Next Frog up has been, and continues to be, TCU’s mantra.
For Patterson, Vai’s injury just gives other players an opportunity to get more reps and show what they can do. He mentioned safeties getting more reps when Niko Small was sidelined early on in camp.
“That’s one of the things we’ve done here – we don’t change what we teach,” Patterson said. “We teach whole part whole. You throw it on the board, see how much sticks, see how much they learn.”
The youth in the secondary is reason to be excited for the future... but they could have an impact in the present, too.
Redshirt freshman Michael Onyemaobi could see snaps at cornerback and safety. Freshmen Ar’Darius Washington and DeMauryon Holmes, as well as sophomore La’Kendrick Van Zandt and redshirt freshman Noah Daniels, have been players who have stood out early on in camp.
“Really, Noah has had a great camp, even Onyemaobi is doing great – we moved him back to corner,” Patterson said. “Yoyo (Onyemaobi) has been playing great.”
At this point, having a deep stable of defensive backs will be critical for TCU’s success since they’ll face a number of high-flying, Big 12 offenses.
“We keep building the depth so you run out somebody in the middle of the season, they’ve already got a little bit of a base,” Patterson said.
There will be a lot more attention paid to Big Ben this year, but I have a feeling he is up for the challenge.
Although he lost fellow All-Big 12 defensive end Mat Boesen, Ben Banogu faces high expectations as the figurehead of TCU’s pass rush. Big 12 media voted him as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and it’s easy to see why. A transfer from Louisiana-Monroe, Banogu racked up 16.5 tackles and 8.5 sacks during his first season with the Horned Frogs. He contributed on a sack in eight different games, also registering three forced fumbles on the year. Banogu’s playmaking skills are especially valuable in the high-scoring Big 12.