How a healthy Jack Bech has been TCU football’s MVP on offense

At TCU football practices, there’s always a space off to the side reserved for all the players going through rehab and this spring that area has been filled with wide receivers.

From John Paul Richardson to Dylan Wright to JoJo Earle, TCU has at least seven scholarship receivers miss portions of camp with injuries and Savion Williams’ reps have been limited to keep him fresh for the fall. Combine that with Josh Hoover’s injury and the offense has needed someone to provide a spark.

That’s where Jack Bech comes into the picture. The LSU transfer arrived last season and dealt with his own fair share of injuries, but Bech is healthy now and making the most of his opportunity to leave his mark.

“If you said who is the most valuable offensive player in the spring... it’s been Jack Bech so far,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “We say it all the time just because he’s been available and he’s had a great off-season. He’s out there practicing every day practicing and you can see he’s made a huge jump.”

Bech continued his string of strong practices on Thursday as he made one of the most impressive catches in camp. As Hauss Hejny rolled to his right with pressure bearing down, he zipped a ball to Bech who made a diving catch with a defender hanging all over him.

Bech had at least four more receptions throughout various team periods including another catch that went for at least 20 yards from Hejny. Bech credits those type of plays to finally being back to where he wants physically.

“I feel great, finally the way my body should feel,” Bech said. “(It’s the best) I felt since probably the end of my freshman year. I got hurt going into my sophomore year and was trying to bounce back last year.”

Bech was a Louisiana legend that had to work hard for his offer to LSU. He won multiple state championships in football and basketball at St. Thomas More in Lafayette. He was selected as an All-American his senior season and finished his prep career as a four-star recruit in the 247Sports composite rankings.

The Tigers offered Bech in October and he committed within a few weeks. He burst onto the scene as a freshman in Baton Rouge with 43 receptions, 489 yards and four touchdowns. But then LSU brought in Brian Kelly and the new coaching staff plus the nagging injuries saw Bech go from leading the team in catches to being eighth.

That’s how he landed at TCU, but he played in just eight games last season with 12 catches for 146 yards. It’s been a frustrating two years, but the adversity has made Bech stronger and one of the Horned Frogs’ top options in the spring.

“I was trying to bounce back last year, but couldn’t do spring ball, couldn’t run. It was the same thing getting into the season,” Bech said. “But I feel like myself now, I feel 100 percent. All praise to God, I pray to him everyday asking him for help to stay healthy and he’s been blessing me and I finally got over the hump.”

Whether it was divine intervention or the hard work of Bech and strength coach Kaz Kazadi, Bech is playing like the freshman that was able to make an impact in the SEC.

In last Friday’s scrimmage at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Bech was one of the few offensive players to score a touchdown. With the offense facing a fourth down, Ken Seals hit Bech on a slant route as he shed a tackle for a touchdown.

Bech had another chunk play to set up another offensive touchdown as he broke a tackle from starting safety Bud Clark. Clark played 7-on-7 with Bech in high school and knows his talent better than anyone. When he’s not guarding him, Clark has been enjoying seeing his old teammate finally flourish.

“Jack’s been doing absolutely amazing,” Clark said. “I knew Jack was a dog before I came here. Ever since 7-on-7 he’s been a dog, so I already knew he was coming with it.”

Effort and versatility are the key to Bech’s success. He’s lined up all over the field for the offense in the spring including stints at inside and outside receiver. He’s occasionally lined up as a second tight end and even has gotten reps in the backfield.

It doesn’t matter where he’s lined up if the ball gets in Bech’s hands it usually results in a reception and when he’s able to pick up yards after the catch the 220-pound receiver is relentless trying to pick up extra yards.

It’s the same approach he’s used to attack his off-season workouts and get his body back in the shape he wanted to. When asked if the coaches ever tell Bech to take it easy, the senior receiver smirked.

“I think they know better than to try and get me to slow down,” Bech said.

That type of mentality has continued to impress Dykes and others around the program. They’ve seen the work he’s put in and there’s a genuine desire to see him succeed this season.

“I think his role has grown significantly within our program in terms of leadership,” Dykes said. “Guys really respect him and the way he loves football. He’s a great teammate and he’s really become a guy that we can hang our hat on. I think as a coaching staff and all our players feel the same way.”

Bech is appreciative of the high praise he’s received from Dykes and his teammates alike, but with the spring game just two weeks away Bech is still focused on finishing out camp strong.

“I just gotta come out here and keep working,” Bech said. “Obviously it’s good to hear the head coach say those things about you, but you’ve got to come out here, put your head down and go to work. You can’t become complacent, you have to come out here and give it your all.”