According to multiple sources, TCU Horned Frogs senior quarterback Casey Pachall will be available for Saturday’s contest against the Texas Longhorns, a week earlier than previously expected. Pachall suffered a broken left arm in TCU’s second game of the season against Southeastern Louisiana. It was expected that Pachall would be ready to re-take the starting quarterback role on November 2nd against the West Virginia Mountaineers, but his rehab process has allowed him to work with the scout team in practice the past few weeks and has him ready to go.
It’s a massive development for Gary Patterson, who was stuck in the less than enviable position of deciding between true freshman QB Tyler Matthews and the incumbent starter, redshirt sophomore Trevone Boykin who has struggled mightily in recent weeks. With Pachall’s return, TCU again has one of the more physically gifted quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference under center. Pachall’s arm strength has continually impressed NFL scouts, but his off-field issues — including alcohol rehabilitation during 2012 — gave these same scouts pause.
With five games remaining on the TCU schedule, the first of which against Texas, Pachall again has an opportunity to finish his senior season strong and make another case that he’s worthy of a potential investment from a professional franchise when the 2014 Draft rolls around next summer. Even though Pachall’s only full season came in 2011 when he threw for 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns, there’s little doubt among those in the know that his skill set suggests an NFL future.
For Pachall there’s no easing back into action as the Longhorns make their way to Fort Worth on Saturday with one of the country’s most improved defenses since the arrival of new Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson and an overall emphasis on better tackling, positioning and technique among the team’s defensive leaders. Texas will be looking to prove that their defensive success against the Oklahoma Sooners and quarterback Blake Bell in the Red River Shootout wasn’t a one-off fluke, and is instead a sign of things to come.
On the flipside, Pachall’s availability adds a new wrinkle, a new challenge for the Longhorns to consider. The timing of the TCU announcement was perfect from a strategic perspective as Texas now only has two days to shift their game-planning away from the Boykin/Matthews pair and toward Pachall. A change in game-planning which is extreme to say the least given the difference in level of experience and familiarity with the bigger stages in the Big 12.
TCU is looking to prove that the 2013 season isn’t a lost cause and they’ve been given an early gift which could help them do just that.
Maybe Casey Pachall can make his last opportunity his best.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.