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Spring Ball Recap: Duggan continues to develop, skill players shine

Gary Patterson met with the media Tuesday for his second availability since the start of spring football last month. While there weren’t any earth-shattering developments to report, he did give some updates that will be of interest to TCU fans.

Max Duggan Develops:

After missing so much of the off-season work over the course of his career, junior Max Duggan is taking advantage of his first true spring experience, heading into his third year as the Horned Frogs’ starting quarterback. Of the importance of this time, Patterson said “all this we’re getting now? You can’t even measure this. The timing with the wide receivers, all of the work — it’s coming together.”

Additionally, he pointed out what kind of leader Duggan is. “He’s fantastic. He’s been unbelievable. He is the leader over there (on the offensive side), the offensive line and him have a great relationship, which is another key. He lives with a couple of them, that always helps with everything.”

One of the guys he’s connecting with, center Steve Avila, should make his job easier come fall, according to Patterson. “I think Steve Avila is going to be one of the best centers in the country, if not the best.”

How is Max throwing the ball? As good as he ever has, Patterson commented. “I thought he threw the deep ball well in fall. The older he gets, the more he’s going to do it. Depends on the day like any QB: you only get evaluated by the success rates of it. Saturdays will be when you know it the most, as I have always said.”

Running Backs and Wide Receivers Might Be Special:

I haven’t heard Patterson talk about a group of running backs quite like this. Though he has often tried to dial back the praise and is always willing to hype up some of the other players that came before, you can tell that GP knows he’s got something special in the backfield. “The running backs are very talented.”

It should help that the Frogs can put two elite targets on the outside in the now proven Quentin Johnston and the up and coming Savion Williams, and that there are three really talented players with plenty of experience in the slot. Taye Barber and JD Spielman bring tons of experience to their roles, but it’s the guy who came on in Spielman’s injury-induced absence that continues to make plays this spring. “D Davis has been out [the last few practices], but he’s having the best — as far as catching the ball and running — he’s been the best I’ve ever seen him. Very explosive, hard to handle. All three of those guys are big time plusses as we go forward.”

And converted safety/linebacker Marcel Brooks? “He’s been good, but still a lot to learn. They’ve been challenging him, but there’s been a lot of positives. Lots of really good plays — he’s very athletic.”

Tight Ends = Top Targets:

The Horned Frogs are sending two tight ends to the draft this spring, but it sounds like the position might not take that big of a step back in the fall. DJ Rogers, the former Cal commit has definitely been a bright spot. “He’s still in the learning stage but you can tell he’s talented. Like all young players, everyone is learning how to be more physical; all of that is part of the progression for us at tight end. But he shows the ability to do it all.” The group’s biggest surprise may be coming by way of Jaspar Lott, a guy that was basically a positionless player when he showed up to campus as an early-enrollee. “We weren’t sure if he was going to be a tight end or a tackle, but he’s going to stay at tight end. He’s got a lot of things going for him — great size, high ceiling.”

The MASH Unit Plays On:

Quick! Tell me right now if you know who TCU’s current “starting” cornerbacks are.

I’m waiting…

Still waiting…

“Our starting corners in the last scrimmage was Derek Reynolds and Dominique Collins. Does anyone know those names? Tre [Tomlinson] has been out and [CJ] Ceasar, we think are going to get him back in a little bit. It’s one of our ‘it is what it is’. You’ll be surprised in the fall.”

One thing that won’t be surprising in the fall is at defensive end, where returners Ochaun Mathis — who continues to “do Ochaun things” according Patterson — and Khari Coleman get better every day. But it’s a third guy that is making a big difference. “The guy that’s had the best spring is Dylan Horton. He’s pushed those guys [Ochaun and Khari] — it’s like having three starters. Colt Ellison is a lot better, a long stronger. Offensively, it’s given us a lot of looks. We will be better prepared for the season than ever because of all the different looks they can give us in the running game, too.”

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