Mac Engel

TCU does not have a quarterback

Gary Patterson assessing starting QB Alex Delton

TCU coach Gary Patterson named Alex Delton his starting quarterback.
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TCU coach Gary Patterson named Alex Delton his starting quarterback.

TCU coach Gary Patterson named his starting quarterback, and when he said the No. 2 is his sixth man and will play in the first quarter that’s all you need to know how he feels about the most important position on his team.

GP has a starting quarterback in name only.

The depth chart features four quarterbacks, and not a one of them has separated himself from the rest. That’s a bad sign for a team that hopes to contend for a Big 12 title.

The Horned Frogs will go with Kansas State graduate transfer Alex Delton on Saturday night as the starting quarterback; after a few series, true freshman Max Duggan will enter the game that is a glorified scrimmage against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

It was always hard to envision any scenario when GP did not go with a veteran over a Duggan.

While TCU and GP have had some great seasons when it was forced to play two quarterbacks because of injury, banking on the rotating QB model is a terrible play.

When TCU travels to play at Purdue on Sept. 14, one of these guys needs to be the definitive starter.

TCU coach Gary Patterson addresses the reality of his quarterback position entering the season.

Delton’s forte at Kansas State was running the ball, and passing it every now and then. Basically, he did as quarterbacks were asked under former KSU coach Bill Snyder; act like a fullback; throw the ball with the frequency of the Olympics; don’t snap the ball until .001 second remained on the play clock; protect the ball as if it was a newborn child.

In four seasons at Kansas State, Delton threw but four interceptions. And he also threw five touchdowns.

If your team is going to win nine or 10 games, at some point your quarterback has to make a play. In the Big 12, if your team is going to win games, your quarterback has to make a play with his arm.

By going with two quarterbacks Gary is well aware of the odds of it translating into a 10-win type of season. It doesn’t happen often.

It has happened before with Gary’s teams. By accident. A long time ago. Because one guy always got hurt.

From 2002 to 2005, Gary Patterson continually tried to go with Tye Gunn as his starting quarterback. Tye was a gamer, who had the misfortune of having a body that simply wasn’t designed to endure football’s weekly beatings.

In all four of those years, GP had to play two quarterbacks, Gunn and Sean Stilley; Gunn and Brandon Hassell; Gunn and Jeff Ballard.

TCU won at least 10 games in three of those four years; only was 2004 a dud, a 5-6 stinker.

Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, Gary has had to go the multiple quarterback route three times. Those years have not gone well.

In 2012, starter Casey Pachall was suspended and left the team. GP moved Trevone Boykin from running back to quarterback, and the team finished 7-6.

In 2013, Pachall returned but suffered an injury that forced Boykin to move back to quarterback. The team finished 4-8.

Last season, injuries forced TCU to play three quarterbacks. That the Frogs finished 7-6, including a Cheese Bowl bowl win despite his quarterbacks throwing 45 interceptions in the worst game ever recorded; that season should forever be regarded as one of Patterson’s best coaching years.

As much as TCU is known for its defense this century, in reviewing Gary’s better teams, he normally has one quarterback. Andy Dalton. Trevone Boykin. Kenny Hill.

That does not make GP different than most coaches.

TCU has top-end talent, namely at receiver and defensive back. The defense could be one of the best he’s had in years.

He may be a defensive wizard, but he’s also a head football coach. Head football coaches win with one quarterback.

Gary has named his starting quarterback because he had to pick one.

Now he needs him to play like The One.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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