Reports out of TCU's preseason practice camp today indicate that starting quarterback Casey Paschall, the heir apparent to departed four-year starter Andy Dalton, has missed the last three practices. Apparently, he has hurt his right (throwing) shoulder and has had and MRI, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
So he had an MRI, I think this may be more than a little bump or bruise. And it may cause more than a little bump to the Frogs' 2011 season.
Coach Patterson is saying all the right things—that it is no big deal, just a precaution, he'll be ready to go, blah, blah, blah. The fact is, however, that he injured his throwing shoulder enough to merit an MRI. 'Nuff said.
Paschall was the big question mark already. Could he replace Andy Dalton in productivity? How quickly could he mature? Could he become the leader the offense needed?
Dunno. Might not get a chance to figure it out this year, either.
Who do the Froggies have behind Paschall?
A couple of true freshmen named Matt Brown and Trevone Boykin. Gulp. Neither has been inside a major college football stadium, other than as a fan. The image of lions, gladiators and the Roman Coliseum comes to mind.
Could the Frogs stay in the Top 20 without Paschall?
Well, the schedule sure helps them out.
Sure, the Mountain West changed their game against Boise State from Fort Worth to Boise in Week 10. Other than that, however, the Mountain West is pretty weak this year. Air Force will play tough, San Diego State returns some good players (but not the coach) and that's about it.
TCU's non-conference schedule has cream-puff lower division Portland State, cream-puff Louisiana Monroe, an improving (but far from powerhouse) SMU and a mediocre-at-best Baylor.
The only real tough game is against old Mountain West foe BYU, who have decided to go it alone as an independent for a couple of years before the Big 12 comes to their senses and invites them in as a replacement for Colorado. (Since BYU has much better home and away attendance and TV ratings than the now departed Buffs, one would think it is a no-brainer. But then, we are talking about the Big 12, who cannot even count, so brains are not at the forefront of their attributes).
With no real QB but a great D, a returning 1,000-yard rusher in Ed Turner and a pretty easy schedule, do the Frogs have enough gravitas to maintain a Top 20 ranking?
This writer says no.
Without Paschall, I see them finishing 8-4 or 7-5—enough for a bowl, but not the Top 20.
BYU and Boise would beat them without Paschall and their lack of offense would leave them vulnerable to be knocked off by two or three lesser programs.
Frog fans, keep your fingers crossed. Because after Paschall, the cupboard is pretty bare.