QB uncertainty no big deal for TCU

Will Trevone Boykin get the starting nod?

Charlie Neibergall/AP

FORT WORTH, Texas – The TCU Horned Frogs will debut their new offense Saturday against Samford with a veteran quarterback under center.

Whether it will be junior Trevone Boykin or senior Matt Joeckel won’t be known until 6 p.m. when the Frogs take the field at Amon Carter Stadium.

Head coach Gary Patterson knows which of the two will start the game, but didn’t divulge that information during Tuesday’s media luncheon. He said that one of the quarterbacks looked better in practice and the other in scrimmages. Saturday whoever was better in scrimmages will make the start but Patterson made it clear both will play against Samford and then could be the case throughout the early part of the season.

"For us they’ll both play," Patterson said. "For an opportunity for who starts, we’ll let Samford figure that out. They both did well."

Boykin has the advantage of knowing the expectations at TCU as he’s in his third season of playing in the program. Joeckel may have a better knowledge of the system. New co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham installed a similar offense to the Air Raid that Joeckel worked in at Texas A&M where he was a backup to Johnny Manziel.

While starting is important, both downplayed that Tuesday.

"It will make us more prepared as a team with two guys preparing as if they’re the starter," said Joeckel, who is in graduate school at TCU after completing his undergraduate work at A&M. "We’re going to do a lot of good things. I came here with nothing to lose. I’ve just got one year left and I’m going to make the best out of it and give everything I’ve got."

Boykin’s ready to give everything he’s got too, just like he has the last two seasons. He was in a similar position last year when he battled with Casey Pachall for the starting spot and both of them took the field for the first play of the opener against TCU, with Boykin lining up at wide receiver.

He replaced Pachall when Pachall got injured last season and also saw time at wide receiver. He was expected to see some time at wide receiver in camp this year but that didn’t happen. While he knows he could play wide receiver if needed, he’d prefer to be the QB.

"Me and Matt have been competing and we’ve pushed each other and brought the best out of each other," said Boykin, who was the only player in the country last year to have a 300-yard passing game, 100-yard rushing game and 100-yard receiving game in the same season. "At the end of the day it’s ultimately up to the coaches so I’m not worried about it. The best guy will play."

Boykin said he doesn’t think it matters who starts Saturday because the goal is to find out who the best quarterback for the team is. That might not come until the Frogs face Minnesota or SMU in a September that also includes two by weeks.

Patterson is fine with that too. He also believes the quarterbacks have made the team better, which is just as important as finding out who takes the first snap Saturday.

"They both complement each other," Patterson said. "Matt (Joeckel) coming in really raised the bar with learning the offense. It gave us an opportunity to know there was a competition. In the spring, Trevone (Boykin) lost 20 pounds. You’re not going to find a better-looking guy when he’s running around. They both understand there was a competition level."