The Redemption of Casey Pachall
By Bill Lund
Casey Pachall was on his way to leading TCU to another BCS-busting season and possibly becoming a Davey O’Brien candidate for top quarterback in the country. There were even murmurs of a potential Heisman run after a 2011 season when he was second-team All-Mountain West. His 2012 season began 4-0 with a 180.0 passer rating . . . and then came an October 4th arrest for DWI and Pachall's subsequent withdrawal from school. He entered into rehab and ended his season.
Pachall was a forgotten man. He left TCU a Mountain West contender and returned as a QB fighting to earn back his starting position for the Horned Frogs, who are now members of the Big 12.
Will Pachall be able to return to form? Will his personal growth from the demons of substance addiction help him fulfill his potential as a QB, and help TCU challenge for another BCS bowl opportunity? Pachall’s ability to rise from the ashes will help determine the Horned Frogs' fortunes in the ultra-competitive Big 12, as well as shaping his own potential as the first-round quarterback prospect he once showed signs of becoming.
So, what kind of NFL prospect is Pacall?
At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Pachall has tremendous size for a quarterback. He has the ability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm. He seems to see the entire field and consistently works through his progressions, even in the face of pressure. He has a quick release on short throws, but does wind up a bit on deep balls. Pachall has good arm strength with accuracy on short and intermediate throws, and he can drive the ball into tight windows. On the fade, he shows very good touch along the sideline.
On the run, he displays accuracy moving in either direction. His footwork is solid, but he will rely on his arm strength when moving in the pocket and when he can’t step into throws.
Pachall has a toughness and willingness to take a hit to complete the pass. When under duress, he will force throws trying to make a play and will be a little careless with the ball when scrambling to evade pressure.
Prior to his arrest and subsequent entrance into rehab, Pachall seemed destined to eclipse Andy Dalton as the highest drafted QB out of TCU. He showed an ability to win a big game with a 473-yard, five-touchdown performance in 2011 against fifth-ranked Boise State in 2011. Prior to his arrest in 2012, he had thrown for 900-plus yards and 10 touchdowns to one interception.
Pachall has returned to Fort Worth having to compete to regain his starting spot against incumbent Trevone Boykin. Coach Gary Patterson's handling of the situation shields Pachall from any pressures he will face early on, allowing him to focus on his continued rehab. Patterson has kept his thoughts on the starting QB close to the vest indicating, he is in no rush to name a starter.
How this story of redemption ends shouldn’t be highlighted by Pachall returning TCU to the top, but how he has saved his own life from the demons of addiction.