FORT WORTH, Texas -- The next step is not billboards or bobbleheads. The website isn’t launching anytime soon, nor is the head coach’s politicking.
The Heisman Trophy campaign for TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is not underway. Not officially, at least. Gary Patterson says that’s the last thing they’re pursuing right now.
“I’m not talking Heisman,” Patterson said after TCU’s 82-27 throttling of Texas Tech. “He’s the TCU quarterback.”
The TCU quarterback’s odds of winning the trophy shot up to 20/1 this week according to Bovada, but he’s taking his coach’s caution a big step further.
“I’m canceling the Heisman talk,” Boykin said. “It’s an honor and a blessing to be in it, and if I win it, I’m truly blessed if I do. It’s not something I’m really focused on right now. Our team is progressing in the way we wanted. That’s just my main focus.”
Don’t waste your money on that bet, apparently.
It’s easy to see why Boykin is in the conversation now. He’s the triggerman for one of the nation’s most improved and exciting teams. TCU emerged from the most treacherous month of its season -- meetings with Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech and no breaks in between -- with a 6-1 record, a top-10 ranking and a quarterback whose 409.8 total yards per game in October ranked No. 2 in FBS.
“Boykin for Heisman. Why not, right?” TCU running back Aaron Green said. “I mean, I know we’re TCU. We’re not a USC or Auburn or one of those schools that brings all the glamor. But why not?”
Boykin does have a better passing TD-to-INT ratio (21-3) than Notre Dame’s Everett Golson, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and Florida State’s Jameis Winston. He might get knocked for his 58.7 completion percentage, and he’s not a darling of QBR data (71.3, 31st in FBS), but the unlikely ascent of both him and his Horned Frogs is an asset if he ever does decide to campaign.
But Patterson probably isn’t budging, at least not for a few more weeks. On Saturday, he told reporters he wasn’t happy with however Boykin was acting during pregame warmups in in the lead-up to the blowout. He offered what sounded like a veiled critique of Boykin getting too cocky and losing focus.
“Leaders have to be a certain way. You can’t forget where you came from,” Patterson said. “Tried to convince him how you do this. Just have memories of last year, stay where you need to be. Doesn’t mean we don’t want to have a swagger, doesn’t mean we don’t want to have confidence, doesn’t mean we don’t want to play well. None of the above. It means there’s a way you’re supposed to play, even in this offense.”
And then Boykin went out and threw for a career-best 433 yards and a TCU-best seven touchdowns. Despite those results, Patterson’s message still came through loud and clear.
“We can never be satisfied,” Boykin said. “We had errors and stuff that can be corrected.”
TCU’s receivers are hardly surprised by his ascent. While a diverse run game opens up so many options, it’s the trust Boykin is putting in his pass-catchers -- on throws both deep and tough -- that has made this unit so explosive.
“It’s pretty amazing. But we see it at practice every day, so we’re not really surprised,” receiver Deante’ Gray said. “He works hard. He’s such a good leader this year. He pushes us, man. He doesn’t let us get complacent at practice and it shows out on the field.”
That’s the challenge now. Boykin and the Frogs are experiencing more hype and attention than ever. The easiest way to shed it all? Lose another game. After the blowout Saturday, TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie reminded Boykin why his focus needs to be on everything but the trophy talk.
“What we’re doing now is only going to prepare us,” Boykin said. “We want people to talk about us in January. The stuff that happens right now is good, but the real talk is in January.”