Players to Watch – TCU Horned Frogs


Coach Gary Patterson has been at the helm of the Horned Frogs to see move up from two Non-BCS conferences to finally get an invite into the Big 12. While at TCU, Patterson has become known as a defensive genius where he has accumulated into 5 conference championships and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin in 2010. This season is no different for the Horned Frogs as a young secondary in 2012 looks to mature and be the staple of the 2013 team but the return of Casey Pachall maybe the biggest boost for the Horned Frogs.

#17 – Sam Carter – S
6’1” – 215 lbs. – JR

The 2012 campaign was Carter’s first year as a starter and looked like a veteran in the defensive secondary for the Horned Frogs. Carter finished with 63 tackles, 3 sacks, four interceptions, and 6.5 tackles for a loss which earned him All-Big 12 Second Team both from the coaches and the media. A dual-threat quarterback in high school where he choose TCU over Baylor, Miami, and Louisville.

Strengths – Carter’s athleticism at the safety position to go with his ideal size are the first things that stand out when you pop in the tape to watch him play. Carter is used down in the box in the Horned Frogs defense where he uses his physical style of play to make plays between the tackles and his speed to run down ball carriers sideline to sideline. He shows great play recognition and the ability to drop into coverage and locate receivers while still being able to see the quarterback. Carter has great ball skills once the ball is in the air and is a player that will finish the play once his hands are on the ball.

Weaknesses – For being as athletic as Carter is, he shows very stiff hips and movements when dropping into coverage. He is very tight in his back pedal where he doesn’t turn and run well when players are behind him. He can be overly aggressive when attacking the line of scrimmage on run plays which causes missed open field tackles that should be routine by a safety at the next level.

Overall – There is a lot to like when watching Carter play but the first thing I noticed was his instincts. He has a natural feel from the safety position which is important when you are diagnosing pre-snap and reacting once the snap has occurred. Carter’s ability to make plays once the ball is in the air is a quality that translates well to the next level. Carter needs to become more refined in his drops and ability to turn and run but with his size, speed, and athleticism he is a player to watch in the Big 12 during the 2013 campaign.

#4 – Casey Pachall – QB
6’5” – 230 lbs. – SR

Pachall has the chance to become a golden mark in Gary Patterson’s coaching career. After failing a university drug test last February, Pachall was arrested last October for a DWI which at that point Patterson suspended him indefinitely which led to Pachall enrolling into an impatient rehab program. If Pachall can have a 2011 type season, he and Patterson will be blue-print for other coaches in helping their players. During the 2011 season, Pachall was a 2nd Team All-Mountain West Selection where he set single season TCU records in completions, completion percentage, and passing yards all after replacing TCU legend Andy Dalton.

Strengths – Pachall’s has pro-typical size for a quarterback at the next level at 6’5” and 230 pounds. He shows grit by standing the pocket until the last moment to deliver the ball and willing to take a hit. Pachall shows the ability to read defenses and put the ball where it should be thrown. He has adequate arm strength that will translate to the next level. Pachall moves well and does a great job of keeping his head up and looking for receivers down the field.

Weakness – First thing that jumped out on film was a disconnect between Pachall’s eyes and feet before he makes a throw. He relies on his arm strength and has a tendency to not throw with his lower body. The ball at times will flutter to receivers on the outside or deep.

Overall – Pachall has a lot to prove in the 2013 campaign not only on the field but off the field. He has the ability to move into the middle rounds with a good year and character references from Patterson. Pachall needs to clean up some fundamentals but possesses plus ability in reading defenses and going to the right place with the ball which is important trait when looking at a quarterback. He possesses a strong enough arm to succeed at the next level. Pachall is a favorite of mine as I like to see young men learn from their mistakes and reform their lives.