WHEN: Saturday, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Johnson Hagood Stadium
TICKETS: www.mohbowl.com; www.etix.com
MEDAL OF HONOR BOWL
One morning this week, the lobby of the Charleston Harbor and Marina Resort was filled with large young men being interviewed by NFL scouts.
Interaction between the scouts and the 96 draft-eligible players in town for Saturday's Medal of Honor Bowl is a major part of the vetting process heading into the NFL draft. And few players will face more questions than Texas Christian quarterback Casey Pachall.
Pachall, 6-5 and 230 pounds, came to TCU as the obviously talented successor to Andy Dalton, who won 42 games in four seasons with the Horned Frogs and now throws passes to A.J. Green with the Cincinnati Bengals.
As a sophomore in 2011, Pachall (pronounced PAW-hall) threw for 2,291 yards and 25 touchdowns as TCU won 11 games. And in 2012 the Horned Frogs were off to a 4-0 start - and Pachall had passed for 10 touchdowns and 940 yards - when he was arrested for DUI near campus in October 2012.
Less than a week later, he left TCU to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program, and the Horned Frogs lost six of their last nine games. Eight months earlier, Pachall had failed a team-administered drug test and admitted to smoking marijuana.
This week, Pachall knows full well that his ability to explain his past to NFL scouts and coaches will matter just as much as what he does on the practice field and in Saturday's 2 p.m. game at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
"I know I've struggled in the past, and they know it, too," said Pachall, who is from Brownwood, Texas.
"They want to hear everything from me. They want to hear the first-person story, and I don't have any problem telling them anything that happened."
Projected as a late-round pick, Pachall must convince the NFL that he's worth taking a chance on.
"I've learned a lot, matured a lot since all of that happened," he said. "I've grown a lot as a person, become a more trustworthy person. That's the whole point of being here now, for them to see me and get to know me.
"I can assure them I'm a person they can take a chance with and not be worried about what might happen."
Pachall got another chance at TCU after he completed rehab. He returned to the team in time for spring practice in 2013, but then broke his forearm in the second game of the season.
After missing five weeks, he came back to pass for 1,468 yards at a 56.4-percent clip, with just six touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a team that finished 4-8. Those numbers did little for his draft stock.
In a season-ending 41-38 loss to No. 9 Baylor, Pachall was 20 of 45 for 267 yards and two touchdowns, with three interceptions.
"It was not the season we wanted," he said. "But it's just another thing to overcome."
That's why the Medal of Honor Bowl invitation meant so much to Pachall.
"I was excited for the chance to come and play," he said. "I'll take any chance I can get. At the next level, nothing is given and all I can ask for is a chance to play."
Kirkman Broadcasting will carry Saturday's game on the radio at 1450-AM, with Lee Glaze, Ted Byrne and Angela Mallen working the game.
Pre-game ceremonies Saturday are slated to include recognition of Wounded Warriors and Medal of Honor recipients, a parachute jump by the Golden Knights and an appearance by Miss South Carolina Brooke Mosteller.
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