Who were the standouts from TCU football’s spring game?

TCU concluded spring football with a bang as the program hosted Frogapoolza on Saturday afternoon in front of a solid crowd at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

The Horned Frogs used the exhibition as more of an open practice than an actual game like most programs. TCU spent most of day working on its red zone offense with a majority of the offensive drives starting inside the 25 or 15-yard line.

While TCU won’t have highlights of its spring game on social media or ESPN, head coach Sonny Dykes was still pleased with what he saw on Saturday.

“I thought we had a really good spring, I feel like we’re ahead of where I thought we might be,” Dykes said. “Especially defensively, I’m really pleased with the job our players and coaches have done... I thought they played aggressive and fast. I was really glad to see that, we ran out of guys a little bit at defensive tackle. I would have liked to go longer today, but we didn’t have the guys to do it.”

The spring game lasted a little more than an hour, but still featured a number of standout performances. Here’s a few players that stood out during Saturday’s final practice:

Running back Cam Cook

Breakdown: With a number of receivers like Jack Bech, Dylan Wright and JoJo Earle out on Saturday the Horned Frogs needed a playmaker to step up in a big way on offense and the running back answered the call. On the offense’s first drive, Cook set up the scoring drive with three hard carries that totaled roughly 18 yards. The next time the first-team offense took the field, Cook needed just one play to rip off a 25-yard touchdown run that similar to the one he had in an earlier scrimmage.

Cook continued to dazzle the crowd with a number of nice open field moves and a hard running style that drew praise from Dykes after the scrimmage.

“It was good to see Cam Cook (perform),” Dykes said. “I think he’s been a guy that every time the defense has to tackle him, he shows up and has really been impressive.”

Cornerback Avery Helm

Breakdown: One reason the offense didn’t score more points is because of Helm. The cornerback has taken a solid jump in Andy Avalos’ new defense and showcased his growth. On the offense’s first drive, Ken Seals lobbed a goal line fade to Eric McAlister, but Helm was right on McAlister to force an incompletion. Helm broke up another goal line to Savion Williams as he showed his physicality and didn’t let the bigger Williams use his size to reel in the would-be score.

Helm had another touchdown wiped off the board as Seals tried to hit a receiver on a out breaking route in the end zone, but couldn’t fit the ball into a window because of Helm’s tight coverage. Considering how Helm struggled at times playing the ball last season it’s an encouraging sign to see how well Helm performed on Saturday and in the spring in general.

Running back Nate Palmer

Breakdown: The freshman running back had his best practice at the right time as Palmer showed why he was so highly coveted by former running backs coach Anthony Jones. Palmer’s first carry went over 10 yards and helped set up a field goal for the second team offense. On the unit’s third drive, the offense was behind the chains after a wide open pass to Lafayette Kauiway bounced off his hands.

Palmer immediately regained momentum ripping off a run around 20 yards and then on the next play he rumbled in for a touchdown. Palmer is currently battling Trey Sanders and Trent Battle for the second running back spot and he made a strong impression on Saturday.

Quick hitters

The kickers also had their best day of spring ball, knocking down field goals that were both short and long. Caleb Sempebwa made multiple field goals including one that was roughly 45 yards. While the kickers thrived, the wide receivers struggled with drops on Saturday. For example, McAlister has been sure-handed all camp, but dropped a wide open slant that would’ve resulted in a first down. McAlister did make up for it with a 15-yard touchdown on a slant later in practice.

The drops may have been a factor, but the Horned Frogs kept things mostly simple with the passing game. Hauss Hejny was picked off by Luke Lingard after Jordan Lester broke up a pass and caused a deflection. On the defensive line, Paul Oyewale and Nana Osafo-Mensah drew praise from Dykes with Osafo-Mensah having a big tackle for loss in the red zone.