Who'll start at QB for TCU?
MORGANTOWN - As far as Dana Holgorsen is concerned, it doesn't really matter who lines up at quarterback for the visitors Saturday when TCU visits West Virginia.
Redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin has been TCU's starter since Casey Pachall left school early this month, but he limped off the field with a knee injury in the final minutes of the Horned Frogs' 36-14 loss at Oklahoma State last weekend.
Behind Boykin is sophomore Matt Brown, who has played in five games this season but thrown just four passes.
TCU coach Gary Patterson won't say for certain that Boykin will be healthy enough to play when No. 23 West Virginia (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) hosts TCU (5-3, 2-3) in a 3 p.m. game at Mountaineer Field. When asked, his typical response is generic.
"I think he'll be all right,'' Patterson said without elaborating.
But again, to Holgorsen and the Mountaineers it probably doesn't much matter. TCU isn't going to change dramatically if Boykin does or does not play.
"We don't know if he's going to play or not. They don't know if any of our guys are going to play or not,'' Holgorsen said Tuesday. "You prepare for what's on tape. They have a good quality quarterback behind him who won a state championship in high school. I doubt they're going to be able to change their scheme in a week. Schemes are hard to switch. What you do is what you do.''
What TCU has done since Boykin took over for Pachall four games ago has been, well, mixed. Boykin adds a dimension to the offense that wasn't there with Pachall because the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder is more mobile. He's run for 252 yards and is averaging more than 6 yards per carry on his actual rushing attempts (excluding sacks).
But where Pachall completed 66 percent of his passes for an average of 237 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and just one interception, Boykin is actually averaging more passing yards since becoming a starter (262) but is completing a lower percentage (59.7) and has six picks to go along with his 10 touchdowns.
He was not good at all in the loss to Oklahoma State, going 21 for 40 for just 185 yards and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Then again, Boykin hasn't had an opportunity to throw against West Virginia's defense yet, either, which is perhaps one reason he ranks ninth out of the Big 12's 10 starting quarterbacks in passing yards. Kansas State had the worst passing attack in the league going into its game against WVU and Collin Klein completed 19 of 21 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
"He's going to be a good one,'' Holgorsen said of Boykin. "He's a great athlete with a really good arm, a dual-threat guy that's going to continue to get better and better. Anytime you play a kid at that spot as a freshman you're going to have some ups and some downs. I know he's turned the ball over a couple of times, but he's also made a bunch of plays not only in the air but can keep the play alive with his legs and still look to get the ball downfield. He's got a tremendous group of receivers he can throw to, as well.
"He's done a good job of stepping in after Pachall wasn't there anymore. He's done a good job and he's been getting better every week. And we'll be shocked if he doesn't continue to get better throughout the rest of the year.''
TCU does have another option at quarterback, but apparently Patterson doesn't want to go there. True freshman Tyler Matthews is listed third on the depth chart and was a four-star recruit after throwing for more than 6,000 yards, 62 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in his high school career in Wichita, Kan.
Would Patterson consider Matthews if Boykin isn't healthy?
"I don't know. I'm not in that situation yet,'' Patterson said. "I still have to go through two quarterbacks to do that.''
TCU isn't in Maryland's situation - the Terps have lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries since August - but with Pachall gone, Boykin limping and Brown having been returned to the position from wide receiver after Pachall left, things are pretty thin.
Still, with eight games in the books, Patterson doesn't seem to see Matthews as an option.
"With only a couple of games left, I'd probably say no,'' Patterson said. "I may play quarterback.''
BRIEFLY: Holgorsen said Tuesday that cornerback Brodrick Jenkins is practicing again after missing the Kansas State game with a knee injury.
He also confirmed that at least three defensive players who have played little or not at all this season - cornerback Avery Williams, safety Travis Bell and linebacker Jewone Snow - are officially out for the season.
"I figured we were preparing for Rutgers,'' he said, referring to the snowstorm game the Mountaineers played in Piscataway, N.J., last season. "This time last year we had the same stuff and we managed to go outside in a very tough environment at Rutgers. [There was] rain, sleet, snow, wind, chaos and a tough opponent and we went outside and did OK.
"We'll probably go outside and throw snowballs around to get used to the weather. Who knows? It's setting in, so maybe it's going to be like this on Saturday. We'll probably do some of our work inside, but ... you have to deal with weather. We're not going to panic about it.''
After all of that, Holgorsen kept the team indoors for Tuesday's entire practice.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.