Gary Patterson went back to the drawing board after TCU’s offense ranked among the Big 12’s worst in every category. He opted to retain offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie, but not without some tweaks. Patterson brought back former co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham as inside receivers coach and introduced former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill as an off-field assistant.
How exactly is the coaching structure going to work with so many diverse talents, roles and personalities?
“I don’t know. Right now it’s for me to know and everyone else to find out,” Patterson said. “And we’d know a lot more about it if we had gone through practices in the spring.”
Regardless, any improvement will ultimately rest on the young arm of quarterback Max Duggan. Despite coming to Fort Worth as a raw but talented prospect, he was thrown to the wolves as a true freshman because of depth issues. His performance was understandably erratic, but Duggan flashed star potential in performances against Texas and Texas Tech.
However, the losses around Duggan won’t make things easy. Taye Barber and Tevailance Hunt are the only returning receivers with more than 300 yards. Tight end Pro Wells is a legitimate receiving threat, but either Barber or true freshman Quentin Johnston must step up to provide Duggan a consistent safety blanket.
The offensive line was already shaky, especially after OT Lucas Niang suffered a season-ending injury. Now, three starters are gone with no clear replacements, especially at the tackle spots. Additionally, top running backs Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua are gone to the NFL. There’s plenty of reasons for optimism with now-lead backs Darwin Barlow, Daimarqua Foster and Emari Demercado, but the trio had 48 combined carries in 2019.
TCU is always going to be a defense-first program under the watchful eye of Patterson, but scoring fewer than 30 points in the final six losses looms large. The best bet is finding ways to get the most out of the quarterback position.
“It’s always been a two-year process for me, and it’s no different with Max,” Patterson said. “We’ve got to get back to what he can do well and keep maturing him so we can expand the offense.”
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