The 2016 college football season is right around the corner for TCU.
The Horned Frogs go into the season picked second in the Big 12 preseason poll behind defending conference champion Oklahoma.
Head coach Gary Patterson likes what he’s seen from his team going into the upcoming season.
“I thought they improved this spring, so I’m like everyone else, I’m kind of excited about this season,” said Patterson, during Monday’s Big 12 Media Day. “I’m really kind of excited to see what all unfolds because it’s easier when you have unknowns. As a head coach, I have a lot more energy and excited about this season going into it than a year ago. So we have a couple of weeks and we will get ready to get it.”
TCU will go into the season with a little momentum. The Frogs finished the regular season 11-2 overall and 7-2 in Big 12 play. They capped off the year with a wild 47-41 triple-overtime win over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
But turning the page to the present, TCU will have some holes to fill, especially at quarterback. Trevone Boykin is gone, so who will take his place under center?
“This year it will probably be Foster Sawyer and Kenny Hill,” said Patterson. “We will judge quarterbacks like we always have, whoever makes the offense better and who can lead the team and make less mistakes.”
TCU returns 13 starters (seven defensive, six offensive) from a team that finished seventh in the nation last season. It will be an opportunity for many new faces to step up and get a chance to play one the big stage.
“They feel like if a couple of things go right, they could win the conference title,” said Patterson. “I think that’s going to be important for us to understand going forward that you’ve got to win as a team. That’s what makes coaching a lot of fun is when you have a group that will do it as a group, they don’t feel like they did it with individuals.”
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TCU will be tested early with a September slate that includes South Dakota State, Arkansas and Iowa State coming to Fort Worth for the first three games of the year. After that, the Frogs travel to Dallas to face SMU.
“The last time we played SMU on a Friday night there it was one of the more physical ball games that I’ve been in since I’ve been at TCU,” added Patterson. “Our September is going to be a tough one going into the rest of the Big 12 schedule.”
The topic of Baylor in the wake of an investigation into how the school handled sexual assault allegations was a hot topic at Monday’s media day session. Both TCU and Baylor have had some great battles on the field in recent years, with Patterson and former Baylor head coach Art Briles taking part in a spirited coaching rivalry. Patterson was asked if he felt like Baylor did the right thing by letting go of Briles.
"Baylor is not my problem. TCU is my problem," said Patterson. "Number one, Baylor is a good university. They’re a good football program and they’ve got a lot of good players coming back."
TCU opens the season Sept. 3 against South Dakota State. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.