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February 15, 2014

The case for Foster Sawyer to start at quarterback

TCU enters 2014 with plenty of possibilities at quarterback but very little certainty.

The Frogs will bring at least five passers into camp that will get a shot to win the starting job this season. Each one has different strengths that could make him a quality starter for TCU.

The problem, however, is that there is no true frontrunner. In 2013, despite Gary Patterson's insistence that it was an open competition, the commonly held belief was that Casey Pachall would start for the Frogs because of his experience and his track record.

This Frogs have no such candidate this season. In fact, even our staff here at Rivals can't agree on who the starter will be. Over the next two days, we'll explain who each of us thinks will start for TCU this season and why.

I've made it clear for a while what my prediction is, and I've yet to see a reason to change my mind.

I believe TCU will ultimately go with incoming freshman Foster Sawyer.

Sawyer is a dynamic quarterback. He makes big, explosive plays on a regular basis. He can throw it deep, and he does so with accuracy even on the run.

Making plays on the run is something he does a lot, shrugging off potential tacklers and escaping from pressure before delivering the ball with accuracy to his receivers. He has great awareness, keeping his eyes downfield all the time and searching for the opening in the defense.

Those skills will be critical for TCU as the Frogs continue to retool their offensive line. When plays broke down last year, Trevone Boykin often didn't make it past his first read, electing to tuck the ball and run instead. That usually meant a short gain if any at all. Sawyer's approach will let receivers have a much better chance of making plays.

Which brings me to my next point: for receivers to make those plays, the quarterback has to get them the ball on time and accurately. Sawyer is, in my opinion, TCU's most accurate quarterback except perhaps Tyler Matthews. He does a great job getting the ball to his receivers in stride and doesn't throw many balls over them or behind them.

A lack of accuracy was a problem for both Pachall and Boykin last season. But with Sawyer at the helm, things should be different. Instead of balls sailing over receivers' heads or reaching them on one hop, he can get them the ball on time and give them the chance to gain yards after the catch.

Throw in his physical attributes (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and a great attitude and leadership ability, and the Frogs look to have a solid starter on their hands.

Will he really beat out three older quarterbacks as a true freshman? I think he can. Boykin has shown that wide receiver is his niche. We've heard nothing about how Zach Allen is performing in practice.

And for all the confidence that Patterson has said he has in Matthews, the fact that the redshirt freshman never got to see significant playing time in 2013 when the Frogs needed a better passing game isn't reassuring.

Sawyer will also have to outperform fellow incoming freshman Grayson Muehlstein as well. Muehlstein is a gifted athlete and probably has higher potential, but I believe Sawyer's passing is more ready for playing in the Big 12 right now.

The Frogs will be running an entirely redesigned scheme in 2014, and word is that the players are excited about the change. But I believe the changes won't stop with the playbook. I think there will be a new face of TCU football in the fall. And I believe that face will be Foster Sawyer's.


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