TCU's transition into the Big 12 has not been smooth. After three straight seasons of undefeated conference records in the Mountain West, the Horned Frogs have a 6-13 conference record since joining the Big 12 before the 2012 season.
The last couple of years have also included troubling off-field issues that led to suspensions for stars like Casey Pachall and Devonte Fields, and dismissal for leading tackler Tanner Brock after his involvement in a campus drug bust in 2012.
Pachall graduated from TCU in December and is currently preparing for the school's Pro Day in Plano, Texas. In an interview with the Star-Telegram, Pachall shed some light on the state of TCU football.
The last question I asked him was, "What do you make of the current state of the TCU football program?"
He said: "It's rough right now. There is zero leadership. Nobody wants to step up and take charge of anything. It's rough. That is why they have the stuff they did. I still love those guys. Maybe they made mistakes, everybody does. I'm not putting those people down at all. They are still my good friends. Things are going to happen and as a team they need somebody to step up."
I followed with, "How does the team get that?"
"It's one of those things where every now and then you may say something to a teammate, and it may make them mad, but when they sit down and think about it they know it was sincere and it wasn't getting on your ass," Pachall said. "A lot of these guys don't want to speak up, they just want to blend in with the crowd. They want to be cool with their teammates, instead of getting on them and getting something going."
TCU did not combust spontaneously in 2012 and 2013 or develop some new allergy in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs still featured a stingy Top 25 defense and the offense was slowed by injuries and attrition, not to mention inconsistency at the quarterback position.
Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs are scheduled to begin 2014 spring practice on Saturday, March 1. My guess is we'll be hearing some response to Pachall's then, if not sooner.