Kenny Hill earned his keep by filling the shoes of Frog opponents, many of whom were his good friends. Now, it's time to see if he can play himself, and play his way into the starting job.
The question now is can he play Kenny Hill, the big-time quarterback out of Southlake Carroll with all the tools who briefly looked like a Heisman candidate at A&M in 2014.
Though it's slightly disappointing that statue GP isn't crouched over tying his shoes, this is surely going to be the new favorite selfie spot on TCU's campus.
Gary Patterson stands with arms folded across his chest, ball cap pulled snug, short sleeves, watch on his left wrist, eyes focused.
Davey O’Brien is preparing to throw the football, leather helmet, back foot planted.
O’Brien’s coach, Dutch Meyer, is wearing a hat and a long coat, looking prepared to "Fight ’em til hell freezes over, then fight ’em on the ice," the Horned Frogs’ mythic, driving anthem.
The offense was lacking in comparison to the last couple seasons, but the young receivers and QBs had some nice moments against a defense that looks more like what we are used to seeing from Patterson's teams. More important than the play on the field was the fun GP seemed to have off of it, as he mingled with students and fans for most of the evening.
Still, Patterson said postgame that he’s not putting too much stock into anything he saw tonight — not that he saw much of the game at all, as he was taking pictures with the Horned Frog faithful in the stands.
"I’ll get a chance to watch tomorrow and see what goes on," Patterson said. "This is what it’s all about, to give back to the fans."
"I didn’t watch that close. I spent probably 40 minutes on both sidelines telling everybody thank you."
Between the young defenders who gained experience after being forced into action last season, and the transfers who seem to have made an immediate impact, the defense seems to be ahead of schedule as spring ball comes to a close.
The highlight of the night was from sophomore defensive end Tipa Galeai, during Sawyer’s second series. Just when the offense started to gain some steam under Sawyer, Galeai tipped a pass in the flat that was intended for KaVontae Turpin. Galeai made the interception and went 65 yards to score.
It's fun to see the rest of the country catching on to what we have known about Doc for the last several years - this guy is as good a person off the field as he is a player on it.
"I don't think about being the first receiver off the board or being a first-round pick," Doctson said. "I just think about still being the walk-on -- still understanding that I was given an opportunity, and I'm being given another opportunity, hopefully, at the end of April. I'm just continuing the things I did to get here and continuing it on to the NFL."
The starting pitcher for the Shockers had a good thing going, but the bullpen got hammered once he turned over the keys to the relievers. On the other side, Schlossnagle is getting concerned about how much he is having to use his pen, with the starters not showing they can consistently pitch deep into games.
“At some point, that’s going to come into play,” he said. “I’m glad we have guys down there and, who knows, maybe one of those guys will eventually be a starting pitcher, but if you’re going to try and win a conference championship or deep into a regional … you have to pitch. You don’t swing your way to Omaha.”
Brian Howard's hometown paper catches up with the big righty, who has become the anchor of a young, though talented, TCU pitching staff.
“The guys before me were unbelievable, which everybody knows,” Howard told Baseball America. “It was just my turn, I guess ... it’s my turn to step up and be the guy. I’m just trying to do my best to go out there and help these guys win games.”
Mac catches up with Matt Purke and Jason Coats, who have been reunited in the White Sox organization. There's always been a bit of a 'what might have been' question around Purke, but the pitcher doesn't seem to have any regrets.
"I would 100 percent do it the same way I did it," Purke told me two weeks ago during spring training. "My time at TCU was more valuable to me than anything else throughout my life until that point. What I gained at TCU was stuff I was never going to be able to gain in pro ball. I met my wife there and I learned how to be a person. In pro ball, you are on your own and no one is there to hold your hand."
TCU Track and Field:
In one of the most prestigious track events in the country, Baker and TCU shined against some tough international competition.
“Baker getting third in the invitational is really good.” TCU director of track and field Darryl Anderson said. “He ran against some professional and international guys, which will help him down the line. You look at the times, and you might say, ‘What happened?’ but they ran into a heavy headwind. The winds changed as soon as they got into the blocks.”
While he knows there is a challenge ahead in getting Frog fans back on the basketball bus, Dixon seems to be ready and willing to use the football team's success as a jumping off point with fans and recruits.
I think a football school brings advantages. They've had great success, Gary (Patterson) obviously. I think it's a draw because if you can do it in football you can do it in basketball. And Gary has certainly proven that. We have all the resources. The things that were needed are now here when you talk about the facility, the conference, the resources, commitment, all those things.
Jamie Dixon has made his first big move, hiring away Patrick from the Tigers. A great recruiter, the new lead assistant has strong ties in both Louisiana and Texas - where he spent time as a scout for the Houston Rockets.
Patrick spent four seasons with the Tigers and helped the staff secure two top-five recruiting classes, including last year's, which featured top prospect Ben Simmons, his godson.