TCU, WVU relying heavily on freshmen
College Football Videos
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The two newest members in the Big 12 Conference are catching their second wind approaching Saturday's 3 p.m. game at Milan Puskar Stadium.
For West Virginia (5-2, 2-2) and TCU (5-3, 2-3), the paths taken are eerily similar: fast starts followed by recent slumps.
Both teams are nursing two-game losing streaks.
Due to injuries and a lack of depth, both teams also have seen more freshmen pressed into action.
West Virginia played a season-high nine freshmen on defense in a 55-14 loss to Kansas State. At TCU, more true freshman have played (16) than scholarship seniors (11).
“We knew the biggest thing was going to be depth,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said.
“As coaches, we all like to redshirt kids,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “A couple things happened, though. We've had to play freshmen because there wasn't anybody else.”
WVU's inability to rally against Kansas State and Texas Tech indicates a lack of experience.
“We got off to a hot start, but we had some issues that a pretty good Texas Tech team and a real good Kansas State team exposed a little bit,” Holgorsen said.
Offensively, true freshmen Jordan Thompson and Tavares Copeland have started at receiver for WVU. Redshirt freshman Cody Clay is a backup fullback.
Nine freshmen are listed on this week's two-deep depth chart on defense. Three of them, inside linebacker Isaiah Bruce (team-high 66 tackles) and defensive backs Karl Joseph (second in tackles and pass breakups) and Nana Kyeremeh, are starters.
“We've got a strange combination of a bunch of kids that want to finish the year strong, that want to keep winning, that want to get into a good bowl game,” Holgorsen said. “Then there's a bunch of young kids that don't understand it yet.”
TCU is tied with LSU and North Carolina for the D-I lead with 28 combined true and redshirt freshmen receiving playing time this season.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin is 1-3 as a starter. He is the first player in school history to throw four touchdown passes in back-to-back games. Boykin replaced junior Casey Pachall, who left school to enter a drug and alcohol treatment facility following his arrest on drunk driving charges.
While TCU true freshman defensive end Devonte Fields leads the Big 12 in sacks and tackles for loss and true freshman running back B.J. Catalon leads the team in rushing, linebacker Kenny Cain is the lone senior to start and receive playing time on defense.
“The biggest thing we're learning is you'd like to play with older players your first year in the Big 12 than younger players,” Patterson said.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.