2013 TCU Preview - Offense
TCU QB Casey Pachall
TCU QB Casey Pachall
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 4, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - TCU Horned Frog Offense


    

TCU Horned Frogs

Preview 2013 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: No, it’s not going to be an explosive attack that hangs punch-for-punch in shootouts against the elite teams, but that’s not going to be its job. The offense wasn’t bad considering it lost starting quarterback Casey Pachall early on to suspension and starting running back Waymon James to injury. The line that was mediocre and inconsistent gets three starters back, but it’s young and needs more work and seasoning; it’s not physical enough. However, the skill players should be terrific with Pachall back to battle with Trevone Boykin for the starting job, and with James returning to join a crowded backfield full of quick and talented runners. No. 1 target Josh Boyce will be missed, but it should be a consistent and decent group of midrange targets who’ll take turns being the main man.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Trevone Boykin
154-263, 1,853 yds, 15 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: B.J. Catalon
116 carries, 562 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: Brandon Carter
36 catches, 590 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Casey Pachall
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore OG Joey Hunt
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR LaDarius Brown
Best pro prospect: Pachall
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Pachall, 2) WR Brandon Carter, 3) OT Aviante Collins
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, Skill Depth
Weakness of the offense: Guards, Line Depth

Quarterbacks

It’s going to be one of the Big 12’s most interesting quarterback controversies up until the season opener. Is senior Casey Pachall ready to get back in the swing of things? One of the most talented quarterbacks in college football and a good pro prospect with all the tools, the 6-5, 230-pound veteran is ultra-efficient with a live arm, great moxie and the starter’s attitude – in a good way – but he has to get back into the swing of things after being suspended for a DWI arrest and going through the rehab process. The off-the-field issues appear to be well in the rearview mirror, but he has to shake off the rust and regain his 2011 form, when he completed 67% of his passes for a school-record 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns with seven picks while running for two scores. Last year, he started the season off on fire completing 66% of his throws for 948 yards and ten scores with just one pick.

Over the time off he got bigger and stronger, but he needs to regain the fearless gunslinger mentality that was almost enough to pull out a huge comeback against Robert Griffin III and Baylor two seasons ago. While he might not be a big-time runner, he’s mobile enough to take off from time to time and he’ll fight for the first down when needed. A star recruit who was wanted by several of the bigger boys, now he has to do everything right to get back his starting gig.

With all the drama and problems with Pachall last year, sophomore Trevone Boykin did a terrific job being thrown into the bad situation. The 6-2, 215-pounder has decent poise and good mobility, completing 59% of his passes for 1,853 yards and 15 touchdowns with nine picks, and finished second on the team with 380 rushing yards and three scores. He struggled out of the gate with three picks in the loss to Iowa State, and he threw two against Texas Tech, but he kept the mistakes to a relative minimum the rest of the way and did a nice job of working within the offense throwing 200 yards or more in six of the nine games with four scoring passes in back-to-back games against Baylor and Texas Tech. At the very least the team knows it can rely on him to step in if needed.

6-4, 220-pound redshirt freshman Tyler Matthews was a huge recruit for the program last season, but he’s going to have to wait his turn. With big-time upside and NFL tools, he’ll be in the mix for the starting job next year, while 6-3, 185-pound freshman Zach Allen will almost certainly redshirt and have to wait a few years before showing what he can do. One of the most mobile options on the roster, he’s a smart, accurate passer who’s great at taking off when needed.

Watch Out For … Pachall to be the starting quarterback. For all the talk about the quarterback competition and the fight for the job, Pachall is the best option and he’ll get the gig once he gets his timing down. Boykin is good, Pachall is potentially special.
Strength: Talent. At worst, TCU has a nine-game starter in Boykin returning after fighting through the Big 12 wars. At best, Pachall turns into the top NFL prospect many thought he’d become before the issues, Boykin is a rock-solid No. 2, and Matthews is a terrific No. 3 with the talent to eventually turn into a franchise performer.
Weakness: Drama? Spring ball didn’t clear up the situation, and now there’s a real, live quarterback controversy. Whomever Gary Patterson chooses to go with will be under the microscope and will always be looking over his shoulder.
Outlook: Despite the battle for the starting job, the situation is fantastic. TCU has three Big 12-quality starting quarterbacks who can all put up big numbers and move the offense, but if Pachall regains his form, he has the talent and potential to carry the team on his back.
Unit Rating: 8.5

Running Backs

The Horned Frog backfield has been loaded with talented runners for the last few seasons, but the production wasn’t quite there last season in Big 12 play. Senior Waymon James led the team with 875 yards and six scores two years ago, but he got hurt early on last season with a knee injury after averaging 9.9 yards per carry with 168 yards and one score. A big-time recruit after a phenomenal high school career- he ran for 4,732 yards and 54 scores - the 5-8, 203-pounder has the talent to work inside or out and crank out yards in chunks when he’s healthy.

Sophomore B.J. Catalon might not have been dynamic in his true freshman season, but he got the job done with a team-leading 582 yards spread throughout the year. He didn’t score he didn’t bust out any big plays, but he turned into a nice receiver with 23 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown and was a steady part of the rotation. A shifty 5-9 and 190 pounds, he has home-run hitting ability and the talent to do far more, scoring 32 times and rushing for 2,269 yards as a high school senior.

While James and Catalon will likely be the top two options, a pair of sophomores will get their chances in the rotation. 5-11, 200-pound Aaron Green looked like a promising talent for Nebraska getting in a little work as a true freshman, but the one-time superstar prospect chose to transfer, sat out last season, and now should be ready to add his blend of quickness and speed. 6-3, 210-pound Jordan Moore was a defensive player with safety size and linebacker potential, but he moved over to the offensive side late last year and now will bring more power.

Watch Out For … Kyle Hicks. It’ll be hard for any back to fight into the rotation with so much talent in the stable, but the 5-10, 190-pound freshman has the quickness and all-around ability to be a standout sooner than later. Wanted by the big boys like Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M and Michigan, he has as much talent as any back on the roster.
Strength: Quick options. The Horned Frogs are once again loaded with options to get the ground game going. A healthy James changes everything, Catalon led the team in rushing, and Green could be TCU’s best pure talent at running back since LaDainian Tomlinson. There won’t be any concerns about finding backs to handle the workload.
Weakness: Big plays. There’s too much talent and too much speed for the team to be averaging just 3.9 yards per carry. Life in the Big 12 is far different, and things changed when Casey Pachall went out and defenses dared Trevone Boykin to throw, but there’s still no excuse for the big plays not to come on a regular basis.
Outlook: There might not be a ton of power, and the big numbers might not be there like they were in the Mountain West, but this is a terrific stable of backs with the rotation to keep everyone fresh. The passing game will still take center stage, but the runners will do their part.
Unit Rating: 7.5

Receivers

With No. 1 target Josh Boyce leaving early for the NFL and third-leading receiver Skye Dawson gone, it’ll be up to 5-11, 186-pound junior Brandon Carter to make a bigger splash after finishing second on the team with 36 catches for 590 yards and six scores, averaging 16.4 yards per grab. The 5-11, 186-pounder could’ve gone to Oklahoma, but he’s quickly becoming a major factor coming up with eight catches for 141 yards and two scores against Kansas and rocking when Casey Pachall was under center, but his production tailed off when Trevone Boykin stepped in. Sophomore Deante’ Gray is a 5-10, 180-pound defensive back and punt returner who’s moving over to the offensive side to use his speed and physical style behind Carter.

Sophomore LaDarius Brown is back after a terrific first season starting seven times catching 27 passes for 385 yards and five scores. At 6-4 and 220 pounds he’s a huge target with good enough deep speed to get by. He didn’t explode, but he was a steady producer who found his niche. 6-1, 185-pound sophomore Kolby Listenbee is a bright prospect who made one catch in his first year, but it was a big one coming up with a 59-yard play against Michigan State in the bowl loss.

6-0, 195-pound junior David Porter caught a 19-yard touchdown pass on his first career grab against Baylor, two years ago, and scored the week after at Air Force, but he didn’t do anything else the rest of the way. Last season he came up with two catches for 18 yards, but was mostly a special teamer. Now he’ll be part of the starting lineup with good blocking ability and nice hands, while 6-3, 200-pound junior Cam White has the size and speed to grow into something special after making 21 catches for 284 yards and two scores. Both touchdowns came against Baylor, but he has the talent and skill to do far, far more.

It’ll be up to junior Stephen Bryant to take back the tight end job after missing all of last year hurt. The 6-5, 240-pound field-stretcher has tremendous athleticism and can become a key part of the passing game. He’ll combine with 6-5, 220-pound sophomore Griffin Gilbert, who was thrown into the starting role making two catches for 11 yards, but he’s like a big wide receiver and can do more.

Watch Out For … true freshmen Ty Slanina and Cameron Echols-Luper, two talented targets with immense upside. The 6-0, 182-pound Slanina is an elite athlete who worked as a quarterback and defensive back last year. The 6-0, 190-pound Echols-Luper comes from Auburn – the city, not the school – was also a high school quarterback with good quickness and rushing ability.
Strength: Quickness and size. Everyone fits a type – you can’t play for TCU is you can’t block. The Horned Frogs employ a slew of athletic, good-sized receivers who don’t have any problems getting physical and can stretch the field.
Weakness: Josh Boyce. TCU has several nice receivers who can all produce here and there, but Boyce was the next-level star of the passing game catching 66 passes – 30 more than anyone else. It’s receiver-by-committee, if there is such a thing, but it was Boyce who served as the lightning rod who took the pressure off of everyone else.
Outlook: This might not be the same receiving corps without Boyce and Skye Dawson, but there are more than enough good, quick targets who can produce when needed. There might not be a sure-thing, No. 1 guy who’ll keep defensive coordinators up at night, but there are more than enough options for the quarterbacks to play around with.
Unit Rating: 7.5

Offensive Line

The line had a leaky year in pass protection and found Big 12 life tougher, and now the Horned Frogs have to replace two of the best blockers, guard Blaize Foltz and center James Fry. Veteran Eric Tausch will take over the job in the middle after spending last season at left guard after doing a nice job. The 6-3, 300-pounder can play right tackle if needed, getting one start last year, good enough to earn all-star honors. A backup at center two years ago, he’ll be ready. With his move over, 6-3, 288-pound sophomore Joey Hunt will take over at left guard after getting one start last year against Iowa State and spending the season as a reserve. Active, quick and versatile, he could slip in at center if needed.

6-6, 310-pound sophomore Aviante Collins came up with a decent season under difficult circumstances, being thrown to the wolves at right tackle while seeing three games of time on the left side. Strong with enough quickness to get by, he has the frame and the size, but he needs to be a more consistent pass protector. With Collins starting on the left side, 6-7, 315-pound former BYU Cougar Tayo Fabuluje was supposed to start at right tackle after spending most of last season on the left side, but he left the team for personal reasons. Now it'll likely be up to 6-6, 308-pound versatile sophomore Halapoulivaati Vaitai to hold down the job.

Sophomore Jamelle Naff doesn’t have much experience, but he saw a little bit of backup time and has 6-4, 311-pound size to serve as a tough run blocker at right guard. He’ll be backed up by the massive Michael Thompson, a 6-5, 340-pound junior who has to work hard to stay under 360. Banged up in his first few seasons, he needs to stay in one piece to bring more bulk to the ground game.

Watch Out For … JUCO transfer Patrick Morris, one of the nation’s top center recruits. The 6-3, 288-pounder is an elite pass blocker and tough guy for the running game. At the very least he could provide instant depth in the interior, and if he shines at center, Tausch could move back to guard.
Strength: Tackle. Collins and Fabuluje might not have been rocks in pass protection, but they know what they’re doing and there's enough experience to make up for the loss of Fabuluje. They’ll be relied on right away to be the key parts of the blocking scheme until everyone gets their feet wet at …
Weakness: Guard. Hunt and Naff might be fine, and they’ll get a chance to grow into their respective jobs over the next few years in the interior, but they’re green. Tausch will help solidify things inside, but it could take a little while to come up with the right mix inside.
Outlook: The line was just okay a few years ago, but it was able to get the job done. It was just okay last year, and in the Big 12 it was a problem for a mediocre ground game and with a few too many problems for the running game. It’s a young, young, young group with three sophomores starting and plenty of promising underclassmen looking to see more time. It’s not going to be a dominant line, but it has to merely hold serve.
Unit Rating: 6.5
 
- 2013 TCU Preview | 2013 TCU Offense
- 2013 TCU Defense | 2013 TCU Depth Chart