A week into fall practice, TCU coach Gary Patterson might be getting a read on a kickoff returner.
KaVontae Turpin, a freshman receiver from Monroe, La., has turned heads on kickoff and punt return duty.
“Good player. Never gets tired,” Patterson said. “Does a little of everything. I wish I could put him on defense.”
The Horned Frogs finished last season without their best kickoff returner, B.J. Catalon, who suffered a concussion in the West Virginia game. In his place, Ranthony Texada, Kolby Listenbee, Kyle Hicks and punt returner Cameron Echols-Luper shared the work — Listenbee had a 40-yard kickoff return against Kansas State, and Texada had a 65-yard return in the Peach Bowl.
They could all be candidates to return kicks again this year, but if the Horned Frogs want to lighten their load — considering Listenbee and Texada are starters and Luper was the primary punt returner a year ago — the development of a player such as Turpin would be valuable.
With Deante’ Gray, who returned six kickoffs last year, not practicing while he recovers from knee surgery, Turpin continues to get chances.
And Patterson continues to daydream just a little.
“Forty-two-inch vertical jump; he can go play corner, and he’s way fast,” Patterson said. “He’s a good player. Tough.”
Patterson said the team is “being smart” with Josh Doctson, who is not practicing at full speed.
He declined to say why Doctson is limited.
“He’s still practicing a little bit,” Patterson said.
Doctson suffered a broken hand during spring training. He said last week at TCU Media Day that he was healthy and that the hand was actually stronger.
Also, Patterson said cornerback Torrance Mosley is going about half-speed. He is recovering from a groin injury.
Up and down LBs
Patterson said the freshmen linebackers — Mike Freeze, Alec Dunham and Ty Summers — continue to be up and down.
“Today wasn’t very good. Yesterday was better,” he said. “Freshmen. It’s going to be every day. Right now, we’re not the third-ranked team in the nation. Either side of the ball, to be honest with you.”
Patterson said it’s tough for him to evaluate practices at any position until he gets out of on-field “coordinator mode.” But he can gauge emotion, and he’s not always getting what he wants.
“You’re not going to play very good defense, especially here, if you don’t play with emotion,” he said. “We didn’t play with emotion today.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407