You know the news on Casey Pachall. He was arrested on suspicion of DWI early Thursday morning. There is no need to dive into his situation any further. What we do need to discuss is how this latest setback affects the Frogs on the field. Redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin will make his first collegiate start on Saturday, which means there are two areas of this TCU team that must step up if the Frogs want to remain unbeaten.
You know the old saying, "offense wins games, but defense wins championships?" This TCU defense must now take its level of play up a notch. Not only to help the offense, but because the schedule doesn't get any easier from this point forward. The Frogs defense has been incredibly efficient on third downs this season. TCU held Grambling to 21 percent on third downs, Kansas to 15 percent, Virginia to 19 percent, and SMU to 21 percent. For you non-math majors out there, that means TCU opponents are converting only on 19 percent of their third down opportunities on the year. This is a trend that needs to continue if the Frogs want to have success. Keep the opposing offense off the field. There are few things in football more disheartening than when the opponent converts on third down to keep a drive alive.
The last thing you want to do to a young quarterback is force him into making plays and having to come from behind. If the Frogs' defense can play the way we have seen Gary Patterson-led defenses play in the past, it will make Boykin's life easier, and make the game much more manageable.
Another area that must improve to make the transition to Boykin even smoother is the running game. Injuries have had a major impact on the running back situation, but TCU's rushing yards have declined in each game since the opener against Grambling. The Iowa State defense is stingy and is giving up only 98.5 yards per game. The Cyclones defensive unit will be the best TCU has seen to date. The offense must come out with an emphasis on establishing the rushing game and controlling the line of scrimmage. I guess one of the positives in this situation is that Boykin is a much better runner than Pachall. If the Frogs can get back to pounding the ball on the ground, it will take a lot of the pressure off of Boykin.
I have confidence in Trevone Boykin, but he is a redshirt freshman. If the TCU defense and rushing game can have success, it only increases Boykin's chances of succeeding. I'm a little nervous right now. That is nothing new though. I was nervous before Pachall made his first start at Baylor last season, but he came out and lit up the scoreboard. Hopefully Boykin can do the same. The pressure is off, just go out there and play.