Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Questions revisited: #8

Over the years, Coach Patterson has extolled the virtues of having players graduate from high school or junior college a semester early to enroll in the spring and take part in offseason workouts and spring practice with the team before their first season with the Frogs. Guys like Casey Pachall, Josh Boyce and Deryck Gildon have all benefited from an early start to their college careers, and the #8 question heading into spring practice was about the four newcomers on this year's spring roster.

The big question with any first-year player on the roster is "will he redshirt or not?". A good portion of the time, that actually ends up having very little to do with the players' own ability as much as it does the need at his position. Of the four newbies on this spring's roster (QB Tyler Matthews, RB B.J. Catalon, WR Kolby Listenbee and CB Keivon Gamble), it looks as though we've got at least one definite redshirt and one that will be, according to GP, contributing as a true freshman in the fall.

Matthews, because he was a U.S. Army All-American at the highest-profile position on the field, certainly garnered the most attention of the four. And it seems as though he's created the least amount of public mention by Patterson of the four- although he did make mention of him having made a lot of progress in the last few practice sessions. Because it appears likely that he will not be challenging Matt Brown or Trevone Boykin this year, a redshirt season is all but certain for Matthews. Pachall, Dalton, Ballard and Gunn all redshirted as true freshmen under Patterson- so perhaps that's a good thing.

Listenbee, the former quarterback from Arlington Bowie that was recruited to TCU as an "athlete", appears to have found his place at wide receiver. There were only eight scholarship receivers on the roster this spring, giving him a chance to get plenty of reps that younger players may not always have available to them. Patterson praised Listenbee's speed and at one point was asked point-blank if Listenbee would play this fall. He responded "yes".

B.J. Catalon steps into the toughest situation of all, as the Frogs return all of their superb running backs from a year ago. There weren't enough hand-offs to go around last fall, so it seems like a safe assumption that a true freshman wouldn't be able to crack that rotation. I wouldn't be so sure, though. On numerous occasions, Patterson praised Catalon's work ethic and the lower-body strength he already possesses. Personally, I'd love to see Catalon redshirted to save his enormous potential productivity for further down the road after the current star backs graduate...but I have a feeling that he'll have every opportunity to earn playing time this fall and will get it if he is deemed to deserve it.

Keivon Gamble, the JUCO transfer, has the opportunity to add much-needed depth at corner. Patterson mentioned in one report that Gamble was really coming on and that he is currently the team's 5th-best cornerback. That is a position that really tests GP's patience, though, judging by the very short leash he afforded some of the CBs last season. I'd say there's plenty of room in the rotation for five guys at this point, but we'll have to wait and see for sure.

No comments: