By Will Martin
It’s about that time! Not only on the professional side but also on the collegiate side for a return to the gridiron.
Sunday August 3 was Reporting Day at the Four Sevens Team Room with Horned Frogs Coach Gary Patterson addressing the media as practices for TCU commenced August 4 at 4pm.
In addition to Patterson, Co-Offensive Coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie made themselves available to discuss all things football.
On the players side QBs Trevone Boykin, Matt Joeckel, DE Terrell Lathan, DE James McFarland, S Geoff Hooker, and OT Haalapoulivaati Vaitai made themselves available to the assembled throng.
As the weeks ahead lead to the start of the 2013-2014 campaign you can expect a few visits to Ft. Worth for a few practices and comments from Coach Patterson and team. For now here is what the Horned Frog coach wanted to talk about:
GP: Well, it’s our third season in the Big 12. We have an older football team and probably the oldest we’ve been since the 2010 Rose Bowl season. It’s also the most depth we’ve had. We’ll see what that means as we go forward.
Can you tell us in which areas you hope to see improvement?
GP: “You have to find a starter at quarterback and at cornerback, because we lost Jason Verrett. We have a lot of depth at both places, so that’s a good thing.”
Your thoughts on having both Trevone Boykin AND Matt Joeckel at quarterback?
GP: “There’s no starter yet. Those guys are going to get the No. 1 reps. For those two weeks, though, all five guys (Boykin, Joeckel, Zach Allen, Grayson Muehlstein and Foster Sawyer) will have a chance. Everybody will get an opportunity to show what they have.”
Do you foresee any advantages that Matt Joeckel would have in knowing the system?
GP: “I don’t know the advantages. He understands the offense, but we haven’t been in a team setting. He’s going into a new football team. Obviously, he’s older and graduated. We have a lot of guys older, so we’ll see how that works out.”
Can you talk a little bit about what you foresee with the offensive line?
GP: “We have a chance for four guys to be new. Joseph Noteboom is a redshirt freshman, and Tayo Fabuluje is back. It’s a little different for them, because it’s a new offense and they only had 15 practices in the spring.
We’re bigger. Big V (Halapoulivaati Vaitai) is back and we added Frank Kee, along with the guys who have been here like Joey Hunt at the center position. Besides center, you may have four news guys. We felt like we had to get bigger, and we feel like this is going to be one of the better competitions at the offensive line since 2010 as far as numbers and body sizes. You have a chance to put guys on the offensive line who will be 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-8 and anywhere from 330 to 360 pounds. So, it’s a little different.
I try to be more positive talking about everything. The last couple of years, I’ve gone back to ‘show me.’ Do we have the potential to be what we want to be? We’ll start from the very beginning.”
Your thoughts on overall team leadership?
GP: “We’ve grown up a little bit more on offense. We’ve had outstanding leadership on the defensive side of the ball the last two or three years.
“Sam (Carter) has been big for us and Joey Hunt. Obviously, you need the quarterback position. We have B.J. Catalon at tailback and all of our wide receivers coming back. We really only have three seniors on this offense in Tayo Fabuluje, Matt Joeckel and David Porter. We’ll have all of our tailbacks and offensive line back in a year and basically all of our receivers.
“As you change your scheme, you have to change your thought processes as well. It’s been a great offseason.”
How do you feel about having seven home games?
GP: “It’s 10 games in the state of Texas. It’s good as long as you can play well at home. We’ve won more conference games on the road than we have at home. With the marketing department having the ‘Amp It Up’ theme to get people involved, winning is not all about us. It’s about the University, town and everybody who gets involved. You’re coming to have a good time. It’s a great experience, but we’re there to make sure we win. That’s how we’ve got this program to this point, and that’s what we have to keep doing.”
And with that we welcome back TCU and all the other collegiate teams of the Big 12 and other conferences as they get ready for what promises to be another exciting season across Texas and the good ole USA.