March 9, 2012

Practice report: Day 7

While TCU has several grizzled vets occupying most of the Horned Frogs' starting sports, youth has been the predominant theme after seven spring practices.

Not that youth has shown through, because as anyone who was present at the Frogs' practice on Thursday could tell, this Horned Frog team looks like it has been on the same page for an extended period of time.

Frogs coach Gary Patterson said as much post-practice and was very happy with the way his team has functioned after nearly three weeks.

"If you have effort - we'll get everything else fixed. We've got a lot of people competing for positions," Patterson said.

"What I've liked since we started spring ball is the effort," he said. "We've been physical and done the things that we needed to do.

Patterson is also pleased with his team's speed.

"We won't face anybody faster all season than what we run right now," he said. "There's not anybody faster in the Big 12…Six out of those eight guyd after a 50 minute workout ran in the 4.4s. You are not going to face anybody faster than that.

"We are a lot more physical than we were a year ago but we've got a long way to go," he said. "We're more physical than we were at this time last year - maybe than at the end of the season."

In breaking down the youth situation, Patterson had this to say: "We only have 12 seniors and 13 juniors. I mean, we've got 85 percent of our team are sophomores, freshmen and redhshirt freshmen. (The team) is not as old so you've got to keep growing up."

Several of those competing for positions are underclassmen, including linebacker Deryck Gildon, running back B.J. Catalon and receiver Kolby Listenbee.

Listenbee looked to have fantastic speed and caught a nice ball over the top that likely could have gone for a touchdown.

"He's got to get a lot stronger," Patterson said of Listenbee. "Right now he is like a branch in the wind - he gets pushed everywhere. Got to get stonger."

Catalon impressed as well, picking up several reps on Thursday, but Patterson said he still has some work to do.

"We are not getting the number one running back hurt. The young guys are playing with the twos…We're trying to grow B.J. - we know what those other three guys can do."

While Gildon looked to have a solid grasp on things in the middle, Patterson said the linebacking corps has some questions that need answers.

"Right now, I am not comfortable with any linebacker except Kenny (Cain)," he said. "They are very athletic but they have to keep learning."

Recruiting

With the Frogs' move to the Big 12, Patterson said his team may need to adjust the way it recruits.

"We think we will have to over time because we think we have to be bigger at guard and center," he said. "But to be honest, I still think it is about speed."
As far as whether he thought whether the arrests in February would affect recruiting:

"I'll tell you what I think - the longer we go, outside of football recruiting I think every sport here has a spark up because they say, 'Well, this is going to be a safe place for our kids because TCU did something about it. This is a problem everywhere.

"The people that know us - the high school coaches know us and they know how we do things. If they truly believe we are the only people that have this problem, maybe they don't want to come here because we will do something about it.

"Outside of that we are probably where we want to be."

Patterson said he believes one recruit may have shied away from the Frogs because of the ordeal.

He also said graduation rate is a large factor.

"…They all walk into my office and say they want a degree. Well look at the graduation rates and look at the difference...

"(The graduation rate) was 71 percent with us and the bottom two in the Big 12 was 44 and 49 percent…They'll say they want that but they'll still go to those schools…

"The riff was before - well they are not in the Big 12. Well now we are. So now they ask can they win in the Big 12? That's the next thing we've got to prove so it allows us to keep that chip on our shoulder and do the things that we need to do to be what we need to be.

"We don't care. You could pick us last in the Big 12, you could pick us first…Our goal has to build the best football team we could possibly build and worry about TCU and that's all we're going to worry about.


Brown a beast

If Thursday's practice was any indication, one thing Frogs fans should undoubtedly be excited to see is redshirt freshman receiver LaDarius Brown.

Brown truly is a physical specimen as he could be mistaken for a tight end upon first glance. But he's got twice the speed of a tight end and should fare well in the Frogs' offensive attack this season.



Patterson said at the moment junior Eric Tausch is the reserve player for the offensive line.

"Right now he is because of attrition," he said. "You don't have Bobby Thompson yet and there are a couple of guys that are out…He had to start at offensive tackle the other day because Dunbar couldn't practice on Tuesday. He is kind of like Spencer Thompson was last year - he knew how to play center, knew how to play guard.

"Really on an offensive line..you really want eight players…If you have eight players you're usually lucky. If you get ten then you are loaded because that just doesn't happen on the offensive line very often. Usually you have eight."

Notes
- Casey Pachall looked as though he hadn't missed a beat from last season. He had several nice balls and looked to have some chemistry with the entire WR corps

- One of the most recognizable faces in the indoor practice facility Thursday was that of Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton, who can be seen at TCU practices and in the Frogs' weight room on a regular basis. Also in attendance Thursday were New England Patriots lineman Marcus Cannon as well as 2011 Rose Bowl hero Bart Johnson.

- Tayo Fabuluje looked fantastic and performed on a high level all day Thursday. He has the perfect look and build for a left tackle.

- Cam White was limited in Thursday's practice, wearing a non-contact jersey

- Chris Hackett had one of the best plays of the day on defense, picking up a nice interception


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