FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Gary Patterson had been thinking about spreading out his offense since the Horned Frogs got in the Big 12 two years ago.
After four conference losses by three points or less last year, including three losses the final month by a combined eight points to cap a 4-8 season, Patterson knew it was time for "truly a change of philosophy." He hired co-coordinators Doug Meacham from Houston and Sonny Cumbie from Texas Tech to give TCU its own version of a faster-paced spread offense so prevalent in the Big 12 and across the country.
"The point of this offense is to win," said Patterson, the longtime defensive coordinator coming off only his second losing record in 13 seasons as TCU's head coach.
While the Frogs have put up big offensive numbers in the past, and scored at least 27 points seven times last season, the changes come heading into their third Big 12 season after a dominating run in the Mountain West.
"I feel we get to better utilize the speed and the size and the talent that we have at receivers and running back," said David Porter, who had a team-high five touchdown catches last season. "I feel it was a great change, transitioning into this new offense."
Trevone Boykin last year became the first TCU player ever with to have a 200-yard passing game, 100-yard receiving game and 100-yard rushing game in the same season, and the multi-faceted quarterback could do any number of things this season. Quarterback Matt Joeckel has joined the Frogs for his final season after backing up Johnny Manziel in a similar spread offense at Texas A&M.
"As long as I'm on the field making plays ... that's all that matters," Boykin said.
Here are five things to watch for TCU this season:
DECISION TIME: With two Saturdays off the first five weeks of the season before conference play, TCU has some time to figure things out. "Your starting quarterback the first game might not be the starting quarterback five weeks from then going into the Oklahoma game, which is the first weekend in October," Patterson said. "Two off weeks to develop players. We're going to find out what that is and how we do it." TCU opens Aug. 30 against Samford, then has open weeks before and after playing Minnesota on Sept. 13.
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