Following the first practice day with shoulder pads, head coach Gary Patterson is happy with the way his team is keeping up during hot and “pretty intense” practices.
Patterson said he was particularly happy with his younger players, especially with linebackers Paul Whitmill and Sammy Douglas.
“We’re still in our teaching phase and every day we teach [them] a whole new defense,” Patterson said. “They’re very athletic and they want to learn. That’s half the battle and we like that.”
Freshmen Cydney Calvin, Ranthony Texada and Denzel Johnson all got praise from the coach as well. Texada and Calvin, who have been taking reps as special teams returners, have been continually getting positive remarks from Patterson on their speed and work ethic.
When asked if Johnson could move to a linebacker position, Patterson clarified that Johnson will remain a safety throughout camp, citing Johnson’s size as a factor.
TCU has its first scrimmage - set to be a situational-based scrimmage - on Wednesday. Here are other highlights from Patterson’s remarks today:
Kevin White playing “best football” at TCU
Patterson said that he is highly satisfied with the way his cornerback group is working out in practice.
“Kevin White, knock on wood, might be playing the best football he’s been playing since he’s been here,” the head coach said. “Kevion Gamble and [Ranthony] Texada are other guys we’ve been really high on.”
Safeties Derrick Kindred and Chris Hackett also got praise, as Patterson said the two are getting stronger and smarter in practice.
Offensive line improving, starting positions still open
TCU’s offensive line isn’t “playing basketball” anymore. After a day in shoulder pads and helmets, the line got to do a little hitting in Saturday’s practice.
Patterson said freshman Matthew Pryor looks good, as well as James Dunbar.
Patterson did not have a specific name when asked on who is stepping up to replace Tayo Fabuluje at offensive tackle, but said it was not Halapoulivaati Vaitai at this time.
“Big V has never been the starter. He’s always been the number two guy. From what it looked like today, he’s our number two guy right now.” Patterson said.
As far as starting positions go, Patterson said Joseph Noteboom has a chance to play in the offensive line as well as Lloyd Tunstill. Patterson also said he is satisfied with the performance of lineman Michael Thompson in early fall practices.
Patterson says Noteboom has a chance to play early
Patterson didn’t have much to say about preseason rankings, but did say that TCU now has a standard to live up to.
“We have to prove people right or prove people wrong. In this case, we have to prove to people we belong,” Patterson said about the latest round of rankings.
TCU is ranked #20 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, which was released yesterday.