Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A tradition of winning football games has
be built in Fort Worth over the years.
The charge has been led, for the most part, by dominating defensive efforts,
but more recently the quarterback play at TCU has been equally impressive.
Andy Dalton parlayed his time in Fort Worth into a starting gig in the NFL
with the Cincinnati Bengals and is one of the rising stars in the NFL.
Following his departure from TCU, Casey Pachall stepped in and more than
filled the void.
In his first season as a starter in 2011, Pachall set single-season school
records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and passing yards
(2,921), while ranking 12th nationally in pass efficiency (157.98).
An encore performance was expected in 2012 and it certainly looked optimistic
for TCU early on in its first season in the Big 12.
Pachall was red hot to start the year, completing 66 percent of his throws,
for 948 yards, with 10 touchdowns and just one interception over a four-game
span. The Horned Frogs were on a serious roll, with a nation's best 12-game
win streak overall and a NCAA-best 25-game conference win streak in tow.
That all came to a crashing halt when Pachall was arrested for a DWI in early
October, bringing to light a serious problem the star quarterback was
battling. Head coach Gary Patterson immediately suspended his star
quarterback, who was already spiraling downward with substance abuse
issues prior to the arrest, as news of a failed drug test and admitted drug
use were already out there.
On the field, the Horned Frogs faltered the rest of way, as a 4-0 start to the
2012 campaign turned into a 7-6 campaign when all was said and done. Freshman
quarterback Trevone Boykin was forced into action and did some nice things,
just not enough consistently to make TCU a factor in its new conference.
Meanwhile, instead of becoming more of a distraction to the team, Pachall
withdrew from school and got himself some help, entering a rehab facility.
Upon completion of the program, he returned to the school and the football
program, where according to Patterson, he has done everything asked and
expected of him.
Patterson is confident in both the decision he made for both the program and
Pachall last fall and shared those thoughts at the recent Big 12 media event.
"The best part about it, what people forget is that they're somebody's kid.
They have a mom and dad that do things" said Patterson. "When he came back in
the spring, to see the color back in his face, the conversations we had that
we weren't having when he left, to me, told me right away that we'd done the
However, nothing has been handed to Pachall, and any playing time this
fall will be earned.
"I think having a two-quarterback situation that we feel like we have two
quarterbacks now that can go win ball games in the Big 12 is a positive as far
as the pressure type and go forward," said Patterson.
"Casey is a very talented young man. How he handles everything he does will be
an indication of how well we do in the Big 12 Conference," Patterson said.
"If you want to play well in the Big 12, you've got to play well at
quarterback. Even last year, when Trevone played well, we won. When he didn't
play well, we lost, and you've got to play good defense. So having Casey
Pachall back, I think he was the number one ranked quarterback after four game
when we set him aside, I think tells you when he comes back and plays at that
level, it gives us a better chance to win."
Pachall decided not to attend the feeding frenzy of the recent Big 12 media
event, but he did step up and run the gauntlet this week at a press conference
set up by TCU.
"I've matured a lot, Pachall said. "Everything that has happened has really
humbled me and helped me out as far as my mentality. Everything that's
happened has happened for a reason and I understand that now. I'm actually
very grateful for it now."
Pachall also addressed how his return to the program was received.
"Initially I didn't say too much, but at the same time I could tell by the
look in their eyes they didn't have too much judgement. But I knew at the same
time that I had let them down. Coming back wasn't too much what I needed to
say, it was what I needed to do. From that point on it was just a mentality
that I had to have on and off the field to prove to them that they could trust
me and I could be their leader."
He jumped over another major hurdle in addressing the media this week, as
further avoidance of the issues could have lingered into the season.
It's hard to imagine a scenario football-wise, where Pachall doesn't earn the
starting job this fall. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, with an NFL-caliber arm,
Pachall still has a professional career in his future should he continue down
the straight and narrow.
"I'm doing everything that is set forth for me and I'm going to keep doing
that and no matter what anybody has to say negative or positive, I can only
control myself and control what I do and that's what's going to keep me going
forward," said Pachall.
If that is truly the case, TCU football has a real shot at the Big 12 title in
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