Patterson seeing glass half full with spring game around the corner
With just two practices remaining before summer, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said he likes what sees with the 2017-18 team heading into Saturday’s scrimmage.
The biggest weapon for the Horned Frogs on offense and special teams, KaVontae Turpin, is back after missing a number of spring practices due to academic issues.
“Turp has an opportunity to be back here in the fall, and right now, he’s going to class and doing the things he needs to do, get bigger and stronger,” Patterson said. “He’s earned his right to come back out here for a little bit, and he’s a welcome addition to this group,” Patterson said.
Turpin was named 2016 special teams MVP Monday at TCU’s football awards banquet.
“He’s been pretty good. He just needs to keep doing what he’s supposed to do. We have standards here on and off the field.”
Summers at a new position
Ty Summers, a linebacker who was second on the team and second in the Big 12 in tackles behind fellow linebacker Travin Howard a year ago, has been getting receiving time at defensive end.
Patterson said earlier this spring defensive end was a spot where TCU can never have enough players and needed to find depth.
With the uptempo passing attacks employed by many Big 12 teams, Patterson said the team has to find a way to get pressure on quarterbacks without blitzing.
“Both he and [linebacker] Sammy [Douglas] can come off the edge of the line well,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to create sacks, and in this league, you’ve got to be able to rush with four, which means you’ve got to find ways to do that.”
However, Patterson said to expect reinforcements via the recruiting class. “We’re going to gain quite a few people: Four defensive tackles, two or three defensive ends, two or three linebackers, two or three safeties and a couple corners,” Patterson said. “We’ll gain a lot of depth.”
Summers is as strong or stronger than Mat Boesen, one of the defensive ends TCU had in its defensive line rotation last season. Patterson believes Summers’ speed is worth using one of the top linebackers in the Big 12 as a pass-rushing defensive end in the spring.
The Horned Frogs had the most sacks in the Big 12 a year ago, with 43 (3.31 per game). TCU allowed the second-fewest yards (424.8 yards per game) and finished four in points allowed in the conference (28 points allowed per game). Summers totaled 1.5 sacks from the linebacker position.
Offensive line making strides
After a year in which the Horned Frogs offensive front underwent sweeping changes, breaking in four new starters, Patterson said he’s encouraged by his blockers’ progress.
“I think the offensive line has been our bright spot and come a long way,” Patterson said. “When you don’t have [center Austin] Schlottman, [guard] Cordel [Iwagwu], or [tackle] David Bolisomi, and we’re going to gain two or three more recruits, I think we have an opportunity to have a lot of depth with our backups inside, [lineman Kellton] Hollins, having come a long way, and we moved Matt Pryor outside to tackle last week, who’d be our third offensive tackle at this point. We’ve done a lot of good this spring.”