Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Boykin maximizing his versatility for TCU
By Max Olson
Trevone Boykin laughs at the question, but it’s not an unfair one to ask: What positions can’t he play?
The TCU sophomore started six games at quarterback this season. He’s playing wide receiver now and caught 11 passes for 100 yards against West Virginia. Coach Gary Patterson has even floated the possibility that Boykin will start returning kicks.
And he’s fine with all of that. Boykin just wants to do whatever can he to stay on the field and help the Horned Frogs.
With Casey Pachall back starting at quarterback for TCU, Trevone Boykin is playing different roles for the Horned Frogs.
“I’m a team guy,” he said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
So, again, what other roles does Boykin have in his arsenal?
“I could probably play safety. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a good corner, though,” he said. “I don’t think I have the feet or speed for it.”
Well, what about kicking?
“I’m not really a good punter,” Boykin said. “I mean, I played it in high school. It was more of a rugby-style thing. I think I had one 60-yarder. That probably was lucky.”
He doesn’t have a punt to his name in 2013 (at least, not yet), but he does have 1,176 passing yards, 303 rushing yards, 165 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
Add up his time as quarterback and receiver and he has touched the ball on 43 percent of TCU’s offensive snaps this season. Boykin likes having the ball in his hands, and he's glad those opportunities are still coming his way even if he’s once again the backup quarterback.
Back on Oct. 4, 2012, the day he learned that Casey Pachall was out and that he was TCU’s new starting quarterback, Boykin was actually practicing at running back. That came on a Thursday, so he had one walkthrough practice to prepare for his debut.
He now has 15 starts under his belt as a Big 12 quarterback. Boykin made his last one against Texas last month before giving way to a healthy Pachall in the first quarter. As much as the young backup is a competitor, he was fine with the decision.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” Boykin said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win the game. If that was me playing receiver or me playing quarterback, it really doesn’t matter.”
And a week later, Boykin was Pachall’s go-to target at receiver against the Mountaineers. In the past decade, he’s one of only two players -- the other being Michigan’s Devin Gardner, in 2012 -- to surpass 1,000 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same season.
“He makes TCU better wherever he plays,” Patterson said.
Boykin’s roommates, receivers LaDarius Brown and David Porter, give him grief about his skills at receiver, but Boykin believes years of playing quarterback prepared him as a pass-catcher far more than he’d realized.
“Just being in the film room as Casey, we just kind of clicked,” Boykin said. “Me knowing what a quarterback wants, I was just in the right spots at the right time.”
The same could be said of his performance against Iowa State last Saturday. Boykin lined up at quarterback for five carries. He scored touchdowns on three, including the 1-yard game winner in the final minute.
That wasn’t part of the game plan going in, he said. Just a game-time decision and, evidently, a fairly successful one. Boykin doesn’t know what’s in store for him this week at Kansas State. He’s ready for anything Patterson and the coaches put on his plate.
Even if Boykin is the presumed starting quarterback entering next spring, Patterson said he’d still like to maximize his versatility in multiple roles. Boykin is talented enough to create mismatches all over the field.
That uncertainty might bother a more selfish athlete. Boykin enjoys the challenge. He’s having plenty of fun this year, even if he’s not the one behind center.
He still attends the quarterback meetings with Pachall and prepares knowing he could return to quarterback at any moment. But does he refer to himself an “athlete” now when people ask?
“I tell them I play quarterback,” Boykin said, “because that’s what’s on the roster.”
That’s not likely to change, even if the box score on Saturdays tells a different story.