FORT WORTH, Texas – Trevone Boykin is in the same position he was last year with TCU, again part of the unanswered question of who will be the starting quarterback only days before the season opener.
Texas A&M graduate Matt Joeckel, who spent the last four years with the Aggies behind NFL draft picks Ryan Tannehill and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, will use his final season of eligibility at TCU. He joined the Horned Frogs with some familiarity of their new up-tempo offense.
Even before a question was asked Tuesday, coach Gary Patterson addressed the quarterback situation to start his first weekly news conference.
"We're playing two quarterbacks," Patterson quickly said.
As for whether it will be Boykin or Joeckel starting against Samford on Saturday night, Patterson isn't saying publicly. The coach said both have been "pretty well even" in practice so far, though one of them "definitely" had an edge in preseason scrimmages and would be the starter.
"Me and Matt have just been competing. We've pushed each other and brought the best out of each other," Boykin said. "At the end of the day, it's ultimately up to the coaches. So I mean, I'm not pretty much worried about it. The best guy will play."
Boykin started nine games as a freshman in 2012 after Casey Pachall left midseason for an alcohol rehabilitation program.
When Pachall returned as a senior last season, there was uncertainty of who would start against LSU in the opener. Both did, with Pachall at quarterback and Boykin at receiver before taking snaps later in the game. Boykin was the starting quarterback again when Pachall later missed six games with a broken arm.
TCU finished 4-8, only its second losing season in Patterson's 13 as a head coach. That included four conference losses by three points or fewer — three in the final month by a combined eight points — leading Patterson to hire co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to install a faster-paced spread offense so prevalent elsewhere.
Joeckel was in a version of that offense at Texas A&M, though he didn't get many opportunities to play behind two guys now in the NFL.
"I guess I got kind of unlucky going to A&M, but it was definitely a great experience, and I definitely enjoyed my team there," said Joeckel, who is from nearby Arlington. "I'm looking to show what I've got here. I think I've had the ability, I think I've always had it, and hopefully I just get my shot here, and hopefully I play well and prove to myself and fans and my family and everybody that I can do it."
Before Joeckel enrolled at TCU this summer, Boykin was clearly the No. 1 quarterback ahead of a redshirt freshman.
"There's been great chemistry," Patterson said. "Matt coming in really raised the bar of learning this offense. It gave us an opportunity then to know there was a competition."
With off weeks after each of the first two games, Patterson said the Frogs will be able to develop as an offense and a defense before getting into Big 12 play. They will also get a chance to best determine how to best utilize their top two quarterbacks.
"'The guy that runs out will probably always be the guy that has the edge starting every week," Patterson said, adding the possibility of using them both.
"We're going to have to play a wide receiver. Is it better that Trevone's the quarterback and we play with the wide receivers that we have, or is it better that Joeckel's the quarterback and maybe Trevone (at receiver)?," Patterson said. "I joked a year ago Trevone throwing to Trevone would make him a better player, too."
Patterson quickly added that, as of Tuesday, there were no plans for Boykin playing wideout "in this ballgame."