TCU Smart to Keep Starting QB a Secret Until Start of LSU Game

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2013

Loose lips sink ships, and Gary Patterson can't afford for his vessel to capsize this early. So he's employing a tight-lipped approach to his team's quarterback battle between Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin.

According to Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TCU won't announce either QB as the starter before playing LSU in Week 1:

"We won’t tell LSU who that guy is going to be until we play," Patterson said Sunday. "You won’t know until he runs out on the field in the first huddle on game day."

"Especially in a first ballgame," he said. "If there’s differences in styles, then it hurts your football team if you’re going to go out and tell people, even if you know. You want those guys to prepare for both, because it’s a lot different preparing for Casey Pachall than it is for Trevone Boykin."

Patterson's coyness follows a Big 12 trend this offseason. Only four of the conference's 10 teams have a surefire No. 1 quarterback, while Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia join TCU in the class of TBD.

But what Patterson is doing, though infuriating to those who demand information, is actually quite smart. No NCAA rule dictates how clear he needs to make his depth chart. A little game of deception might give TCU a small advantage—and against LSU, a team that almost always holds the advantage, passing up that opportunity seems reckless.

For what it's worth, Pachall is the presumed favorite to win the job. He's won all of his past 12 starts but left the team to enter rehab after TCU started 4-0 last season. Boykin relieved him against Iowa State and promptly blew the Frogs' winning streak, but he improved as the season went on, making him a plausible candidate to start in 2013.

Pachall is a gun-slinging vertical passer while Boykin makes timing throws and scrambles. Their styles contrast diametrically, alluding to what Patterson said about making LSU prepare for both.

The Tigers lost six players from last year's starting front seven, so preparing for a quality Week 1 opponent was already presumed difficult. But now they have to game-plan for two completely different offenses, lest they be burned by the QB they didn't study.

Even if Patterson himself already knows the starter, there's no reason for him to play his hand face-up. He can bluff and bluff and blow the Tigers' house down with proper discretion. The Freedom of Information Act hasn't infiltrated college football, so why release your private information to the public?

Why compromise the element of surprise?