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TCU Football Practice Report: Frogs are big, fast, and deep

A bigger, badder Horned Frogs football team took to the practice fields this week for the start of fall camp.

Ross Blacklock and LJ Collier are just two of a lot of big dudes out for TCU Football this year.
Melissa Triebwasser

Fort Worth, TX - TCU Football is back on the practice fields this week, preparing for opening day less than four weeks from now. But while much of the administration around the program is the same, there is a noticeable difference among the 100+ players in shorts and jerseys this year...

They. Are. Huge.

Coach Patterson referenced how much bigger the Frogs were across the board Thursday, when he spoke at length to the media on the day his team reported. The size of the players in the secondary and at the wide receiver position is certainly noticeable, but it’s across the lines where it really stands out. And that matters in football, something that Gary Patterson is well aware of. “The year before that [2016] we played with two guys who were 260 pounds. So for us to become what we needed to become we had Corey Bethley and Ross Blacklock come on to the scene, 300+ dudes, and all of a sudden we only allowed eight rushing touchdowns last year. We probably have more numbers to [replace the talented players from last year’s defense] we just don’t have the experience in the two-deep.”

But it wasn’t just the size of the team that stood out during Saturday’s open practice, the second time the Frogs have been on the field. This is as deep as they have been too. “We have a lot of depth, especially at the skill positions. We’ve been, more than we ever have, running our twos and threes through the team period,” Patterson said after Saturday’s media availability.

We also were given glimpses into the QB position, as the four person cast of characters all took snaps during drills. Shawn Robinson displayed solid footwork and a strong arm, Michael Collins is a lot bigger than I thought and very precise, and Justin Rogers uncorked a couple of beautiful deep balls, including this one to Tre’Vontae Hights.

But Coach P isn’t ready to anoint anyone quite yet. “Offensively, it’s going so fast, so it’s really hard to tell. They’re all throwing to ones, twos, threes… we’re just running the offense. So we will have to see how it goes.”

Additionally, we got our first look at linebacker Jawaun Johnson, a Northern Illinois grad transfer who has a chance to be a key piece of the rotation this fall. Johnson is fast, has great hands, and is a really smart player. Gary Patterson has liked what he has seen out of his new veteran. “Really good. He’s a guy who’s very serious about what he does. He’s got great awareness. We aren’t bringing Montrel into camp because he’s not ready with his knee, so that’s why we did it. We weren’t sure how that was all going to work. We have him, Alec Dunham, along with Rico and Ty, Ben Wilson… really, all six of the guys have been good. We pushed all those guys.”

Patterson seems pretty happy with the defense overall, especially the young guys, at least as long as they can stay locked in on the little things. “Ochaun’s (Mathis) got a chance. But really, we have a lot of defensive guys. Ben didn’t go through spring, so you’ve got a guy who hasn’t really played since December. It’s all in the details. Everyday, we have got to get better. The way we do it, we teach something new each day, we watch it, then we forget it, and teach something else the next day. We do that for five days, we get better at it all, then we scrimmage a little bit and find out what we are going to do. We teach by formations, coverages, basics, blitzes.”

Ultimately, there are two big things to take away from the first couple of days of camp though - one, Coach P asked the team if they wanted to come inside for the last portion of practice and they said no, and two his closing line when he met with reporters at the conclusion of practice number two: “really, there’s not anybody that I’m unhappy with right now.”