Trevone Boykin wanted to be a quarterback. He just didn't understand how to be a quarterback.
The TCU quarterback does now.
The arrival of co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie has jump-started Boykin's career under center as the junior now has a much better feel for the demands of playing quarterback in the Big 12. It's showing with Boykin seeing his completion percentage increase from 59.7 in 2013 to 64.4 this season and his touchdown-to-interception ratio improve from 1-1 to 4-1.
The biggest change for Boykin has been a simple one.
"Time and preparation," he said. "I probably hadn't put as much time in as I need to to be successful. The most important thing is being prepared and going through things during the week so when you get in a game it's second nature."
Cumbie, who coaches the quarterbacks, has had a major impact on Boykin. The former Texas Tech assistant instilled a different work ethic, different commitment in the dynamic Boykin.
"When Coach Cumbie got here everything changed," Boykin said. "They changed the whole atmosphere. We spent a lot of hours during the summer and spring going over film. You have to prepare every day like if you want to win and you have to try to keep your job. You never want to go to practice and feel like you won."
Boykin was a different quarterback a year ago. The Dallas native was quick to escape the pocket. At times, he looked like he trusted himself with the football more than he trusted his teammates. Still a work in progress, Boykin has improved that part of his game. In TCU's first two games, wins over Samford and Minnesota, Boykin has connected with 14 receivers while remaining a running threat with 22 carries for 121 yards.
"He's letting the offense work, he's not trying to do everything himself," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "I've talked about him being patient. It's OK to get fired up for a ballgame but what he has to get accomplished is he can't get so much that he can't think."
One of the Cumbie's main focuses with Boykin has been his accuracy and ball placement. It's paid off early on for TCU, with the Horned Frogs averaging 306.5 yards per game through the air and more than half of its receiving yards after the catch (156).
"Big explosive plays really depend on ball placement," Boykin said. "Being accurate was his main focus."
Heading into the summer it looked like Boykin was just as likely to be on the end of passes instead of throwing them. Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel could've ended up the Horned Frogs starter' after he joined the competition in the summer. But Boykin responded to the competition and Joeckel even helped Boykin get to the point he is today with his tutelage in the new offense.
"From Day 1 I could tell he had experience in this offense. He knew stuff that helped us out and will make us better down the road," Boykin said while stating the competition remained friendly throughout. "He's helped me out in a lot of ways, with a little tricks and things you can do with this offense that they ran at A&M. It helped us out a lot during two-a-days and him being an older guy has helped us out a lot."
After playing running back and receiver at various times during his career, Boykin looks like he may have finally secured a landing spot at his preferred position. Now, he could develop into a nightmare for defensive coordinators. He dropped 20 pounds in the offseason, feels better and quicker while the skills that made him a solid receiver at the end of the 2013 season remain. To top it off, he's grown as a passer and overall quarterback.
"I think he's quicker, he's thinking faster, the game has slowed down a little for him," Patterson said.
Boykin has improved but detractors still remain. And for good reason, as he sits among the bottom half of the Big 12 in several categories including Adjusted QBR (54.1) and passing yards (578). But those detractors just add fuel to the fire that burns within the run-pass threat as he knows he still has plenty to prove.
"I've put so much hard time and effort into trying to become the best quarterback I can be and prove people wrong," he said. "I'm getting better every day."