"The Frogs have 17 starters who went through last year. But as always, there are new faces. Five defenders made their first start for TCU on Saturday night. “This is a lot closer football team,” Patterson said. “It’s a lot older football team.”
Starting quarterback Kenny Hill missed on only five passes and threw for four touchdowns. Fourteen players caught a pass. Six carried, not counting three quarterbacks. Backup Shawn Robinson threw two touchdown passes. And the defense turned two takeaways into points.
Egomaniac Hill had an easy game that will make him think he is a super star. He will be over-confident because that is what he is.
TCU will be on a rest disadvantage Saturday at Arkansas, which opened its season on a Thursday night. But the Frogs reduced it as much as reasonably possible by putting the game away in time to get most of their starters out by the middle of the third quarter. Patterson said that would actually give him a chance for a tougher Tuesday practice because his players would be fresher. He sounded like he was looking forward to it.
Shawn Robinson is faster than you think. If you watched him in DeSoto’s state championship game last December, you saw a player slowed down by a late-season wear and tear, not to mention a hip bruise in the game. But apparently at full health for his TCU opener, he flashed the speed that 6-foot-2, 225-pound quarterbacks really aren’t supposed to have. And the arm? Just as advertised. When his strength is paired with accuracy, look out.
Defensive scores are always a good sign for a football team, and TCU had two against Jackson State. Better sign? Strong safety Ridwan Issahaku and linebacker Arico Evans put together aggressive, athletic returns to get in the end zone. Both players looked comfortable with a ball in their hands, following blocking and making cuts — which they should; they both have quarterback backgrounds. They are part of the reason Patterson says he likes the speed and athleticism of this defense.
TCU has a lot of receivers. Did you know they had this many? Kenny Hill and Shawn Robinson sprinkled 23 completions among 11 wide receivers, two running backs and a tight end. Ty Slanina led all pass-catchers with four receptions. Six others had two, including intense freshman Jalen Reagor, who came within 4 yards of scoring on his first college catch. Seven other players had one catch. It won’t look like this every week. But out of this many candidates, a go-to receiver or two or three should emerge.
The old coaching joke is that when you’re coming off a losing season, the good news is you have a lot of starters back and the bad news is you have a lot of starters back. Patterson went around telling that joke this summer. And it’s true that the Frogs return 17 starters, who are going to play a lot. But as Saturday night showed, Patterson wants to look at a lot of players. Six players made their first TCU starts — running back Darius Anderson, defensive ends Ben Banogu and Mat Boesen, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, linebacker Arico Evans and safety Markell Simmons. Anderson started because Kyle Hicks was not at full speed, and Simmons started because Niko Small was serving a punishment. No matter. The Frogs blended new faces with veterans and dominated a game they should have dominated.
TCU will be ready Saturday afternoon. They remember how they lost that game last year. Kenny Hill has issues, but he will remember how his throat slash may have led to Arkansas’ tying score. Coach Patterson wants to win this game in the worst way. That said, if the Hogs handle their business, they can win this game, but it won’t be easy.
Throat slash didn’t help the Frogs, but if you recall we tied it with more than a minute left and they had time to drive back down for the field goal attempt that Skipper blocked. Maybe without the dumb penalty we score with 15 seconds left and there’s no time to drive down for the FGA.
True. I still say the Hogs dominated that game for three quarters, but when the momentum changed, it changed for good until the Skipper block. That was the way the whole season went except once the momentum was gone, we never got it back in most games.
If we can run the ball it will relieve the pressure on the line and QB. If we can run the ball we will burn clock and wear on TCU. This may be a game we don’t throw as much because of the need to limit possession by their offense.
Same applied last year, but we ran for 180 yards and threw for 223. We won time of possession though, 33 to 27 minutes, even though TCU ran 90 plays to our 72. In OT we ran 7 plays, they ran 9, so regulation was 65 plays to 81 for that 33 minutes of possession (TOP is not calculated in overtime because there is no game clock). We ran the ball 43 times, threw 29. I could see the same ratio Saturday afternoon (3:2 in favor of the run).
The emphasis on speed is apparent everywhere you look with this TCU team. Gary Patterson emphasizes speed. That is what I think Bret Bielema has done with his last two classes, especially this class. You better have speed in the SEC – and when you face TCU.
Obviously, you can’t replace an All-SEC corner in a week, but sure hope Curl can perform at a higher level than an average freshman. Two things are concern me about that position: that whoever is there plays too loose and TCU kills us with short completions that keep moving the chains, and whoever is there bites on double moves and gets burned deep.
If we can get back to the old Arkansas team, and run the ball and stay in 3rd and short situations,I like our chances…Tcu is not very big up front ,so if we can come off the ball ,we should come away with the win…
TCU is a 3 point favorite at Vegas. Hard to make anything from the first game with either team in my opinion. TCU & Arkansas both showed good defense and sufficient offense. As with times past when facing a dual threat QB, we must contain and tackle. I think the key to this game is going to be fewest turnovers, fewest penalties, and ability for both teams to pressure the passer. After that, it might come down to special teams.
I’m with ya on that. I think our Oline shows up much better running between the tackles this week. We were a weak running team last year with a mediocre Oline and we were able to run on TCU early. IF we can run better than last year, this will be a solid game for us. IMO, TCU’s speed should dictate that we run straight at them between Froholdt and Clary wtih Ragnow taking out his guy. IMO I would think the cutting ability of Whaley and Hayden will be valuable, because we can run off each side of Ragnow’s hip and then cut it outside in the 2nd level. IMO I would run between Froholdt and Clary then let the 2nd level/LB’s position dictate cut back runs as a way of running “outside”.
The outside run and passing game will expose our LT and RT so we may not see as much outside run until we see how Gibson and Jackson handle the faster DE’s. I am scared of the delayed blitz when you have such quick LB’s. I would not do any thing too heavy on our LT or RT for a few plays until they adjust to the speed of TCU DE’s and blitz tendencies.
In a single phrase, Arkansas wants to “break your will”, according to Patterson.
Arkansas is one of the most fascinating teams in the nation, largely because of the misconception of what they do up front. When you see the phrase “run-first team”, you largely assume that everything is going to revolve around the off-tackle or A-gap runs, with a pulling guard or lead fullback thrown in to take on intrepid linebackers or safeties. Arkansas’s offense is more complex than that.
When you watch last year’s game between Arkansas and TCU, you see that it’s not just big, dumb football, there’s a lot of misdirection, sneaky draw plays, and otherwise tricky motions and pulling guards designed to throw linebackers off their keys.
In theory, this shouldn’t work against TCU, because their linebackers and safeties are faster than normal. However, the addition of the short passing game creates a logical hesitation in the mix for the linebackers, who are just a few steps behind on most of those plays.
It’s a well-designed offense, and it indeed will break your will, just not the way you think it will.