Analyzing TCU QB Trevone Boykin

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The talented redshirt freshman poses problems for both Texas and TCU. How can we exploit the inexperience of TCU's talented youngster?

Trevone Boykin was pressed into action against Iowa State after TCU starting QB Casey Pachall admitting to partying like an 11 year old Drew Barrymore, and he's shown good and bad since taking the starting role. TCU's inability to consistently run the ball, lapses in pass protection (they've allowed 22 sacks on the season, 12 in their L4 games), and Horned Frog game plans placing too much of the offensive outcome on a redshirt freshman's shoulders, have meant an average TCU offense and a mixed bag of performance for Boykin. And TCU frustration at their inability to adequately exploit a gifted WR corps.

Boykin, the Passer

Boykin has a live arm, but his inexperience means he can struggle to throw the ball accurately to hot routes against the blitz and he struggles with accuracy in general. When he's comfortable, throwing on time, to an early read, he throws good balls and he's solid when he can throw on the run with squared shoulders.

His season stats:

#2A Boykin, Trevone Comp-Att-Int Pct Yards TD Long Sack-Yds Effic
Grambling State 8-8-0 100.0 75 1 18 0-0 220.00
Virginia 0-1-0 0.0 0 0 0 0-0 0.00
SMU 1-1-0 100.0 -1 0 0 0-0 91.60
Iowa State 23-40-3 57.5 270 1 33 3-24 107.45
Baylor 22-30-0 73.3 261 4 43 2-17 190.41
Texas Tech 26-44-2 59.1 332 4 60 2-12 143.38
Oklahoma State 21-40-1 52.5 185 1 22 2-9 94.60
West Virginia 12-29-1 41.4 254 2 94 3-26 130.81
Kansas State 17-30-1 56.7 164 1 27 5-40 106.92
TOTALS 130-223-8 58.3 1540 14 94 17-128 129.85

The most notable takeaways:

  1. 8 interceptions in 223 passing attempts. As a starting QB, 3.8% of his pass attempts are intercepted. Anything over 3% is a red flag.
  2. Boykin's 58.3% completion rate isn't awful since TCU likes to get the ball downfield, but in his last four games, he's at 53.1% and a very poor 6.5 Yards Per Attempt. And they're not getting the ball downfield. As defensive coordinators get more film on what Boykin can and can't do, he's trending downward. Manny Diaz has two weeks to absorb the lessons of the last four weeks both with respect to TCU and self-scouting his own defense.
  3. Over that same four game period (TCU is 1-3 over that stretch), the Frogs surrendered 12 sacks. Protection issues combined with Boykin's tendency to hold onto the ball and try to extend plays into infinity.

Boykin, the Runner

Trevone is a strong 6-1, 215 and he has a good set of wheels. He'll run right through arm tackles. TCU employs him in the running game and it's clear that his 2nd or 3rd read in the passing game is Screw It, Trevone Gonna Run This. He currently has 93 carries for 267 yards and 2 TDs and though those numbers are modest, they also include sack yardage and negative yardage run plays. Back out his negative numbers and Boykin's Positive Run Average is well over 6 yards per carry.

That spells trouble for a Texas defense that struggles against the run and running QBs, but it also spells trouble for TCU. Because every time they run Boykin, they're that much more likely to hurt their QB.

Boykin has already sustained injuries to his shoulder and knee. Against KSU, TCU came out in a 4-5 WR offense hoping to exploit TCU's WR corps matched against the Wildcat nickel personnel, but instead found that KSU gladly exchanged free hits on Boykin for short gains. Texas fans should be familiar with this concept - it was the Greg Davis math of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. KSU sacked Boykin five times, hurt him early, and though Boykin returned and gutted it out, he never really had a chance, and the shoulder injury clearly affected his throwing.

Lessons

Diaz has a big opportunity to shut down the TCU offense with two weeks of preparation, a QB without the use of a full audible package, and some pretty clear direction provided by previous opponents. Tech, WVU, OSU, and KSU represent a pretty good cross section of defenses ranging from terrible to above average to good. Though Boykin is better than Jantz, TCU's offense is basically just Iowa State if they had really dangerous WRs. If Texas can play the run with any credibility and avoid stupid calls that allow one play, 60 yard touchdown strikes, 3rd down is a problem for Boykin and the Horned Frogs.

Denying Boykin of early reads along with pressure should create turnovers, sacks, or passes skipped at receiver's feet and on 3rd and long, he should be fairly easy to lure into sucker reads where we give the appearance of a big blitz, provide an open slot WR to hit, and then layer three defenders between the pass catcher and the 1st down marker. Though Boykin can use his scrambling ability and arm to hurt us, we want him breaking the pocket in frustration trying to make things happen - particularly if we'll use our DL as pocket constraints and an extra man safety or LB as the late force. We want hits on Boykin.

That also means putting hits on Boykin in the option, even if at the expense of a gain.

In sum, given the amount of TCU offense Boykin is being asked to carry, the easily emulated tactics laid out by previous TCU opponents, and the inability of the TCU offense to do much about it in the running game (L4, 133 yards per game rushing, 3.6 Yard per carry), are a blueprint for a strong performance at home. Boykin has the potential to be a very good college QB (and 2013 TCU will be salty), but as Texas fans learned last year with David Ash, QBs pressed into early duty rarely thrive without great supporting personnel.






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