After missing the last five games with a broken left arm sustained in early September against Southeastern Louisiana, TCU Horned Frogs senior quarterback Casey Pachall could return against the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson wasn't willing to provide much information on Monday, however, as he asked during the Big 12 conference call, "Why would I tell Texas to get ready for Casey Pachall?"
Still, speculation has increased in recent days that Pachall could return this week, a potential boost to an offense that has been struggling so much that TCU fans are calling for co-offensive coordinator Jarrett Anderson to be relieved of his duties. Unfortunately, the issues may run deeper than the play calling, as the offensive line has been poor whether blocking for the run or the pass and the wide receivers have often provided little help to Pachall's replacement, sophomore Trevone Boykin.
Boykin himself has thrown seven interceptions against only five touchdown passes and has competed only 58.8% of his passes this year. With an adjusted QBR of 44.6, he's has been performing at a below-average level this and was benched briefly against Oklahoma State in favor of redshirt freshman Tyler Mathews.
The Kansas native has not yet completed a pass in his college career on three attempts and ran three times for two yards against the Cowboys.
But keep in mind that Pachall wasn't showing his 2011 form after returning from the trip to rehab that cut short his 2012 season. The Brownwood native completed only 8-of-14 passes against Southeastern Louisiana prior to his injury and 9-of-16 passes for 75 yards and an interception against LSU in the opener. On the season, Pachall's adjusted QBR is only 35.8, a mark well below Boykin's mediocre rating.
No one would argue that Boykin has been playing at a high level, but he's not the biggest problem for TCU offensively, so it's questionable how much of a difference Pachall can make, especially if he continues playing like he was to start the season.
However, since Boykin hasn't proven himself capable of playing quarterback at a consistently high level over the last two years, the upside for the Horned Frogs is higher with Pachall under center, though against Texas the potential loss of Boykin's running ability against a defense that has struggled defending quarterback runs may even things up a bit for this match up.
If Pachall does return this weekend? It probably gives TCU a better shot of winning than being forced to trot out Boykin and his turnover issues again, but it's not going to be a magic cure-all for the Horned Frogs' offensive woes.