Five takeaways from TCU football’s first week of training camp

UPDATED AUGUST 05, 2023 2:49 PM
TCU concluded the first week of fall camp with practice No. 4 on Saturday.
The physicality of the practices have begun to intensify, and the groundwork is being laid for crucial position battles that will play out over the next couple of weeks.
The biggest revelation from Saturday is that Chance Nolan is no longer with the team. The Oregon State transfer joined the Horned Frogs in late April and went through the first two days of fall camp, but Nolan wasn’t at practice Friday or Saturday.
The coaching staff was hopeful that Nolan would be the perfect depth quarterback, one that has experience but was old enough to not throw off the future of the room (Josh Hoover and Aledo commit Hauss Hejny).
Now, former Allen star quarterback Grant Tisdale has taken over as the third string quarterback. Tisdale played at Ole Miss and Southeastern Louisiana before joining TCU.
It’s notable news, but it doesn’t change the outlook of the Horned Frogs’ season much. If Chandler Morris and Hoover got hurt, TCU was always going to be in major trouble.
Here are more quick takeaways from the first week of fall camp for TCU:
O-LINE SHUFFLE CONTINUES
The first week of practice was about trying different combinations up front. John Lanz, a projected starter at guard or center, didn’t practice this week and Brandon Coleman was held out of 11-on-11 Friday, but participated on Saturday.
Those small injuries were another reason TCU hasn’t been afraid to move pieces around. Maryland transfer Coltin Deery has seen a lot of the reps at center, while Willis Patrick has jumped around from guard to center. Michael Nichols has held down the right tackle spot while Coleman and Andrew Coker have spent time at guard along with tackle.
Garrett Hayes is another player that’s gotten some first teams reps at guard. So far, the offensive line has performed adequately in camp. There was a good push up front on Saturday during the first portion of 11-on-11, but the unit is still a work in progress as they wait for Lanz to get healthier.
OBIAZOR’S STOCK UP
In my linebacker preview piece, I anticipated TCU moving Shad Banks from middle linebacker to the position that Dee Winters played last season. Consider that one wrong — Namdi Obiazor looks to have the inside track to be this year’s Winters.
The former safety continued his solid fall camp with another tackle for loss in 11-on-11 and a few more tackles to boot on Saturday. His athleticism has jumped out on the field, and it’s easy to see why the staff decided to make that move in the spring.
SKILL POSITION BATTLES
It’s still been Emani Bailey and Trey Sanders battling it out at running back. Through two days, Bailey has made a few more plays. His vision and ability to accelerate quickly through the hole make him an intriguing option at running back. It should be noted the team has tried to avoid bringing players to the ground during 11-on-11, at least for the open portion when the media is present.
At receiver, could Cordale Russell become a starter earlier than expected? Through the first week, the highly recruited receiver was the most productive, whether he was going against the first or second team defense. Russell is a load to bring down after the catch and reminds me a bit of a taller running back when the ball is in his hands.
Savion Williams and JP Richardson will still likely be starters at the X and slot receiver positions. Arkansas transfer Warren Thompson has started at the Z, in front of Russell, but it’ll be interesting to see if that changes once Russell is out of his red no-contact jersey.
At cornerback, Florida transfer Avery Helm continues to take all the first team reps in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 and looks to have a head start on starting alongside Josh Newton. Speaking of Newton, he was fantastic during Friday’s practice with a pass break-up and a hit stick tackle that knocked a player’s helmet off.
RECRUITING WINS KEEP PILING UP
Just because fall camp started doesn’t mean recruiting stops. The Horned Frogs picked up three commitments on the recruiting trail this week.
The first was Wesley Harvey, a massive three-star offensive tackle from Muskogee, Oklahoma. The 6-foot-7 lineman held offers from Houston, Memphis and Tulane among others.
The next was three-star offensive tackle Mitch Hodnett. The Louisiana lineman committed to TCU on Thursday over offers from Oklahoma State and Kansas State among others.
Finally, TCU added another Oklahoma commitment by landing athlete LaDainian Fields, who projects to play defensive back at the next level. Fields is 6’1, 170 pounds and picked the Horned Frogs over Washington, Washington State and San Diego State.
The Horned Frogs now have 16 commits for the Class of 2024. TCU resumes fall camp on Monday for practice No. 5.
This story was originally
Published August 5, 2023, 2:07 PM.

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