FORT WORTH —
TCU coach Gary Patterson might start both Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin.
While only one of the quarterbacks can take the first snap for the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs against No. 12 LSU, Patterson is now throwing out the possibility that both Pachall and Boykin will be on the field to open Saturday night's game.
Maybe that thought is just more gamesmanship heading into the season-opening matchup of Top 25 teams, but Pachall and Boykin will serve as offensive co-captains and both will play.
Patterson said he hasn't told the team, or even his wife, who will be the starting quarterback.
"They all know I don't need to say anything,'' Patterson said. "It's one of those things, I think they both have confidence in both guys. Both showed they can win. Both have different characteristics.''
Pachall is 15-2 as TCU's starter, including 4-0 last season before his DUI arrest and subsequently leaving school for the rest of his junior season for substance abuse treatment. Boykin won three Big 12 road games as a freshman while throwing for 2,054 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Tight end Stephen Bryant insisted that the team has no idea who will start, not that it's really a big concern to the players anyway. He said Pachall and Boykin have been splitting reps in practices and scrimmages, and doing a good job.
"I don't think it matters at all,'' Bryant said. "Either way, if Tre is in there, or Casey is in there, you know you have somebody that's going to take control and lead you.''
Neither Pachall or Boykin were made available during TCU's media session this week.
The strong-armed Pachall is TCU's career leader completing 66 percent of his passes, better than predecessor and current Cincinnati Bengals starter Andy Dalton. Pachall's 163.1 career passing efficiency mark is the best among returning active quarterbacks nationally. He was back with the team for spring drills.
Boykin was about to switch to running back for the Horned Frogs last season before Pachall's off-field issues changed that plan. Boykin was the team's third-leading rusher running for 417 yards from under center, and worked all offseason to get better throwing the ball.
"Before the season is over, I think it's going to be a certain kind of quarterback to beat certain teams, it's going to take a certain kind of quarterback to beat others,'' Patterson said. "Either you're going to beat them with your legs, or beat them with your arm. ... If we're not protecting very well, it's better to have a guy who can get away from all that stuff.''
Again, Patterson wasn't specific and has repeatedly said Pachall and Boykin can both lead the Frogs their arms and legs.
"The key is if one is having a bad day, a year ago, (we) didn't really have a choice,'' he said.
Patterson seems to be enjoying the ongoing questions from those outside the team about whether Pachall or Boykin will start.
The coach said it's not a big issue with the players because of how the situation has been handled internally with the team. There is also the benefit of how Pachall and Boykin have come together.
"I'm not sure a year ago that Casey and Trevone had a relationship, and now I think they're very close. I see them joking all the time, and doing things,'' Patterson said. "It's something where I think we've built chemistry because inside of our walls we haven't made a big deal about it.''