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Offseason Intelligence: TCU Horned Frogs

Texas Christian should make some noise in the Big 12 this year with the return of seven starters on offense and 10 on defense. Head coach Gary Patterson has become one of the best coaches in the country, and TCU’s second year in the Big 12 should be better than finishing seventh in the conference (4-5 record) and 7-6 overall.

The Horned Frogs lost their last two games a year ago by a combined eight points. Oklahoma’s defense broke up a last-ditch pass in the end zone to escape with a 24-17 victory. Michigan State kicked a field goal to beat TCU with a minute left in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Offense

Casey Pachall (6-5, 226, Sr.) and Trevone Boykin (6-2, 215, Soph.) will battle for the quarterback job. Pachall was kicked off the team after just four games last year after being busted for DWI and smoking pot last fall. He went through rehabilitation and was allowed back into the team. During those four games, Pachall completed 66 percent of his passes for an average of 237 yards per game with 10 TDs and 1 INT. The year before he completed 66 percent of his throws for 2,921 yards with 25 TDs and 7 INTs. Boykin is more mobile than his counterpart. He completed 57 percent of his passes last year for 2,054 yards with a 15-10 TD-to-INT ratio. Boykin also rushed for 417 yards and 3 TDs.

Whoever takes the role will have two of the team;s top four receivers back this year. Josh Boyce, who led the team last year, left early for the NFL draft. Junior Brandon Carter (5-11, 161), a verbal commitment to Oklahoma at one point during his high school days, and LaDarius Brown (6-4, 220, Soph.) finished second and fourth, respectively, in receiving last year. They combined for 63 grabs, 975 yards and 11 TDs.

Three starters return up front, and the Frogs must replace their center and right guard.

TCU Statistics, 2012

Offense (Nat'l. Rank)   Defense (Nat'l. Rank)
28.3 (66) Scoring (PPG) 22.6 (30)
152.1 (65) Rushing (YPG) 105.4 (10)
236.5 (61) Passing (YPG) 218.5 (42)
388.6 (72) Total Yards (YPG) 323.9 (16)

Defense

TCU returns nine starters this year from 2012, and three of them earned All-Big 12 postseason honors a year ago. Sophomore end Devonte Fields (6-4, 240) was a unanimous choice for the conference’s freshman player of the year on defense. He led the Big 12 with 18.5 tackles for loss and finished third in the conference with 10 sacks. Fields had 53 total tackles to go with and interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Unfortunately, TCU will be missing Fields for the first two games of the year as part of a punishment for an undisclosed violation announced this week.

Joining him Fields on the front line will be tackles Chucky Hunter (6-1, 305, Jr.) and Davion Pierson (6-2, 305, Soph.). Last year they combined for 108 stops with 13.5 behind the line of scrimmage, including 6 sacks.

Junior Joel Hasley (6-1, 220) is the only returning linebacker in a two-linebacker set. He recorded 79 tackles with 8.5 going for losses in ’12.

The entire five-man secondary returns led by strong safety Sam Carter (6-1, 220, Jr.) who made the All-Big 12 second unit last year. Carter had 4 INTs and broke up 10 passes in 2012. Senior cornerback Jason Verrett (5-10, 180) led the team with 6 INTs and 16 broken-up passes. The other three starters combined for 7 INTs and broke up 22 passes.

Special Teams

Special teams will be looking to replace the return men, but the kickers will be back. Punter Ethan Perry (6-4, 230, Soph.) averaged 44.5 yards per kick last year. Sophomore Jaden Oberkrom (6-3, 182) returns as placekicker and will hold down kickoff duties. Last year, he hit all 42 of his PATs, but only 22 of 30 (73 percent) field goal tries. His longest make was from 53 yards out.

Deante’ Gray (5-10, 180, Soph.) was the secondary punt return specialist in ’12. He averaged 22.4 yards on seven returns and scored once.