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2023 TCU Football Position Review: Offensive Line

We take a look at the performance of the offensive line in 2023.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Houston Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line can be a tough position to evaluate. A tackle for loss or sack occurring on a play does not necessarily mean the offensive line is to blame. Running backs don’t always follow their blockers, quarterbacks hold on to the ball too long, and sometimes a playcall is bad due to defensive alignment (more defensive players than blockers, for example). The big guys up front are often the first people blamed and the last people congratulated. It is often a thankless position, but it’s the most important position group on the field.

TCU had 7 offensive linemen play at least 250 snaps this year, so those are the guys we will give a grade to. As a whole, TCU’s offensive line performed very well in 2023. The Frogs allowed 53 TFLs on the season which ranked 11th in the country. TCU’s quarterbacks were sacked 19 times throughout the year, good for 30th nationally.

*Stats are pulled from Pro Football Focus.

Senior John Lanz led TCU in snap count this year, playing 925 in total. All of his snaps were at center this year. It was awesome to see a guy who had been plagued by injuries his whole career be able to play the entire season. PFF graded Lanz at 66.5 overall this year, ranking him 49th among all FBS centers who played at least 250 snaps.

Lanz was graded better in pass blocking than run blocking at 71.5. Overall, PFF attributes just 1 sack on the year to Lanz. He was responsible for 13 pressures in total, ranking 81st out of 148 centers. A year that I would describe as good, but not great.

John Lanz 2023 Grade: B

Willis Patrick played 911 snaps at right guard for the Frogs this season. PFF graded Patrick at 72.8 overall, ranking him 33rd out of 335 guards who played at least 225 snaps. This puts him in the “great but not quite elite” category by my count. Patrick graded out at 68.5 as a run blocker, but was graded 81.4 in pass protection.

Patrick was not credited with any sacks allowed this year and PFF attributed 10 pressures to him, ranking 116th among guards. Unfortunately for the Frogs, Patrick will not be back next year as he has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Good luck, Willis.

Willis Patrick 2023 Grade: A

Andrew Coker had a tough season. He seemed to get worse as the year went on. He struggled with some injury issues, and he started the year at left tackle instead of continuing on the right like he did last season. Overall, Coker played 400 snaps at left tackle and 330 snaps at left tackle. PFF graded Coker at 63.5 overall, good for 162nd out of 327 tackles who played at least 250 snaps.

Coker’s run block grade was a lousy 56. He fared much better in pass protection, grading at a 73.2 which was good for 91st among tackles. Coker allowed 1 sack and 21 pressures this season, ranking 212th in pressures allowed. It definitely wasn’t the senior season that Coker had hoped for. However, his size and athleticism will definitely help his draft stock.

Andrew Coker 2023 Grade: C+

Brandon Coleman had a breakout junior season at left tackle for the Frogs. Which obviously meant his position needed to be changed to start the season. It’s something I’ll never understand, and I don’t even want to hear an argument trying to justify the decision. In 2022, Coleman graded out at a 79.6 overall which was 18th out of 322 tackles with at least 250 snaps played. When TCU took the field for their first offensive snap of 2023, Coleman was lined up at left guard. He would play there for the first four games of the year, totaling 255 snaps.

Coleman got hurt during the SMU game and missed the West Virginia game. When he came back the next week the TCU coaching moved him back to left tackle, but he was unable to reclaim the form he showed last year. Coleman’s 2023 grade finished at 60.8 which was good for 191st among FBS tackles. Brandon is a kid with a cool story, and it was great to see him progress after coming from the JuCo ranks. Hopefully this season didn’t hurt his draft stock too much.

Brandon Coleman 2023 Grade: C+

Junior Mike Nichols was next in snap count for the Frogs’ offensive line with 607 played during the 2023 season. Nichols was the starting right tackle to begin the year, but saw his playing time reduced when Coker was moved back over. Nichols played in all 12 games for the Frogs this year, but only 204 of his snaps played came in the final 6 games. PFF graded Nichols at 58.7 overall, ranking 219th out of the 327 tackles with at least 250 snaps. Nichols allowed 2 sacks and 20 pressures on the year, so TCU will need him to improve for next year.

Mike Nichols 2023 Grade: C

Sophomore Coltin Deery came to TCU from Maryland where he started 2 games at center. This year for the Frogs, Deery played mostly at left guard, totaling 450 snaps. Deery’s final PFF grade came out at 53.7 which ranked him 284th out of 335 guards with at least 250 snaps. Deery allowed 2 sacks and 11 pressures, so he will need to be much improved if he wants to earn a starting role in 2024.

Coltin Deery 2023 Grade: C-

Ben Taylor-Whitfield came to TCU from HS football powerhouse Duncanville. He impressed during fall camp and was able to earn some early playing time for the Frogs. Taylor-Whitfield played 252 snaps on the year with most of those reps coming at left guard. Unfortunately, he did not play very well throughout the year. PFF graded Taylor-Whitfield at 41.1 overall, which ranks him dead last among guards with at least 250 snaps. Hopefully the experience gained this year for the true freshman proves valuable and he’s able to take a step forward in 2024.

Ben Taylor-Whitfield 2023 Grade: F

2024 Outlook

You may have noticed above that TCU will be losing 4 of the 6 linemen that played at least 250 snaps this year, so expect a lot of new faces on the TCU offensive line next year. The Frogs have had 2 years of really good offensive line play, so I am expecting this position group to take a step back in 2024. I don’t have inside information, but if I was a betting man I would assume this is why we saw TCU continue throw the ball 45+ times a game towards the end of the year.

Josh Hoover and the receiving corps will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting next year, and I don’t expect the Frogs will have a 1,000 yard rusher. I couldn’t begin to tell you who the starting 5 will be on the offensive line next year. I assume Deery and Taylor-Whitfield will be in the mix, but they’ll need to be significantly better in 2024.