Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last Chance to Give

Friday is the last day to donate to the Purple People Seaters, a non-profit group run by TCU alumni that sends less-fortunate children to TCU sporting events. Right now they are raising money to send children in the San Diego area to the Poinsettia Bowl. $25 sends one child to the game, but you can donate in any amount that you wish.

Donating to this cause provides an opportunity for an underprivileged child to witness in person the kind of elite athletic competition (#11 vs. #9!!!! Most of us have never even been to a game between two teams so highly ranked!) that they are normally unable to attend. Last year, Purple People Seaters sent 285 Houston area youth to the the Frogs' Texas Bowl win. With just about 24 hours remaining in this year's fund-raising, they have about 205 confirmed purchases.

With so many Frog fans unable to make it to the game because of travel costs or Holiday plans, this is an extrememly affordable and easy way to support the team. The tickets are purchased out of TCU's ticket allotment, which matters because bowl executives considering the Frogs for future bowl invitations will look back to see how many tickets they were able to sell for their past bowl trips. There is also an option to purchase a purple TCU T-shirt for the kids to wear to the game.

If you are going to the game, what is $25 more bucks on top of the cost of your trip? If you're not going, isn't $25 or $50 or $75 a pittance compared to what you would've paid to fly out to San Diego? At the very least, forward the info about Purple People Seaters on to someone with deeper pockets than your own and let's make last year's total look like nothing.

Click here to donate

Merry Christmas, and Go Frogs

Poinsettia Bowl Preview: Defensive Line

Every day this week I will preview a different aspect of both teams and then give my prediction on who has the edge. Today I will be looking at the Defensive Lines for both squads
In the inverse of yesterday’s comparison, today I am going to look at the defensive lines for both teams. The other half of the “battle in the trenches,” defensive linemen are usually more notable and a little bit easier to pinpoint. Will Jerry Hughes’ monster year be enough to give TCU the edge? Probably, but let’s delve into it anyway.
TCU – Matt Panfil, James Vess, Cody Moore and Jerry Hughes

Kellen Moore, tell me how my ass taste?

TCU goes into the Poinsettia Bowl with the best run defense in the NCAA, we all know this. This is a category that every player on the defense deserves a share of, but most of this is going to be credited to the front seven and notably the defensive line. This group totaled 24.5 sacks between them and 3 INTs. They also broke up 2 passes, deflected another 4 and were in the the quarterback's face all year. We’re only listed as having 1 QB hurry all year, but I suppose when you’re putting him on his ass nearly 25 times, there’s not a whole lot of room for him to hurry out of trouble. Had these guys been on Sam Bradford in the first half like they were in the second half of that game, we’d be talking about a 21-10 loss instead of 35.

Jerry Hughes, well, I’d need several posts to list all of the accolades he has collected this post season, but the most noteworthy are the multiple first team All American selections he’s received as well as the Mountain West conference player of the year. A converted running back, Hughes doesn’t possess the overwhelming size and speed combination of his predecessor Tommy Blake (and let’s also hope he doesn’t possess the lack of marbles), but he’s a fighter and extremely quick off the snap. He also doesn’t shy away from big games, notably the one against BYU where he recorded four sacks and forced two fumbles. Obviously our offense played a huge role in that victory, but we never would’ve been in that position without Hughes. He finished the year with a whopping 14 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 2 INTs, including one for a touchdown against SMU. He was also among the team leaders in total tackles with 48, including 30 solos. Pretty amazing for a defensive lineman who hadn’t played the position before college, no?

Hughes’ counterpart, Matt Panfil, also came up huge for the Frogs in his senior season, but was naturally overshadowed by the things that Hughes was doing. He may have only had 1 forced fumble, but he had 4.5 sacks and 29 tackles and was always a threat to put pressure on the opposing QB. Panfil, it should be noted, was a high school safety.

In the interior, Cody Moore had an absolutely outstanding season at the often overlooked DT position. Also a senior, Moore contributed with 6 sacks and an INT. Fellow senior James Vess returned from a season where he was suspended for violating a team policy, but also had an impact at NT. It should also be noted that Panfil and Moore were both second team All MWC selections and Vess received an honorable mention nod. Having three seniors was a blessing for us this year in the experience and conditioning category and we will definitely take a few steps back next year without them on the line. (Prays for JuCo DT transfer.)

Boise State – Billy Wynn, Joe Bozikovich, Sean Bingham, Ryan Winterswyk.

Boise State D-Line. Tacklin' Somethin'

When you talk about Boise State, you typically talk about their offense, just like when you talk about TCU you do the opposite. However, this year Boise had a very solid product on both sides of the ball which explains a lot of the lop sidedness in most of their scores (well… either that or playing in the WAC, you be the judge.) These guys had 15 sacks this season and were the 14th best team against the run in the country. They also had 12 pass break ups and 4 quarterback hurries. These guys are physical and obviously put pressure on the quarterback quite often. They hate to be run on almost as much as we do, so our O line is going to have to work extra hard to blow open lanes and protect Dalton.

Ryan Wintserwyk was an All WAC first team selection and tallied 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and a couple of forced fumbles while totaling 35 overall tackles. He also tallied five pass breakups, showing that he was consistently in the QBs face making plays. Newhouse is going to have his work cut out for him against this guy.

Bookending the line is Billy Winn who, despite being a freshman, had a big year for the Broncos, seeing action in all 12 of Boise State’s games this year and piled up 23 tackles and a sack. He also broke up a couple of passes and forced a fumble. Winn was a first team all-freshman selection by The Sporting News.

In the middle are Sean Bingham and Joe Bozikovich, both seniors, both imposing forces. These two guys totaled 4 sacks between them, great numbers for interior linemen, and also had 5.5 sacks for losses. It should also be mentioned that they combined for four pass breakups.

Also look for Freshmen Byron Hout, J.P. Nisby and Chase Baker to see some time on the line during this game. If I were in the WAC, I’d be pretty terrified to see this many young guys making an impact on this line because there’s going to be no hope of running the ball on them in the next few years.

Second team All WAC defensive end Mike T Williams also had a superior year for the Broncos, but I did not list him as a starter because he is not listed on the depth chart. I did a little digging into this but was unable to find anything. Typo? Injury? Help me out here, someone. Regardless, if this is true, this will be a HUGE break for the Frogs.

Overall – Yesterday I gave the offensive line edge to the TCU line based not only on homerism but also by their size, experience, and numbers. You’ll notice I gave Boise the benefit of the doubt statistically today by adding an additional lineman to their lineup simply because I’m not going to take credit away from one of their best performers because he isn’t on the depth chart for the game Tuesday. Even so, TCUs four lineman had 121 tackles between them while Boise, with five, had 128. If you remove any of these guys, TCU would win that battle. Also, 9.5 more sacks for the Frogs? It goes without saying what that’s about. Boise wins in the passes defensed categories, but that could just mean they have long arms, who knows. On Tuesday I came to a point when picking the wide receiver matchups where I had to look at overall numbers and an individual standout player in order to give an edge. I still stand by my prediction of TCU, but after getting feedback from Boise fans, as well as doing more research, that battle is looking much, much closer to a push and, should Moore play up to his potential, they would win. In this instance, though, the two factors I’m looking at leave very little doubt as to who has the edge.

First off, TCU has the second best defense in the country, and THE best in some categories. Boise has a great defense, but the juggernaut we run out of the tunnel every single game is something we may never see again at Amon G Carter Stadium. Air Force and Oklahoma have two of the best rushing attacks in the nation and we swallowed them. We only allowed 48.7 yards per game. Enough said. The linebackers will also get credit for this tomorrow, but for right now I’m going to give most of it to the D line. These guys were lights out all year and I’m not going to try and belittle what they did now or ever, even for the sake of balance.

The other factor I looked at for the receivers was the biggest playmaker at the position, and while Boise will probably tell you that their boys are as good as any, it’d take a really blind fan to think that they had anything in the same league as Jerry Hughes, Jr. Heck, it’d take a really blind fan from ANY team in the entire country to think they have anything in the same league as Jerry Hughes. UT can have Orakpo, I’m siding with Hughes. I’ve sung his praises above… but what’s a little bit more, eh? The guy is an absolute MONSTER on the line so much so that he almost makes it look effortless. He's like Anton Chigurh but he doesn't need a cattle gun to prove his point. Like I said yesterday, I don’t want to say I’m giddy about watching him go up against 3 unseasoned pups on the right side of the Boise O-line… but, I’m giddy about it. If you’ve somehow gone all season without watching this guy for an entire series, be sure and get your tivo ready this game, because you’re going to have a lot of rewinding to do.

Edge – Frogs, large.

TCU is faster than Florida says Spencer Tillman of CBS Sports. Check out this Poinsettia Bowl preview from CBS with Tillman and Jason Horwitz breaking down the match up between the Horned Frogs and Boise State.

Sam Baugh the Greatest of All-time, repost from our top 30 countdown

"Slingin"Sammy Baugh widely regarded as the best Quarterback in college football history, honed his skills as a boy in Sweetwater, Texas by throwing a football through a tire that was swinging in a tree. Baugh's incredible talent combined with Dutch Meyer's revolutionary offense made TCU a national power. Baugh, originally slated to play baseball for Washington State before a knee injury, decided to attend TCU after Coach Meyer promised Baugh he could play three sports.

While at TCU Baugh played baseball and basketball in addition to football. Baugh was twice named an all-American, in 1935 and '36. The Frogs won bowl games in both of those years against LSU in the 1935 Sugar Bowl a thrilling 3-2 game and a 16-6 victory over Marquette in the inaurgural Cotton Bowl.

In the spring of his senior year Baugh was approached by the Washington Redskins about playing in the NFL. He waited to sign a contract until after the college all-star game in which his team beat the NFL champion Green Bay Packers 6-0.

Baugh went on to be the sixth overall pick of the Redskins he responded by saying:

"I didn't know what they were talking about, because frankly, I had never heard of
either the draft or the Washington Redskins."

Baugh went on to be named all-pro nine times, he has been named to the 75th anniversary all-time NFL team and his professional number 33 has been retired by the Redskins.

The game of football would not be where it is today where it not for the Great Slingin Sammy Baugh.

Hope you have enjoyed the countdown and if you disagree with any of it, well that is the beauty of the internet.

Spit Blood!

Morning Dump

Sam Baugh, 94, left indelible mark on football, TCU and NFL Star-Telegram

The first of the gunslingers Washington Post

TCU legend Sam Baugh dies at 94

All-time great Sammy Baugh passes away Washington Redskins
-there are hundreds of articles on the great Sam Baugh today. I have included just four, one from each of the home city papers and the teams of his college and professional careers.

TCU's Hughes adds to his honors

34 things to consider for bowl season Fox Sports

Chapel Hill's Tucker top dog on offense
Tyler Morning Telegraph