I decided to change things up a bit this week by dividing the preview into three parts rather than two. This is the first. I should have the second, which will focus on TCU's offense versus our defense, tonight or tomorrow morning. Look for that.
Before about a week ago, the first name on this list would be obvious: Casey Pachall. He was the straw that stirred the drink (no pun intended, I promise) for the TCU offense, and with the way our defense plays, their offense would have been enough to scare me... at least before they got the butterfingers and couldn't hold on to the ball. Now that he's joining Waymon James and at least one other running back whose name I can't remember on the sideline (not the literal sideline, since he's actually out of school entirely), we obviously don't have to worry about him. We start, however, with his replacement.
1. Trevone Boykin -- QB -- #2. Listed at a generous 6-2, 215 pounds, Boykin is a redshirt freshman (part of the 2011 recruiting class) dual-threat QB from West Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas. Coming out, Boykin was ranked 24th in the country by Rivals in terms of dual-threat QBs and graded as a 3* 5.6 player. He committed to TCU the June before his senior year and never wavered, a fact that probably explains why his profile only shows offers from TCU and UTEP. Interestingly, his profile there also shows him as being 6-1, not 6-2, and I think that's more likely the case. He's not an overly tall quarterback and I think there's some fudging going on with TCU's measurement there. It probably doesn't matter.
Boykin is the classic dual-threat QB in that he has good speed (4.5 in the 40) and a relatively underdeveloped arm. He is athletic enough that TCU apparently considered using him as a running back after their injuries in that department this season, and his legs are something worth watching as evidenced by this 34-yard run against Grambling State. Sure, it's Grambling State, but you can see the elusiveness in the open field and the running style that might make them think he could be useful as a RB behind Pachall. He also did it against Virginia on a zone read that should look extremely familiar to Baylor fans. Against Iowa State, TCU tried to take advantage with him in the starting QB role to the tune of 14 carries for 39 yards. Having watched that game, their failure to do so was more a result of the Cyclone defense and a porous TCU OL than it was Boykin's inability. All in all, I'd characterize Boykin at this point as a poor man's Robert Griffin III; he's a step slower and doesn't have quite the arm, but he can make plays with his legs and shows what looks to be above-average elusiveness. For a team that has trouble getting to the QB as it is, that ... could be a problem. It could also be a problem that Boykin has two extremely good receivers at his disposal. It should be noted that against ISU he had significant cramping problems. I'm not sure what that's about.
2. Josh Boyce -- WR -- #82. I struggled initially with which WR of the two to list first here, but I went with Boyce primarily because of his age, size, and the fact that Baylor fans might remember him from what he did to us last year in our 50-48 win. In that game, Boyce caught 9 Pachall passes for 96 yards, a TD, and the two-point conversion that got the Frogs back to an 8-point deficit. Carter's junior season has probably been a bit disappointing to him in that he is only second on the team in receiving yards (22 for 296, a 13.5 average) and touchdowns (3), but TCU's offense as a whole has been disappointing relative to their talent. Boyce is a big part of that talent and at 6-0, 203 pounds he is the largest established target Boykins will have on the field on Saturday. I'm sure TCU hopes that he will be Stedman Bailey to Brandon Carter's Tavon Austin. Speaking of Brandon Carter...
3. Brandon Carter -- WR -- #3. TCU's leading receiver, primary downfield threat, and a complementary player next to Josh Boyce, Carter is a frightening talent to opposing defensive coordinators. He's got good hands and, at only 5-11, 161 pounds, is very similar to our own Tevin Reese. Carter caught 9 passes for 94 yards and no TDs against Iowa State last week, a performance highlighted by this catch on a Boykins scramble. Carter barely saw any action at all last season, when he was a redshirt freshman, but has been TCU's best receiver so far. I'm sure spending time with Boykins last year on the second team offense gave the two more familiarity with each other than the young QB has with other players around him, so we might expect him to target Carter more often as a result.
4. Aundre Catalon -- RB -- #30/23. I have no idea which of TCU's two remaining RBs will start on Saturday so I amalgamated both as one person. The two in question are Aundre Dean (#30), a senior transfer from UCLA, and B.J. Catalon, a true freshman from Houston, Texas. Catalon is probably more known to Baylor fans because he was committed to us at one point for the 2012 class before decommitting and joining the Frogs. Oh well. Dean and Catalon are complementary backs with Dean the bigger power back at 6-0, 215 and Catalon the smaller at 5-9, 185. Since James went down the carries for Dean and Catalon have been split about 2:3, and Catalon has almost certainly been the better back despite Dean's pedigree. Against Iowa State Catalon carried the ball 13 times for 86 yards while Dean gathered 53 yards on 12 carries. Boykin added 14 carries of his own as I noted above as part of a team-wide 43 rushing attempts. I would expect that against Baylor we'll see the same type of dedication to the run in an attempt to take pressure off Boykin in the passing game. Rushing touchdowns have been in short supply for both players of these players so far this season -- neither has one-- but that's emblematic of the TCU offense in general. Their entire team only has 4 rushing TDs.
5. Devonte Fields -- DE -- #95. Because I had to include at least one defensive player, I chose the true freshman Devonte Fields, the highest-ranked recruit in TCU's 2012 recruiting class out of Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. Fields had offers from just about everybody in-state as a 4* recruit and has shown why this season as an absolute beast of a pass rusher. All he's done is tie for the conference lead with 9.5 tackles for loss through 5 games and trails only UT's Alex Okafor with 5.5 sacks in the same time frame. Okafor has 6. From what I can tell, Fields lines up mostly on the defensive right side, so he'll be matched against LT Spencer Drango, and that should be an extremely fun battle to watch. Getting Fields blocked will be the biggest challenge against an undermanned defensive line for the Frogs. He has at least half a sack in every game and has basically been what I hoped Javonte Magee would be so far this season.