March 29, 2012

Thursday practice report

For all the talk about whether or not TCU has depth at linebacker, things took another turn on Thursday when Frogs coach Gary Patterson said redshirt freshman Laderice Sanders would be making the switch from defense to offense.

Patterson said the Frogs are going to try the second-year player from Arlington at fullback.

"He wasn't close where we needed him at linebacker," Patterson said. "We need a bang fullback so right now we will see if he can find a role."

Patterson has been high on sophomores Joel Halsley and Danny Heiss and the former Aledo standouts could see some serious playing time this fall.

"Now they are in the position where they've got to get more reps and more reps," Patterson said.

On how the duo is making reads, Patterson had this to say: "We'll find out. We are going to play some people who throw the ball pretty well in these next 13 ball games."

Sophomore Deryck Gildon seemed to have a solid grasp on the middle linebacker spot when camp opened but Patterson has said the player from Arlington has had a few problems along the way.

Patterson said on Thursday that Gildon is still running with the first team "right now".

"You guys know how I am in the spring - it's always hard to tell. You can only tell through scrimmages and we'll see how they play on Saturday."

Team leaders

Patterson has had some big-time leaders on his defense over the past several seasons, including departed linebacker Tank Carder, and he said on Thursday that the team is still looking for players to fill that role.

"I don't think we're there yet," Patterson said. "I think we have a couple but especially defensively we've got to keep stepping up in that category. We've got to keep growing.

"I don't know if anybody has done a great job (at being a leader). Kenny Cain a little bit. Antonio (Graves) a little bit, probably Ross Forest a little bit but you're going to have a lot more than that for us to be what we want to be. Because we'll have controversy in ball games. You've got some very good offenses - how are you going to handle and make plays and how are you going to respond?"

Patterson said one benefit his team possesses is solid and fast receivers, which makes good practice for his secondary and leaders.

Practice Notes

- On Tuesday, Patterson praised offensive lineman Eric Tausch for his ability to step in and fill the roles of several injured linemen. He echoed those sentiments on Thursday.

"He's playing center, he's starting at tackle at some when Fabuluje hasn't been in, he's flip-flopped both of them," Patterson said. "So when you get five starters you've got six (including) Tausch."

- When asked if Antonio Graves, who has made nearly as many positions moves a player can make, would stay at strong safety, Patterson said: "Unless his mom comes and gets him."

- Patterson said defensive tackle Davion Pierson got reps with the first and second teams today: "With David Johnson out, he doesn't have a choice.

- Here's what Patterson had to say about Thursday's practice overall: "Defensively, we didn't start as fast as we started on Tuesday but it was good competition. Still we had too many turnovers on offense and defensively we gave up a couple big plays.

"We went through everything - we went through two-minute, goal line, red zone, first downs, third downs, man blitz, zone blitz. And today we had an emphasis period where offense worked on a couple of defenses we needed to get a look (at). And defensively we worked on our first four opponents and a couple plays from each team that we think gives us a problem.

- On injured offensive linemen Michael Thompson and Bobby Thompson, Patterson said: "Both of them are back working out, there just not practicing."

- Patterson said offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje made it back from Utah after his flight was delayed Tuesday and practiced with the team on Thursday.

- On backup quarterbacks Trevone Boykin and Matt Brown: "Our goal on (next) Tuesday will be to get to get both those guys most of the reps. We've just got to keep growing them up. It's really as much us learning about them and what we can do with them and what they can do and how much they know.

We've got to get them more game-time experience. We won't take their (non-contact) jerseys off them in the next two scrimmages like we did the last two. In the last one, one got a concussion and the other bruised up his arm. We've got to keep them healthier now.

- Patterson said the team worked on going against Air Force's offense so the Frogs could get looks of what that kind of offense as well as the Pistol would look like.

- On the weak safety position: "I am not happy with that position yet at all by either one of them. I'm glad we have three more safeties and Quincy (Aldridge) will be back so you'll have four more safeties."


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