I linked up with Melissa B. Triebwasser (@TheCoachMelissa) of Frogs O’ War (@FrogsOWar), the SB Nation community for fans of most of the TCU Horned Frogs, to get some info on the Los Angeles Rams’ first selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, TCU OT Joseph Noteboom.
Anytime an NFL team takes an offensive lineman, the refrain from fans is the same old chorus. “I LOVE THIS SEXY PICK AND I CAN SEE ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS. I CAN DEFINITELY CONNECT THE DOTS BETWEEN OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY AND END RESULTS THAT I WILL SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.” Sorry if you’ve heard too many times by now. What would you say to sell Los Angeles Rams fans on the pick and the potential for Joseph Noteboom to turn into a franchise left tackle at the NFL level?
There is a lot to like about Joseph Noteboom, especially when you consider what the Rams have invested in the offensive skill positions. For one, Noteboom has been incredibly consistent for a TCU offense that has been exceptional at running the ball. With 40 consecutive starts over the last three seasons, and 53 appearances in 53 possible games, he is a guy who can be counted on to always be on the field. Tough and smart (academic all conference honors all four years), Noteboom is a hard-working, high-character guy who fans will love for what he does on the field, and the person he is off of it. He’s big, having added 40 pounds while at TCU, and athletic - the former hockey player is strong, has good feet, and can play either tackle spot. I think he can contribute from day one, and be a long term starter in a year or two. And if you look at recent offensive line draft picks out of TCU - Aviante Collins and Halapoulivaati Vaitai were both key members of playoff teams, and Marcus Cannon has been a stalwart for the Patriots - there’s no reason to believe he won’t be another guy who can come in and contribute for a good team quickly.
Let’s go back to 2012. You guys are coming off an era bossing the Mountain West and suffering a disappointing first season in the Big XII. QB Casey Pachall’s seasons was cut short after being arrested for a DUI (and man, did I love me some Casey Pachall). And you’ve got an early commit in a Plano Senior High former defensive lineman in Joseph Noteboom. How did he go from a random June commitment update to an NFL draftee on Day 2?
Oh god, why did you have to bring up Pachall?!? It’s been interesting to see how TCU’s recruiting has changed since joining a Power Five conference, but one thing that has been consistent is Gary Patterson identifying guys with football IQ and talent and putting them in their best position to succeed in college and beyond. Jerry Hughes, now an NFL veteran DE, was a high school running back. Tank Carder, who has had a long career for the Browns, played QB. Noteboom was an oversized defensive end who was a little too slow to rush the passer in Patterson’s 4-2-5 defense, but had the frame to add good weight and move to the offensive line.
What about TCU offensive linemen or OL under Head Coach Gary Patterson, OL Coach Chris Thomsen and former OL Coach Jarrett Anderson could you assign to Noteboom? Is he representative of their “style” of offensive linemen or tackles or was he more of an outside skill set that they added to?
Once Pachall got hurt and the offensive became Trevone Boykin’s to run, it was crucial that the line could move in front of him and adjust on the fly, as he was one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football when things broke down. This can lead to a lot of false starts and holding calls, but Noteboom was very good at holding his blocks and knowing when to release when things broke down and Boykin took off. As TCU moved from a very pass heavy offense in 2014 and 2015 with the introduction of the Frog Raid O to a run heavy set in 2016 and 2017 when Kenny Hill took over behind center, Noteboom proved adept at being success as a blocker in both. He led one of the best running attacks in the Big 12 (when the running backs were actually healthy, which wasn’t often) this past season, and was an excellent blind side blocker for a QB that had the tendency to hold the ball a little too long. The addition of Chris Thomsen to the staff this season helped with his footwork and technique, and I believe he has just begun to scratch the surface of what he can be as his career continues.
What linemen does he remind you of, NFL or college-level? What aspects of his skill set would you compare to other players?
He reminds me a lot of Vaitai in Philly, a former Frog whom he played alongside for two seasons before Big V matriculated to the NFL. He’s not going to blow you away, not be overly noticeable of the field, but he will do his job, not hear his name called for the wrong reasons, and consistently perform at a high level for a good team.
Ok, future TCU intel time. Obviously, the Oklahoma train was hard to get out of the way of last year...and that damn 2017 Iowa State team! Random aside, they nearly got me in a fight with my family. I had to abandon them at the State Fair (I grew up in Dallas, went to UNT, how I became a Rams fan is not germane, let’s stay focused) because the OU-Iowa State game was on the big screen outside the Cotton Bowl and I refused to leave while they went to the Midway. The Iowa State Cyclones! Causing family discord since 2017 and quite possibly before then for other people who are not me!What is your sense of the state of the program? Obviously a non-conference game against Ohio State is going to be a major marker. You’ve got two phenomenal young talents at QB, but I read somewhere that there’s a question of whether if you have two QBs if you have any at all... What are the expectations for 2018? Who are the major talents going into this year that could factor in the 2019 NFL Draft? Who are the stronger young talents that should be able to play in Amon Carter for years to come that could crop up as NFL guys in beyond the near future?
I could not be more excited about the state of TCU Football going forward. After the excitement of the Boykin-Doctson era and the surprising rise to contender in 2014, the past two seasons have been a bit of a struggle. Kenny Hill had an incredible growth arc after leaving A&M to come to Fort Worth, but he was never going to be Tre - and following a talent like that put him in an unfair position. Now, TCU has Shawn Robinson, the likely starter in 2018, and Justin Rogers, who will probably redshirt this season before setting up a QB competition for the ages in 2019. I don’t think we are looking at a two QB system like some of our conference brethren, but will have exceptional competition and injury assurance for many years to come. TCU replaces a lot along the offensive line this season - in addition to Noteboom, Austin Schlottman and Patrick Morris will likely be on pro teams come camp - but the wide receivers are an explosive and exciting group and Darius Anderson could be a dark horse Heisman candidate come October if he has blocking in front of him. Defensively, a lot of talent and leadership graduates as well, but recruiting has been unbelievable, and if the talent pans out, we could be looking at a really fun run over the next few years. In addition to Robinson, Rogers, and Anderson, remember the names Jalen Reagor (definite first round talent at WR), Omar Manning (redshirted last year at WR but looks the part of future pro), Ty Summers (should be a day two pick at LB in 2019), and of course Ben Banogu, who was a first round prospect at DE this year before deciding to return for his senior year.
If I have a major concern, it’s the remaining tenure of Gary Patterson. He has been so good for so long, it’s frightening to think about life in Fort Worth without him. And I think he may walk away once his current contract (through 2022) expires. As far as this coming season, expect a growth year - 7-9 wins - as the offense resets and a young QB finds his footing. But the Frogs could be a playoff team in 2019, and the next several years after that should be good ones in Funky Town.
Thanks to Melissa for the time!