2011 Pre-Season Preview: #17 TCU Horned Frogs

2010 Record: (13-0, 8-0 in MWC)

Head Coach: Gary Patterson (98-28 at TCU)

Last Bowl Game: 2010/2011 Rose Bowl: beat Wisconsin 21-19

Final 2010/2011 AP Ranking: #2

Final 2010/2011 CFBZ Ranking: #2

MWC College Football Roundtable


Schedule

9/2: at Baylor (2010 result: won 45-10)

9/10: at Air Force (2010 result: won 38-7)

9/17: Louisiana-Monroe

9/24: Portland State

10/1: SMU (2010 result: 41-24)

10/8: at San Diego State (2010 result: won 40-35)

10/22: New Mexico (2010 result: won 66-17)

10/28: BYU (2010 result: won 31-3)

11/5: at Wyoming (2010 result: won 45-0)

11/12: at Boise State (2009 result: lost 17-10)

11/19: Colorado State (2010 result: won 35-20)

12/3: UNLV (2010 result: won 48-6)


2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 41.6 ppg (1st in MWC, 4th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 246.77 yds/game (2nd in MWC, 10th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 229.5 yds/game (3rd in MWC, 53rd in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 476.2 yds/game (1st in MWC, 28th in Nation)


2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 12.0 ppg (1st in MWC, 1st in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 99.69 yds/game (1st in MWC, 5th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 128.8 yds/game (1st in MWC, 1st in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 228.5 yds/game (1st in MWC, 1st in Nation)

 

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: +0.69 per game (1st in MWC, 20th in Nation)

Penalties: 41.1 yds/game (3rd in MWC, 18th in Nation)

 

Returning Starters:

Offense: 3

Defense: 5

Kicker/Punter: 2

 

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Casey Pachall, Soph (6 of 9 for 78 yds, 1 TD)

Rushing: RB Ed Wesley, Jr (166 for 1078, 6.4 ypc, 11 TD)

Receiving: WR Josh Boyce (34 rec for 646 yds, 19.0 ypc, 6 TD)

Tackles: LB Tanner Brock, Jr (106)

Sacks: LB Tank Carder, Sr (3.5)

Interceptions: CB Greg McCoy, Sr (2)

 

Bowl Predictions:

Athlon Sports: Las Vegas Bowl (vs Arizona)

Phil Steele: Las Vegas Bowl (vs Oregon State)

 

Over the last three years TCU has gone 36-3 and 23-1 in the Mountain West Conference. While they have had an easier schedule than a team that plays in the SEC or the Big Ten or the Big 12 they have played their fair share of tough opponents during that stretch. In 2008 they beat two Top 10 ranked opponents and also toppled Stanford. In 2009 they beat two Top 20 ranked opponents and also beat ACC foes Clemson and Virginia. Last year they beat three Top 25 teams including two that were ranked in the Top 5 at the time they played. This year will be the final year of TCU’s run in the Mountain West Conference before they move to the Big East.

TCU loses a bunch of talent off of last years undefeated squad as they had five players drafted into the NFL including QB Andy Dalton. That being said they still have important building blocks in place on offense and defense. On offense they return All-Conference RB Ed Wesley and he will look to tote more of a load than he did last year. On defense they return two all league LBs in Tank Carder and Tanner Brock and they will aid a defense that was beyond effective last year.

One of the reasons to be high on TCU is their schedule. Phil Steele ranks it as the 92nd toughest schedule in the Nation. TCU’s opponents had a combined winning percentage of just 44% last year. If you take Boise State out of the equation, TCU’s toughest games will be against Baylor, Air Force, SMU, San Diego State and BYU. TCU’s combined margin of victory against those teams last year was 116 points or 23 points. The closest game was a five point win over San Diego State and they will be breaking in a new Head Coach this year. Some are down on TCU this year but I think they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt under Gary Patterson (at least until they play a tougher schedule from top to bottom). TCU might not be as good as they were last year but they will be in the mix for the Mountain West Championship this year. We caught up with the TCU based website the Frog Fan Report to get an inside take on the 2011 TCU Horned Frogs.

 

The biggest question has to be in replacing Andy Dalton. TCU has a highly rated youngster in Casey Paschall. What are your expectations for him in year one as a starter?

I see this being the major roadblock in all TCU Fans’ minds.  We have had this great run for the past 5+ years now and each year has gotten better and better.  And each year starts over with newer and higher expectations.  We have got to give Casey Paschall a lot of room to not only form his own identification and personality but also give him a real chance to grow.  Every TCU fan needs to realize he is going to make mistakes and there is going to be a big learning curve.  Just remember, our beloved Andy Dalton wasn’t perfect his freshmen year.  He threw 10 TDs, 11 INTs and was sacked 16 times.  However, Paschall looked good this spring and has shown some leadership that he is going to have to bring if times get touch.  He is a big kid at 6’4”, 208 lbs.  He has a good arm and is supposed to be a better runner than Dalton.  If I had to pick one word to describe this coming season, it would be ‘patience’.

 

TCU returns Tank Carder and Tanner Brock but will have to replace a lot of defensive production this year. Who needs to step up this year on the defensive side of the football?

We have a lot of holes on both sides of the ball.  Every year we have graduated a star defensive player and every year Gary Patterson has introduced us to a new star.  Carder and Brock are going to be our defensive leaders and it’s a given that they have to step up this year.  But who is going to be that next star for TCU?  The Frogs lost every single starter at safety from 2010 including field general Tejay Johnson.  Those starters combined for 217 tackles, 4 sacks, 6 INTs and 8 forced fumbles.  There is some good in this situation though.  The Frogs do have 2 seniors to fill in and they have a good deal of playing time under their belts.  Tekerrein Cuba and Johnny Fobbs will fill in at weak and free safety and strong safety is still up for grabs.  On the defensive line DJ Yendrey, Stansly Maponga and Braylon Broughton must stop offenses from getting into the second and third levels of the defense.  There is a lot of excitement building for true freshmen linebacker Deryck Gildon.  Gary Patterson usually doesn’t like to play true freshman if he doesn’t have to but I think we will see a lot of Gildon in 2011.

TCU also loses three senior WRs from last years squad. Who do you see stepping up their contributions at this spot?

The wide receiver and tight end positions are another area of concern for the Frogs with 6 seniors graduating.  Three of those six seniors caught more than 50% of the work load in 2010 and with a new quarterback coming in, more than one wide receiver or tight end is going to have to step up.  The obvious candidate to lead the Frogs receiving corp is Josh Boyce who had a breakout year in 2010.  As a RS Freshman Boyce played in all 13 games, caught 34 passes for 646 yards and 6 TDs.  Boyce’s co-pilot in 2011 should be one of two experienced receivers, Senior Antoine Hicks or Junior Skye Dawson.  Hicks is the most likely candidate coming off an off-year compared to his breakout season in 2009.  The stats are just not comparable with Hicks catching 23 balls in 2009 for 473 yards and 6 TDs.  In 2010, Hicks’ production dropped to 13 catches for 175 yards and 2 TDs.  You also have to look at Hicks’ 9 rushes for 20 yards and 4 TDs in 2009.  I’m not sure if Dalton felt more comfortable going to Boyce and Hicks was an after thought or Hicks really was off the entire 2010 season.  Dawson is the other likely candidate but should play more out of the slot as the speed guy where Clay and Johnson dominated.   Kerley is going to be a big miss, not only from a leadership but from explosive experience and Dawson is going to have to make up some of that, whether that is at the wide receiver position or returning ball on special teams.  The Frogs scored two 4 star wide receivers in the latest recruiting class and each one could earn playing time in 2011.  LaDarius Brown is 6’2″ 190 lbs out of Waxahachie, TX and Brandon Carter out of Trinity, TX, 5’11″ 160 lbs.

 

How big is the Boise State game this year for TCU?

It is definitely a big game but I feel that in the hearts and minds of Boise St fans, it’s a bigger game.  After they lost to Nevada, paving the way for the Frogs to go to the Rose Bowl, there is this feeling that they have a lot to prove.  As Frog fans, we feel it’s a big game but we don’t have that pressure to prove ourselves.  We have to get by Baylor in Waco and at Air Force before we can set our eyes on the Broncos.  We do feel we kind of got screwed on the whole deal of moving the game from Ft Worth to Boise.  Utah left to go to the Pac-12 and Boise St. was supposed to move right into their spot on the schedule.  The fear is that we will travel up to Laramie, WY to play the Cowboys on Sat. 11/5, it snows and we get delayed flying back and then have to turn around and fly right back up to Boise.  It is a big game with some challenges but we have to get through the first part of our schedule first.

 

Looking at the schedule, other than Boise State, what are the most important games this year?

Baylor is going to be huge for a number of reasons.  The Bears have this grudge in their minds after we destroyed them in Ft. Worth last year, 45-10.  They are going to come out gunning for us and that will be Casey Pachall’s first start.  Then we turn around and fly up and play at Air Force.  The Falcons are tough to play in the first part of their schedule because we won’t have time to prepare and they won’t be tired and beat up.  San Diego St. and BYU will be good games and then Boise St.  Our non-conference slate is pretty weak with the likes of Portland St. and Lousiana Monroe but that could play into our favor with some of the youngsters getting some good playing time.

 

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

Obviously our next goal is the National Championship after we beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.  But that isn’t going to happen in 2011.  Every fan knows it is a reloading year and everyone is excited to move on over to the Big East.  But we do have one more year in the MWC and we need to get everyone ready and on the same page.  I see us finishing the regular season at 10-2 and this will be a big disappointment for a lot of people.  I think this will be a great year and will set us up nicely for the Big East in 2010.  I think we will have trouble at Air Force or against BYU at Jerry’s World in Arlington and I don’t think we can beat Boise St. in Boise.  They are just too good going into Kellen Moore’s senior year.  But you just never know.  Gary Patterson surprises us each and every year.

 

CFBZ Top 25

#1-#16?

#17 TCU Horned Frogs

#18 South Carolina Gamecocks

#19 Ohio State Buckeyes

#20 USC Trojans

#21 Georgia Bulldogs

#22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

#23 BYU Cougars

#24 Missouri Tigers

#25 Texas Longhorns

 

2011 Team Previews

ACC- Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, NC State, UNC, Virginia, Wake Forest

Big 12- Baylor , Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, Texas, Texas Tech

Big East- Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, USF

Big Ten- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota ,Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St, Purdue

C-USA- East Carolina, Houston ,Marshall, SMU, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCF

FCS- Georgia Southern, Georgia State

Independent- Army, BYU, Notre Dame

MAC- Akron, Ball St, Bowling Green, Buffalo , Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Temple, Toledo, Western Michigan

MWC- Air Force, New Mexico, UNLV, Wyoming

Pac-12- Arizona , Arizona St, California, Colorado, Oregon St, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington

SEC- Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee

Sun Belt- FAU, FIU, Louisiana, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy , ULM, Western Kentucky

WAC- Fresno St, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico St, San Jose St

Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, writer for Crystal Ball Run and founder of College Football Zealots

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