- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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TCU is searching for solutions at wide receiver this spring while one of its best sits out.
Brandon Carter is not practicing while he works to get his academic affairs in order. That means extra reps for a group that will need them.
TCU coach Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he's hopeful Carter will be able to rejoin the program in August.
“If he makes his academics,” Patterson told the paper. “He’s got to pass. Why take reps away from somebody if he’s not eligible?”
If Carter is unable to get back on track, TCU would be losing one of its best playmakers as it transitions to an offense that has been described as an Oklahoma State-Texas Tech hybrid.
Carter followed up a promising 2012 season with a frustrating junior year, finishing with 370 receiving yards and no touchdowns on 31 catches. He also struggled in the return game. He took a leave of absence from the team last November to deal with personal issues and is now trying to find his way back to the field.
The offseason dismissal of receiver LaDarius Brown and the absence of Carter is forcing TCU to test its depth this spring. Leading receivers Josh Doctson and David Porter do return, but the rest will have to step up going forward. Ja'Juan Story, Kolby Listenbee and Jordan Moore, a converted running back, are all worth keeping an eye on.
“We’re going to need to just because we don’t have the numbers,” Patterson told the Star-Telegram.
If Carter can take care of his business and rejoin the program for fall camp, it'll be a major boost. TCU's returning receivers can't gain any more game experience before then, but they do have an opportunity now to load up on first-team practice reps and start proving themselves.
And as all those Oklahoma State and Texas Tech offenses have proven in the past, if the system is working and the quarterback is dealing with confidence, it might not make much of a difference who's split out. The promise of what this scheme can do for his talents ought to give Carter plenty of extra motivation to get back.