FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU head coach Gary Patterson likes the depth the Horned Frogs have at quarterback.
That doesn’t mean Patterson is giving any hints about who will be under center Aug. 30 when TCU hosts Samford in the season opener.
For the second-consecutive season the Frogs are opening fall camp without a clear-cut No. 1 starter. Junior Trevone Boykin, who started seven games as a sophomore, is competing with Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel for the starting spot. And Patterson had good things to say about freshmen Foster Sawyer, Grayson Muehlstein and Zach Allen during Sunday’s media days.
One thing Patterson wouldn’t say is who is No. 1.
"Obviously quarterback you’ve got to find yourself a starter," Patterson said. "There’s no starter. Those guys (Boykin and Joeckel) will take the No. 1 reps but through the first two weeks everybody has an opportunity. We’ve got five guys who will get an opportunity to show what they’ve got."
Two of the five have already done so in a starting role.
Boykin did it for TCU last season when he started seven games while Casey Pachall was hurt. Joeckel started the season opener at A&M last year because of Johnny Manziel’s suspension and played in five games before he graduated.
While Boykin has experience playing at TCU, it’s Joeckel who may have the advantage as the season opens because of his familiarity with TCU’s new up-tempo offense. The Frogs brought in co-offensive coordinators in Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham. Cumbie, who will work with the quarterbacks, was the co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech last year under Kliff Kingsbury.
Joeckel worked under Kingsbury two seasons ago at A&M and feels like he has an idea of what’s expected out of the quarterback in this offense.
"I just want to operate," said the 6-4, 240-pound Joeckel. "I want to be successful, do my job. I know what kind of quarterback I am. I just want to be able to be the guy to distribute the ball to the right guys to make the plays. I want to be able to operate and be a leader of this team."
Joeckel knows this is his last chance to be a starter in college.
"I think I have some familiarity with the way they coach and I think that will benefit me," said Joeckel, who threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns at A&M last season. "It takes more knowledge of it. It takes more practice. You just want to be able to do it as fast as you can and have guys on the same page."
Boykin believes he can have the offense on the same page too. He’s shown flashes of that in each of the last two seasons. He started eight games as a freshman and has thrown 22 touchdown passes and for more than 3,200 yards at TCU.
He’s also done everything he can to prepare himself for this season. He’s dropped from 220 pounds to just over 200 by working out and cutting out fast food from his diet. He also has the benefit of working under Cumbie in the spring while the Frogs starting putting their new offense in after Cumbie was hired December.
One thing that could keep Boykin from winning the starting spot in Boykin himself because he’s so versatile. Even though he started seven games last year, he was also one of the team’s top rushers (313 yards) and receivers (26 catches). He was the only player in the country last season to throw for 200 yards in a game and also have 100-yard receiving and 100-yard rushing games.
Patterson said that Boykin would likely get some reps at receiver before the season starts. Boykin said he’ll play wherever he’s needed but is ready to compete for the QB job.
"It’s just my competitive nature that I’m going to come out and compete every day," Boykin said.
"Even if you have a bad day you’ve got to come out the next day with a totally different mindset. You can’t come out there and wonder what could have or what just happened. The battle with Casey I learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot from Matt just watching film. I’m just excited to get two-a-days started."