It was a struggle to find a non-Pachall related topic for this week’s Musings.
As I poured over game previews for Saturday’s match-up against Baylor, stats from last week’s loss to Iowa State, nothing came to the front of my mind. Nothing that didn't involve "what if" scenarios.
"What if Pachall had played against the Cyclones?"
"What if Pachall was playing this week?"
"What if someone had offered to drive Pachall home, how different would today be?"
If these thoughts are crossing my mind, I can only imagine that players and possibly some coaches are thinking similar things.
However, in football, heck in any sport, a short-term memory is required.
From a very early age, children are taught that when you strike out, fumble, miss a free throw, forget it and make the next opportunity count. Things change though, when a team needs to forget a leader.
Make no mistake, that’s what the Frogs need to do.
They need to forget Casey Pachall while they’re on the field.
Off the field is a different story. I would hope that our players keep in contact with Casey, providing support and inspiration for him. A team is a family, and that’s what any family would do.
However when they’re on the practice field, in the locker room or on the sidelines, Casey Pachall needs to be far from their minds.
They can’t allow the "what if" thoughts to pass through, even for a moment. It’s in those moments that misstates happen.
It’s in those moments that breakdowns occur, when weaknesses are exposed. Instead, what this Frogs team needs to do is push each other to a new level of focus. They need to be unified behind Trevone Boykin. Pick him up when he falls. Praise him when he succeeds. He’s the quarterback now.
He’s the new leader.
Not the only leader though. Players like Stansly Maponga, Josh Boyce, Blaize Foltz, and Elizha Olabode need to step up their leadership game as well. Play angry, play smart, and lead this fleet of freshman and sophomores by example.
I’m not saying they weren’t already, but their responsibilities have increased with the loss of Pachall. These guys are going to have to work hard to keep their heads up, and make the young guys keep their heads up too.
Past TCU teams have effectively overcome the loss of a quarterback.
Take 2005, when Tye Gunn, in the fourth game of the season, went down to an injury. In came Jeff Ballard, who had thrown just one pass in his collegiate career, to save the day.
Ballard led the Frogs to nine straight wins under his tutelage, including a bowl victory over Iowa State.
Overcoming this kind of adversity is possible, and Frogs in the past have set the standard for doing it. I believe this team is strong enough, despite their youth.
Now go, prepare, and please for the love of God beat Baylor.