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Some Takeaways from TCU’s Spring Game

TCU “played” a spring game on Saturday. Here are a few takeaways.

Gary Patterson speaking with the media after the spring game.
Jamie Plunkett

The Frogs hit the field for their spring game Saturday, in the midst of a quick cold snap. The temperature was 35 degrees at the start of things, and it didn’t warm up.

Perhaps it was the weather that affected the quarterbacks on the day, as Shawn Robinson, Michael Collins, and Greyson Muehlstein all threw interceptions. Whatever the reason, TCU’s defense absolutely won the day, as the offense turned the ball over four times, and only scored two touchdowns.

Here are a few takeaways from the TCU spring game.

  1. It was freezing cold. And wet. The 35 degree weather and light misting that persisted throughout, made it close to unbearable weather. It looked like it really affected the offense, as pretty much every quarterback missed on throws they normally would make, and several passes were dropped or bobbled. There was also a botched handoff at one point that was recovered by the defense. All in all, though, the turnout was better than expected, considering the weather. A good number of Frog fans hung out, and as usual Patterson made his way into the stands near the end of things to take photos and chat with folks.
  2. The defensive line is incredible. LJ Collier recorded a few sacks and a tackle for loss, Corey Bethley and Michael Epley were constantly in the backfield, and Brandon Bowen finally looks healthy (and like Predator). The line was without Ben Banogu and Ross Blacklock on the day, but that didn’t slow them down at all as they gave TCU’s offensive line all it could handle. Sure, TCU’s offensive line isn’t at its peak, but this D-line is going to give teams fits in the fall.
  3. The offensive line isn’t set. TCU lined guys up all across the offensive line on Saturday, and afterwards Patterson talked about how they’re working guys along. He mentioned that Austin Myers has come a long way at tackle, and is pushing for a starting spot, along with Anthony McKinney. It seems Lucas Niang has one of the tackle spots locked down. A ton of guys moved around at guard (and tackle) on the day, and GP noted afterward that there were three guys who could possibly play center, although it sounded like Kellton Hollins is currently the favorite.
  4. Taye Barber was as advertised. True freshman Taye Barber was used a ton throughout the game, catching passes out of the backfield and over the middle, including a slant from Michael Collins for one of TCU’s two touchdowns on the day. He’s definitely cut from the same cloth as Turpin, although he’s a bit bigger (he’s listed at the same height, but about 30 pounds heavier than Turp).
  5. Turpin had his own moment, too. On TCU’s opening drive, Turpin made a great catch on the sideline, turning his body to block out the defender and getting both feet down inbounds.
  6. Sewo Olonilua is going to destroy linebackers and safeties this year. Sewo looks even bigger and stronger than a season ago, and he had some fantastic runs on the day, including a 30 yarder off the left edge that could have been more had he not slipped and fallen. He also caught several passes out of the backfield, including TCU’s first touchdown of the day, thrown by Shawn Robinson.
  7. The secondary feasted, generally. As noted earlier, TCU quarterbacks threw three interceptions on the day, and it could have been four or five. Niko Small had an impressive interception in space from Shawn Robinson, Kerry Johnson picked off Michael Collins on an underthrown ball near the endzone, and Tony James caught a tipped pass from the hand of Muehlstein.
  8. There are a ton of guys out. Patterson noted afterward that they were missing 20 guys because of various illnesses and dings. Garrett Wallow didn’t play because he’s been sick for the past several days, Ross Blacklock and Ben Banogu are banged up, as are several corners and safeties. Patterson said that right now, most of the second string guys are redshirt freshmen, simply out of necessity.
  9. Of the redshirt freshman, several stood out. Kerry Johnson had an interception, and Michael Onyemaobi (nicknamed “Yoyo”) almost had an interception near the end of the game. Patterson also named Terrell Cooper as someone who he thought played well. Cooper recovered a fumble on a botched handoff, and generally looked good on the day.
  10. With time, Shawn Robinson has the potential to be great. Robinson made some solid throws today, and took a few shots downfield. His touchdown pass to Olonilua was a good throw in traffic in the redzone, his back shoulder pass to Turpin was right where it needed to be, and he showed good awareness under pressure.
  11. Darius Anderson and Sewo will give offenses fits. Both looked great in limited time, and if Anderson can stay healthy, they should be a force on the ground in 2018.

Check out everything Gary Patterson had to say after the “game.” (sorry for the shaking at some points, I literally could not feel my hands.)