play before. That’s just part of the deal,” Patterson said. “We find ways to get guys nobody thinks you can get ready to go and get them to go.”
Freshman cornerback DeShawn Raymond, a four-star early enrollee, wasn’t able to make much of his spring because of a hamstring injury.
“I think it’ll take until next August, when he gets fully healed, for him to know what he’s like,” Patterson said.
But all was not lost. Patterson said Raymond gained close to 10 pounds through nutrition and weight training after enrolling early and spending the spring in the offseason program.
“What usually happens is they get stronger, they get their speed back,” Patterson said. “Every young player we’ve ever had has been the same way.”
No No. 2
None of the quarterbacks behind Trevone Boykin emerged as a clear backup, Patterson said. But he is not discouraged, because he said all three – Bram Kohlhausen, Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein – have a command of the entire offense, as they’ve shown in the scimmages.
“They have the whole package,” Patterson said. “Monday, they ran everything they could run under the sun, I promise you that. Because I was trying to defend it.”
Patterson said a No. 2 won’t be named until the fall and that all three have played with the first, second and third units.
Cameron Echols-Luper has not worked at corner as much as the Horned Frogs planned because he’s been needed at receiver following the injuries to Josh Doctson and Deante’ Gray, Patterson said.
Patterson said defensive linemen Terrell Lathan, James McFarland and Davion Pierson didn’t practice Tuesday. “They just got digned around. They’ll all be OK. It’s not anything,” Patterson said.
Patterson said he’s been pleased with the transition of Nick Orr to safety and the play of Kenny Iloka. He said Denzel Johnson and Travin Howard have been good at strong safety.
Patterson said the team picked its motto: “Prove Them Right.” He likes the ring of it. “It’s got a blue-collar attitude to it, but it’s got some spark.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407