DALLAS -- TCU head coach Gary Patterson knew that Casey Pachall would be a hot topic of discussion Monday. After all, he was voted as the top quarterback in the conference in the preseason media poll despite missing the final nine games of 2012.
Pachall is of interest not just because he missed most of last season, but also the reason why. Through four games in 2013, Pachall was among the nation's leaders in just about every passing category, including a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10-to-1.
In October, he was suspended indefinitely due to an arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and then a few days later he withdrew from school to enter a drug and alcohol treatment facility. Pachall, ranked 13th among 2014 draft quarterback prospects by NFLDraftScout.com, completed his treatment program and re-enrolled at TCU in January, but faces an uphill battle to returning to the top of the mountain.
"A lot of people ask me why I didn't bring Casey to media days," Patterson remarked on Monday. "Number one, we don't know who our starting quarterback is."
Sophomore quarterback Trevone Boykin did an admirable job stepping in for Pachall last season, especially considering he had moved to running back prior to the season. But the Horned Frogs managed just three wins in the final nine games in 2012 with Boykin as the starter.
"It won't be a 50-50 thing, I don't think, but I do believe there's a place for both of them," Patterson said. "If it is Casey as the starter, you have Trevone who really can beat you with his legs. He had an unbelievable spring, to be honest with you, which bodes well for us because he's only going to be a sophomore."
Pachall's 2012 incident was only the tip of the iceberg. Patterson and others around him understood that Pachall's substance abuse problems weren't going away without help.
During a police sting in February 2012, he told police that he had recently failed a drug test and also admitted to using cocaine and ecstasy within the past year.
Patterson called it an "easy decision" to remove Pachall from the team at the time and helped him enter a treatment program. Patterson also knows that he will need more consistency out of the quarterback position this fall.
"Casey is a very talented young man. How he handles everything and does will be an indication of how well we do in the Big 12 Conference," Patterson added. "If you want to play well in the Big 12, you've got to play well at quarterback.
Wildcats looking for Klein's Heir
Heisman candidate quarterback Collin Klein accounted for 39 total touchdowns for Kansas State and led them to a BCS bowl game. While head coach Bill Snyder downplayed any involved in losing a player with Klein's production, he did add that the quarterback position is currently unsettled.
"Dynamics of each year are truly different," Snyder said. "I think, as far as personnel is concerned, we still don't have a starting quarterback yet."
Snyder also mentioned the losses of "big play" wide receiver Chris Harper and hard-nosed fullback Braden Wilson. The Wildcats must replace nine starters on defense, but Snyder seemed more worried about how those losses will affect the team on special teams.
"When you lose as many as we did on defense, that can have an impact on your special teams because so many of your defensive players play on special teams," he said.
--Oklahoma State anticipates lengthy QB competition
Oklahoma State was forced to replace all-time leading passer Brandon Weeden last season and that turned into an exercise of musical chairs between three quarterbacks: Clint Chelf, JW Walsh and Wes Lunt. With Lunt transferring out of Stillwater in the offseason, Chelf and Walsh are neck and neck as the top guys on the Cowboys' quarterback depth chart.
Prepare to hear this message on repeat: head coach Mike Gundy isn't ready to announce a starter.
"We've got two young men that we feel very comfortable with, and they've worked and been extremely dedicated to our program," Gundy said. "They're great team players, they'll get equal reps."
Oklahoma State opens the 2013 season against SEC foe Mississippi State in Houston and Gundy probably won't reveal his plans on offense before that game.
"We play a very quality opponent the first game," Gundy said. "So we'll need to use every advantage we have to give ourselves the best opportunity to win that game."