As questions surrounded TCU quarterback Casey Pachall’s future with the program last fall after he was arrested on suspicion of druiving under the influence, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads followed the saga unfolding in Fort Worth religiously.
After all, just a few days later, his Cyclones would be in Amon Carter Stadium battling the Horned Frogs for the first time as Big 12 foes.
“We were following it as closely as the private investigators we had down here could follow it,” Rhoads joked Tuesday at the Big 12 Media Days.
“We were hanging on every word people were writing; every tweet, every bit of information we could glean, we were trying to follow,” he said on a more serious note.
All anyone knew was Pachall was suspended indefinitely, so Rhodes and his coaching staff burned the midnight oil, making preparations for both Pachall and his backup, then redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin.
“You don’t change an offense drastically in that time, but the dynamics of that player, you want to be aware of as you approach that game and that's what we were working hard to try to prepare for,” Rhoads said. “That’s not easy.”
At the time, the prospect of facing a quarterback in his first career start was not refreshing to Rhodes after a preliminary scouting of Boykin, he said.
“If you’d seen the film early in the year of him playing, and seen the balls he threw and the velocity he threw them with and the runs that he made, you would have been as nervous and scared as we were being that’s the guy that it was,” he said.
Defensive back Jacques Washington and linebacker Jeremiah George greatly respected Boykin’s scrambling ability and his strong arm and planned to make sure he would not beat them with his feet.
Washington said that he recognized Boykin stared down his targets too long and only made one read, resulting in the first of Boykin’s three interceptions in the game.
Boykin still threw for 270 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 39 yards in the 37-23 TCU loss.
Rhoads said he was impressed with Boykin’s maturation throughout the rest of the season, but it didn’t surprise him. He knew the story could have been different had Boykin been given more time to prepare.
“We knew he was one of 11 guys on the field that were more than capable of beating us or anyone in the league as he went on to prove as the season rolled along,” he said.
-- Travis Brown