When it was first announced that TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Casey Pachall would be returning to school and to the football team, I kind of brushed it off. When virtually the entire college football universe assumed that he would be the starter over Trevone Boykin, the QB that took the wheel of the TCU offense when Pachall left, I paid a bit of attention.
Pachall was a great player prior to his off the field troubles, but those troubles have followed him back to the field in a way. He is out of shape, as is apt to happen when a player spends around four months away from their sport and in drug and alcohol recovery treatment. TCU head coach Gary Patterson has commented that Pachall looks rusty in spring practice. Given that he spent such a long time not throwing or lifting, rust is expected, but just how much rust is too much?
Boykin has improved since the end of what has to be considered a very successful season despite ending on a sour note with a bowl loss. He led TCU to a 7-6 overall record with a 4-5 Big 12 record in their first year in the conference. He is more familiar with the returning players than his competitor and that could mean him gelling with the team at a quicker pace than Pachall.
Patterson has said that it is an open competition, but I see it as Boykin’s job to lose. He was one of the best young QBs in the country last season, and has the skills to lead the Horned Frogs to a Big 12 Championship in 2013. Pachall has some catching up to do if he wants to get his old gig back.
Still, spring practice is spring practice and while it can give us a glimpse as to which of the two players is ahead in this particular position battle, we won’t be seeing anything close to a decision on which the starter will be until August. That normally wouldn’t be too much of an issue for a Big 12 program since the opening game on the schedule tends to be some poor sap of a school that is getting some money tossed their way as compensation for letting the big boys work out the kinks and kick them around for a few hours. TCU will not have that luxury in 2013.
The Frogs will be opening their 2013 campaign against the LSU Tigers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX so there won’t be time for them to figure out their QB situation on the field. TCU needs to head into that contest with a go-to-guy that has the full support of the coaching staff and players and who doesn’t feel like he is auditioning for the starting job. Having that support system will give the guy under center the confidence he needs to lead TCU to victory over the Bayou Bengals, which you may recall I already predicted will be the case.
Despite Pachall’s rustiness, TCU has two solid options at quarterback. Both of them have the proven ability to win games and lead the Horned Frogs, but neither will have very much time to get comfortable since they will be facing an opponent from the big, bad SEC in week one. The only way TCU gets off to a good start and avoids a long, drawn out quarterback competition is if they stand behind their starter, regardless of who that is.
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