Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fiesta Bowl Round-Up and Prediction.


Spit, Frogs. Spit.

So this is it – the last piece I will write before the New Year and the last piece I will write about the upcoming game. All things considered, at least judging from the amount of postings and the site meter, it looks like folks sure haven’t sold themselves on the game yet. If there’s one thing we try and teach here it’s opponent hate, and I would hate to think that we haven’t done a good job of that. Sure, you should have enough self motivation to trigger your hate left over from last year, and if that didn’t work you only need remember that the only reason we aren’t playing Pasadena next week is because Colt McCoy was lucky enough to not get snake bitten by his own lack of knowledge of the rules. Still though, we have the biggest game of the Patterson era coming up on Monday evening and we all need to be ready.

I have several reasons for doing these previews. Mostly, I like to educate myself about the opposing team – if anyone else learns something from me, that’s just a bonus because I genuinely do not care. I also like to see if what we’ve done all year will continue to work against said team and also find out a few tidbits of information about players and coaching staff that we can use against them and their fans. Unfortunately for this second part, there wasn’t much – Kellen Moore is a mouth breather, Byron Hout got KTFO, and they hurt their best playmaker by unnecessarily going for two early in a game. That’s really about it. Still though, I think got enough information about the Broncos to put together a decent little round of previews, and now I want to bring it all back together.

Last night I had someone ask me how I felt about the game as he thought that we should win by about two touchdowns. Honestly, I couldn’t argue with him – I’m a confident guy about our team and have more or less talked myself into Boise’s injury situation. Our defense is good enough on its own to stop Boise; now with the help we’ve been given, I don’t see how they get anywhere near their season average. Potentially not having Austin Pettis is a HUGE loss for that offense, but even if he does play, you’re still only getting about 75% of his A game, which should more than compensate for our presumed lack of Rafael Priest covering him on the outside. Still, the loss of their starting right tackle – if you did your reading, pupils, you’ll know that he’s their version of most team’s left tackle- could be monumental. Don’t think that Jerry Hughes isn’t licking his chops just thinking about teeing off on Moore all night. They did a fine job bottling him up last year but unfortunately, despite his numbers, Hughes is even more of an animal now, and he hasn’t feasted in over a month. Boise may have the highest scoring offense in the country, but only two teams this season have gone over 17 points on us and, although this will easily be the best offense we’ve faced this season, without them being able to fire on all cylinders, I see them having more than a few problems picking up 6 on each drive.

Obviously the major difference between this year and the last is that we now officially have an offense to complement our defense. As I said, Boise has an absolutely nasty defensive secondary, so don’t expect for Dalton to come out and look like Drew Brees circa two months ago, but, as you all should know, that’s not the name of our game anyway, and the run game is where we will win or lose. Against the Miami, Ohios and UC Davises of the world, Boise’s run defense looked pretty solid; against the big boys? Not so much. In six of their thirteen games, the Broncos gave up at least 100 yards rushing; in 3 of those games, they gave up at least 200, including a 342 yard explosion to Fresno State. By contrast, Wyoming and their dismal run D gave up less than 200 to the same Bulldogs. Let’s just say the Boise front seven hasn’t exactly stepped it up in big games. Oh yeah, and TCU has rushed for over 100 yards in every single game this year, including 200 five times and 300 four times. Unless the Broncos can stop that bleeding, this could get ugly in a hurry.

To give you a better picture, let’s take a look at the overall unit matchups.

When Boise passes the ball… 269 yards per game for (32) vs. 152.8 yards per game allowed (5).

When TCU passes the ball… 218 yards per game for (78) vs. 178.2 yards per game allowed (14).

When Boise runs the ball… 194.5 yards per game for (20) vs. 80.5 yards per game allowed (3).

When TCU runs the ball… 256.5 yards per game for (5) vs. 126.8 yards per game allowed (40).

If you didn’t catch my drift earlier about our run game being the difference maker, that right there should demonstrate pretty clear what I was going for.

What I think will happen: Obviously Boise will come out early and try and establish the passing game, while TCU will do just the same with our run game. As you can see, TCU ranks pretty favorably in every category except passing offense, while Boise ranks highly everywhere except run defense. Still, the only matchup they win head to head is their passing defense is better than our passing offense. That’s it. We understand that our passing isn’t intended to blow teams apart, although with Antoine Hicks on board, it has been known to do that from time to time this year.

No, I expect us to play power, SEC style football here – translation: run the ball down their throats when we have it, and knock the piss out of them when they do. I’d be surprised if Dalton hits his season average in passing attempts to be honest, which is 23.5, and not a high ranking number. You do have to worry about Kellen Moore and his 10 games with at least 200 yards passing this year, but the fact that our defense has only allowed a 200 yard passer three times season makes me worry a bit less. Assuming we can keep their passing game quiet, which honestly won’t be as easy as saying “32 vs. 5” I see this one being a little easier for us than the Poinsettia Bowl.

Last year, we dominated the stat line, winning time of possession, total yards, first downs, third downs, rushing yards, and only were beaten by 25 yards in the passing game. Still, two interceptions ultimately kept it close and we were very fortunate to have a phenomenal defense keep us in it long enough to pull out the win. This year though? How can you not love the Frogs? Our performance in big games should be enough to swing the votes our way because we’ve proven when the stakes are the highest, we play our best. The only times we were truly challenged were games when the weather was a major factor, but seeing as how we’ll be playing indoors on arguably the most well maintained field in football – if you didn’t know, the field is retractable – that obviously will not be an issue. Plus, the team obviously thrived in the Utah game with the huge atmosphere, not to mention the pro combat unis which will be donned for this game. Considering this game is on the biggest stage most of these guys will ever play on, I expect us to show up fully focused and ready to whip some Donkey ass.

The Pick – TCU 35, Boise State 21.

Arriving in Scottsdale on Sunday afternoon – can’t wait to see everyone there. GO FROGS!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fiesta Bowl Preview: Special Teams.

Boise special teamers need to make sure they order their Kerley fries
with a side of clean underwear/new ankles.

For the final part of our preview, I’ll take a look at the special teams for both sides. And just like I do for most of the special teams previews throughout the season, I’m going to make this one short, sweet, and with only half of an ass. I’m going to use the four categories of kicking, kickoffs, punting and returns, pick each one individually and then see who takes it at the end. Simple enough? Lezgo!

Kicking:

Boise – Kyle Brotzman.

17-23 FG, Long 52; 64-66 PAT.

TCU – Ross Evans.

14-17 FG, Long 48; 60-62 PAT.

When you look at the kicking breakdowns for these two teams, you can see why it’s much more worth the whiles for both to put the ball in the end zone rather than rely on a field goal attempt. In all fairness, neither kicker is BAD, persay – in fact, Evans is really pretty good as a whole. The issue with both is, neither can kick well under pressure. Evans somewhat redeemed himself this season in the Air Force game, although that game never should’ve gotten to that point, but unfortunately for this kid his only legacy will be the Utah debacle.

As for Brotzman, coincidentally enough, his biggest career gaffe to this point came in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl when he shanked a short field goal in the third quarter that would’ve in all likelihood given Boise the game. Sure, he made three others to keep the Broncos in it, but no one remembers those kinds of kicks.

Really, even though Evans has had fewer opportunities, he has a better percentage, and is more accurate inside 40 yards as his only misses came from beyond that mark. By contrast, three of Brotzman’s misses came from within 40 yards, including one within 30. They’re both going to make their extra point attempts, so I’m going to give it to Evans based on his FG percentage

Edge – Frogs

Kickoffs:

Boise – Kyle Brotzman, Jimmy Pavel. (stats averaged)

106 kickoffs, 61.1 yard avg, 7 touchbacks, 2 out of bounds, 42.9 yard net.

TCU – Kevin Sharples, Ross Evans. (stats averaged)

90 kickoffs, 63.3 yard avg, 5 touchbacks, 2 out of bounds, 43.7 yards net.

Should be self explanatory – Frogs have a slightly better average and net, but Broncos put the ball in the end zone more. Neither kicker is flawless when it comes to accuracy.

Edge – Push.

Punting:

Boise – Kyle Brotzman, Brad Elkin (stats averaged)

49 punts, 42.0 yard average, 4 touchbacks, 20 inside 20, 11 50+

TCU – THE HEAVIEST PUNTER IN DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL

51 punts, 35.8 yard average, 1 TB, 16 inside 20, 3 50+.

Even Boise’s back up kicker looks like Secretariat to Kelton’s Rachel Alexandra.

Edge – Boise

Returns:

Here is where things will get dicey and the pick will ultimately be made. We take for granted that Jeremy Kerley is just better than everyone at returns, but Boise feels the same way about Titus Young. For brevity, I’m just going to include the #1 punt returner and two starting kick returners for both schools.

Punt returns:

Boise – Kyle Wilson

20 punts returned, 10.4 yard average, long of 59

TCU – Jeremy Kerley

34 punts returned, 14.3 yard average, long of 71, 2 TDs.

Welps, that was easy.

Edge – Frogs.

Kick Returns:

Boise – Titus Young, Doug Martin (stats averaged).

34 kicks returned, 28.75 yard average, long of 100, 2 TDs

TCU – Jeremy Kerley, Greg McCoy (stats averaged).

26 punts returned, 32.45 yard average, long of 81, 1 TD.

Alright, so to a TCU fan, this can be skewed in our favor with few arguments, right? However, I’ll at least do some justice to the Boise faithful here and try and keep an even keel. Alright, so Titus Young is a really, really good kick returner. Jeremy Kerley is also a very good kick returner, although he shines far brighter fielding punts. You’d be surprised, though, to learn that Doug Martin and Greg McCoy actually average more yards per return than their more notable counter parts – in McCoy’s case, it’s 12 more yards (38). Yes, their yards are skewed because they have fewer overall returns – McCoy has 9, Martin 6 – but… 38 yards? Wowza! I haven’t personally watched Young return a kick this season, but for those of us who watch the Frogs, we know that McCoy is a muchbigger threat than Kerley to take one to the house by far – he’s been called the fastest player on the team – but has been kicked to this year because Kerley has the name recognition. Don’t be surprised if Boise picks the Kerley poison on Monday. It’s a close call, but, gotta go with the home team.

Edge - Frogs.

Overall Edge – Frogs – 2.5 vs. 1.5.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a final roundup and prediction.

Scouts Inc.'s take on the Fiesta Matchup


Here is the breakdown on the game from espn.com and Scouts Inc. along with a score prediction. Funny how they choose our QB over theirs and their RBs over ours. Interesting.

QB-TCU

RB-BSU

WR-BSU

OL-TCU

DL-TCU

LB-TCU

DB-BSU

ST-BSU

Coach-TCU

Boise State offense vs. TCU defense
• Boise State will continue to alter its blocking schemes and run out of different formations in an effort to free up RBs Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin. The Broncos will pitch the ball to the running back, block down with an H-back and tight end and then pull the front-side guard and tackle, and on the next play zone block up front and run a stretch play to the outside. They can even run their version of the Wildcat package with Avery. However, TCU ranks third in the nation (80.5 ypg) and showed in last year's Poinsettia Bowl matchup with the Broncos that it can slow the Boise running game. Horned Frogs LBs Daryl Washington and Tank Carder are sound open-field tacklers who rarely get caught out of position and are quick enough to make plays in the backfield. They should continue to benefit from playing behind a front four that can hold its own in the trenches and make it tough for Boise State to release blockers up to the second level.

• There's reason to be concerned about the Broncos' ability to turn red zone trips into touchdowns in this game. While Avery and Martin run hard they lack the power to push the pile when they don't get a seam, and TCU's eight-man front will make it difficult to open up holes in these situations. Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin can try to overcome this disadvantage by spreading the field and throwing but Boise State could be without its best red zone receiver. WR Austin Pettis (6-foot-3, 201 pounds) injured his leg in the Nevada game and will likely be a game-time decision. In addition, TCU's corners, safeties and linebackers will crowd the line of scrimmage and force Moore to throw into tight windows near the goal line.

• Boise State's pass protection has been stellar this season and QB Kellen Moore gets rid of the ball quickly, but the Horned Frogs should have some success getting to him. For starters, Broncos ROT Garrett Pendergast fractured his ankle during bowl preparations and will miss the game, and whoever replaces Pendergast will have a difficult time keeping TCU DE Jerry Hughes out of the backfield. Hughes explodes upfield at the snap, is quick enough to turn the corner and closes on the quarterback in a hurry. He can also redirect inside after starting outside and will occasionally bull rush tackles back into the quarterback's lap. Secondly, TCU's ability to slow the run will put Moore in some third-and-long situations that force him to hold the ball longer than he would like. Harsin will try to keep the Horned Frogs off-balance with his screen package, and Moore and his offensive line do an excellent job of selling the pass on screen plays and Avery is dangerous after the catch.

TCU offense vs. Boise State defense
• Moore has been the most efficient quarterback in the FBS this year but Horned Frogs QB Andy Dalton isn't far behind, ranking fourth in the nation (159.6) in that category. Like Moore, Dalton locates favorable matchups quickly and keeps opposing defenses off-balance by spreading the ball around and also shows above-average accuracy and touch on short-to-intermediate throws. There is one key difference between the two, though, and that is Dalton's ability make plays with his feet. Dalton is more of a threat to break the long run when he scrambles, keeps the ball on designed keepers or holds onto it on the read option. Boise State can't lose track of him when the Horned Frogs run and the Broncos must stay in their rush lanes when the Broncos drop back to pass.

• Boise State's front seven is relentless and disruptive against the run but the defensive line can struggle to hold its ground and the linebackers sometimes take too long to shed blocks when teams run right at them. The Horned Frogs can exploit this weakness with their size up front and open up holes between the tackles for RBs Joseph Turner, Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker. Keep an eye on the 225-pound Turner in particular, because he is a downhill runner who reads blocks well enough and can power through arm tackles.

• WR Jeremy Kerley is an explosive open-field runner who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball and TCU gets him involved in a number of different ways. He can line up in the slot or at quarterback in the Horned Frogs' version of the Wildcat package, and he returns kickoffs and punts. As talented as Kerley is, though, Boise State is capable of limiting his production as a receiver and return man. For starters, CB Kyle Wilson has the fluid hips and burst to stay with Kerley coming out of breaks, and though Wilson lined up on the outside during our film evaluations he's more than capable of sliding inside and lining up over Kerley in the slot. Secondly, the Broncos' kickoff and punt coverage are among the best in the nation. However, Kerley could do some damage when he lines up at quarterback because he has the speed to exploit the seams his line creates and the former high school quarterback is a legitimate threat to throw the ball.

Scouts' Edge

These are different teams than the ones that met in the Poinsettia Bowl last year. Boise State has 10 different starters, TCU has 11 and Moore has developed into a more efficient quarterback in his second season at the helm of the Broncos' offense. Still, look for the Horned Frogs get the win in much the same way they got their 17-16 last season. They will frustrate the Broncos with their stout run defense and relentless pass rush, and while TCU's offense won't come close to reaching its normal scoring output it will run the ball better than Boise State and Dalton will make enough plays with his arm for the Horned Frogs to eke out the win.

Prediction: Horned Frogs 24, Broncos 20

Tech Fires Leach; GP entertains coaching offer


Yarrrrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Hahahahaha, that got you looking, no? Anyway, as I'm sure most of you have seen, Tech parted ways with the always controversial Mike Leach today, ending a run that saw the most successful football season's in Texas Tech history. Yes, a 2 loss season ending in a rout in the Cotton Bowl by Ole Miss qualifies as the greatest season in Tech history. Thanks for screwing UT out of the national championship though!

Anyway, for the three people in the universe who weren't aware of how awful Tech fans are, just get ready for what's about to happen with the impending coaching search. You see, Tech fans have a HUGE chip on their shoulder and have this very, very curious sense of entitlement that springs from... well, nowhere to be honest. So, they'll feel like the Lubbock job is one of the premiere vocations in the country and therefore deserves a top rated coach.

Enter the Gary Patterson rumors.

Last year when Leach was on the firing line, Lubbockites were absolutely CERTAIN that GP would come running to Lubbock, and pretty much dismissed him as a candidate that they needed to entertain because, once they were turned down by a few dozen coaches, they could simply show him the money and he'd be there. This year though, with GP's new contract and the reality that Tech hasn't recruited a defense in the past 20 years, the joke will be on them.

Still, this whole situation is pretty remarkable for a few reasons. Number one, how sued is Tech going to be over this? SO FUCKING sued. For starters, the fact that they released him on the hearsay of a daddy's boy backup receiver is questionable in itself, especially when current and former players have run to the coach's aid. Secondly, that they did it the day before the coach was due a $800,000 retention bonus certainly raises a few red flags. Third - and perhaps the most interesting- is seeing where Leach will land. Lyle brought this up yesterday about how incredible it'd be for him to wind up at a lower tier SEC school and watch the sparks fly because, if Lane Kiffin qualifies as controversial in those parts, can you imagine the feathers the Pirate would ruffle?

The greatest thing about this, though, is going to be watching the Tech fans face the reality that they go to a shitty school with a one dimensional football team that holds very little appeal to any sane coach other than he can recruit the state of Texas. Aren't you simply giddy thinking about watching their spirits completely crumble when they're turned down by every viable coaching candidate in America and end up with the offensive coordinator from Tulsa or something along those lines? Circling back to the GP rumors and how I expect them to fly, how much can you wait for them to run their mouths about it again and get the Clemson, "no thanks, and I'm not returning your phone call, either" treatment? I have this strange, irrational hatred of Tech that almost borders how I feel about UT, and much like that one it solely revolves around the fans. Watching their world crumble as ours flourishes is going to make 2010 a year to remember.

Where Revenge Happens

Clips from Purple Reign

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Dump

TCU arrives in Arizona after 12 year journey Star-Telegram

For TCU, end of the rainbow is almost in sight Star-Telegram

TCU-Northern Colorado men's basketball preview Star-Telegram

Top 5 local athletes in 2009 Star-Telegram

Patterson addresses Fiesta Bowl media as Frogs arrive
GoFrogs.com

Frogs set for home contest against Northern Colorado
GoFrogs.com

Horned Frogs arrive in style for Fiesta Bowl
AP

Scorned Frogs era long gone: TCU stands tall amid BCS
USA Today

TCU coach takes low road to Fiesta Bowl Arizona Republic

TCU aims to get jump on Broncos for '10
ESPN

Exclusive video interview with TCU coach Gary Patterson Examiner



Offensive firepower Idaho Press

Boise State D-line eager for do-over Idaho Statesman

Fiesta Bowl Chairman "We knew it would be a good match-up"
Idaho Statesman

Boise State is cashing in on success Honolulu Adviser

Fiesta Bowl worthy of national championship game status
Epoch Times

Editorial: Mountain West soaring high Deseret News

Broncos sign Herb Taylor
National Football Post

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CW presents Purple Reign



Tonight TCU will be getting some outstanding local press at 6:00pm as KDAF-TV/The 33 will premier a TCU football special titled, Purple Reign: The Horned Frogs Perfect Season.

The special is set to feature interviews with GP and a few former players including Chargers' superstar LT. Those of you in the FW area tune in and let the rest of us know how it is. There will be an encore presentation a few hours later at 1:00am.

On another note, the team arrived in Phoenix about 3:45 CST this afternoon.

And for your current viewing pleasure here's a GP interview done by a Skiff reporter following yesterday's practice.


Fiesta Bowl Preview: Secondary.

Respect.

The old adage says defense wins championships, so by that mantra, none of these defensive previews should be necessary because the Frogs are among the best defenses in the land and should therefore have no problems, right? WRRROOOOOOOOOONNNGGGGGG. Excusing the cliché there, it’s true, Boise State is a very well balanced football team on both sides of the ball. Alright, so excluse that cliché as well and just listen to what GP said earlier, “Their defense doesn’t get as much notoriety, but they’re good. I think they rank in the top fifteen in the nation in total defense. They get a lot of credit for their offense because their defense does a great job.” If GP said it, must be true! Anyway, today’s preview is going to take a gander at the defensive secondaries for both teams – an area where TCU has been in flux a good part of the year due to injuries but has still obviously been succesfull.

Boise:

Jeron Johnson – JR, 5-11, 194. 1st Team All-WAC.

88 Tackles, 1.5 TFL, 4 INTs, 6 breaksups, 10 defensed, 1 hurry, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked kick.

George Iloka – SO, 6-3, 207.

42 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 5 breakups, 6 defensed, 1 defection from Texas.

Winston Venable – JR, 5-11, 223.

55 Tackles, 8 TFL, 1 INT, 3 breakups, 4 defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Kyle Wilson – SR, 5-10, 186. 1st Team All-WAC.

40 Tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3 INTs, 2 breakups, 5 defensed.

Brandyn Thompson – JR, 5-10, 180. 2nd Team All-WAC.

38 tackles, 4 INTs, 3 breakups, 7 defensed, 1 fumble recovery.

Frogs:

Rafael Priest* - SR, 5-10, 181.

18 Tackles, 1 INT, 7 breakups, 8 defensed.

Nick Sanders* - SR. 5-10, 174.

28 Tackles, 3 breakups, 3 defensed.

Tejay Johnson - JR, 6-1, 212.

51 Tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INTs, 2 breakups, 5 defensed, 1 forced fumble

Tyler Luttrell - JR, 6-1, 210.

32 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sacks, 1 INT, 2 breakups, 3 defensed, 1 forced fumble..

Alex Ibiloye - JR, 6-10, 183.

61 Tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 breakup, 1 defensed.

Jason Teague - JR, 6-2, 185.

18 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 2 breakups, 4 defensed, 1 fumble recovery.

Greg McCoy - SO, 5-10, 181.

15 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 breakups, 5 defensed.

Breakdown: The more I keep doing these breakdowns, the more I realize how Boise has pretty much no seniors – I think I read 4 overall somewhere – and will be right back in the thick of things next year, likely undefeated for a third year in a row. No wonder Chris Peterson has turned down big name jobs in the past – he’s the northwest's version of GP.

Judging by overall numbers, TCU is tied for 4th in pass defense per game with 152.8 yards allowed and Boise clocks in at 14th with 172.8 ypg; TCU has allowed 10 passing TDs to Boise’s 14. Where Boise beats us though – and where most teams beat us, to be honest – is in interceptions, where they ranked 3rd with 22. TCU, at the other end of the spectrum, only has 14. The overall stats are undeniable – neither team allows opposing offenses to move the ball on them through the air with any ease and, in Boise’s case, they go up and take the thing as well,something we just haven’t been able to capitalize on this year when Donovan Porterie isn’t under center. The half full way to look at it is that, due to our overall defense, quarterbacks have so much respect for our secondary that they don’t throw it deep – sort of true – or that they are under so much pressure up front, they don’t have time to get many passes off – more true.

However, there’s no denying Boise’s talent in the defensive backfield. Safety Jeron Johnson is an absolute animal and led the team in sacks and INTs. Think of him as Stephen Hodge, but with hands to go with his nose for the ball. Cornerback Kyle Wilson is the lone senior on the squad, but has been a starter for most of his years at Boise and is a threat from the punt return position as well. Despite his size, Brandyn Thompson was second team all conference and picked off four passes, although having watched Rafael Priest and Nick Sanders for four years, we should know that size definitely does not matter when it comes to being an outstanding defensive back. Speaking of size, Houston area product George Iloka is a beast man safety and,although he doesn’t have the overall numbers of his peers, has been exceptional for the Broncos.

For the Frogs, you’ll notice I listed two more players than would fit in our 4-2-5 scheme which is due to the injury situation with Priest and Sanders we faced this season. Although both started every single game for the first three seasons of their TCU careers, that double edged sword finally caught up to them this year as both broke down and lost their starting streaks. Still, both played in 10 games and both were named to the all conference squad. An injury to an entrenched starter always goes one of two ways depending on how well your backups play, and fortunately this season we found the rare silver lining of two backups who emerged and arguably outplayed their higher ups on the depth chart. Jason Teague and Greg McCoy were anything but household names to anyone but the most unabashed TCU fan coming into the season; now, there shouldn’t be one person questioning who will step up and fill the roles of Priest and Sanders when they are gone after this season. Forget McCoy’s obvious kick returning skills; the kid is an absolute ball hawk who picked off two passes in his limited game time this season and broke up 3 passes. Teague, a JUCO transfer who was once committed to LSU and will get the start in the bowl game if Priest remains injured, is probably the best defensive back we have on the team right now and recorded the same number of tackles as Priest despite only starting two games. He also had 2 INTs.

However, I hope you aren’t taking my praise of those two guys as a knock on Priest and Sanders because they were beyond fantastic for our team and a big part of the unbelievable defensive run we’ve been on under Patterson. Like I said, they may not have the numbers that the Boise guys have, nor even the same numbers as some guys on their own team, but they are brutal in coverage and rarely let their man get behind them. It’s a shame Priest will have to watch his final game as a Horned Frog from the sidelines, but that’s still a better alternative than the way others we know have finished their careers in purple.

At safety, a lot of people were terrified with the departures of Drew Coleman and Stephen Hodge, and then things got worse in pre-season when Colin Jones went down and our only options were Marcus Jackson and a converted wide receiver. No matter, that receiver, Tyler Luttrell, stepped up arguably more than any new Frog did all season on defense outside of Tank Carder, making 32 tackles, 1 sack, and grabbing one of the more unbelievable interceptions I’ve ever seen. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and say it’s the best interception I’ve ever seen from a first year starting white receiver convert safety – I’m just that passionate about it. Alex Ibiloye, despite our game announcer STILL not being able to pronounce his name, also put together a solid little season, placing third on the team with 61 tackles.

I saved Tejay Johnson for last though, because I honestly don’t think we heard enough about this guy this season. Understandably, with all the talk about the four other returning starters on defense in Hughes, Priest, Sanders, and Washington, not to mention Tank Carder and his lifetime achievement award for returning from a broken neck to be a wheels off linebacker, it’s hard to find enough print for everyone - especially when your team doesn’t have much print to go around anyway. Still, 51 tackles and 3 interceptions should get people talking and if the pundits have any sense this guy will be all over the watch lists going into his senior season next year.

Earlier on in this preview I made the assertion that maybe Boise has had more passes thrown their way, which is why their guys have been able to put up superior numbers. After doing some hasty fact checking though, TCU has had 29.9 passes attempted against them per game this year. Boise? 30.3. The difference there is that TCU only allowed 13.8 completions per game vs. Boise at 16.6, but it doesn’t look like opposing quarterbacks were too enthusiastic about trying to get a pass game going against either team. Looking at the overall pass defense numbers, one would assume that I would simply give the edge to TCU and move on, but before I make any decision, I have to take something into account. A pass defense is really only as good as its pass rush, and I don’t know many schools in the country that have anything resembling what TCU has in that category. Therefore, you really have to look at individual numbers between the players, and this is where I will make the call.

Boise’s defensive backs are absolutely phenomenal on the field. Their starting five combined for 263 tackles and 13 interceptions. By comparison, what I will call our starting seven right now, combined for 223 tackles and 7 interceptions. This isn’t to say that I think their guys are necessarily going to have a better day – Jerry Hughes and his boys up front should put enough pressure on Kellen Moore to not allow him to sit back there and pick and choose his receivers, and our secondary are no slouches – but, at least on paper, I have to be fair and say that Boise has one of the best collections of defensive backs in the country. Given that we are more middle of the road when it comes to passing the ball anyway, I expect us to show these guys a lot of respect and put the ball on the ground far more often than we do in the air. Of course I still think we'll win the game, but sometimes you have to forgo being a homer and be fair.

Edge – Boise.


Strength of Schedule Watch: TCU opponents fairing well

With the final BCS rankings a few weeks in the past, strength of schedule doesn't officially count for anything anymore. But you still want your team's accomplishments to stand up to comparison, and TCU's certainly have so far.

The Horned Frogs defeated six teams that ended up accepting bowl invitations, and so far those teams are 5-0 in postseason play...including 2-0 against Boise State victims. BYU and Utah both took care of their Pac-10 opponents (the Cougars took down Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl and Utah defeated Cal in the Poinsettia Bowl). CJ Spiller went out a winner at Clemson, with the Tigers beating Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. And then you had Wyoming taking down Boise-victim Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl and SMU blowing out Boise-victim Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

Frog opponents will look to go 6-0 on New Year's Eve, when Air Force takes on Houston (for the second consecutive year) in the Armed Forces Bowl right here in Fort Worth. And who knows- by then, UH coach Kevin Sumlin could be on his way to Lubbock...

Morning Dump

Horned Frogs arrival will kick off the action Star-Telegram

Frogs prominent on postseason honor roll
GoFrogs.com

TCU runs special section in Arizona Republic
TCU

Broncos hold first practice in Arizona
BroncoSports.com

Three ways Boise State has changed since the 2007 Fiesta Bowl Idaho Statesman

Three freshman Boise players out for the Fiesta Bowl; Pettis still a game-time decision Idaho Statesman

Versatile receivers shine
Idaho Press

Broncos touch down in Arizona
Idaho Press

Monday, December 28, 2009

Conquering Death Valley

In light of Clemson's victory last night (their first bowl win in four years), here is a little reminder of our match up in September.



Also, I got a message that I apparently did not follow "web-etiquette" by making these videos after the tool who made the one with Ed Wesley. I supposedly "copied" his idea (which is totally true) without even asking or "tipping my cap" to him. Seriously kid? Grow up.

P.S. - Who says "web-etiquette"? Last time I checked, this isn't a World of Warcraft blog.

Morning Dump

TCU's Gary Patterson proud of Mountain West's strong bowl showing Star-Telegram

Strong radio presence to follow Frogs to Fort Worth GoFrogs.com

Frogs will wear Pro Combat uniforms for Fiesta Bowl Daily Skiff

Exclusive Fiesta Bowl interview with TCU coach Gary Patterson, uniform selection confirmed
Examiner

Explosive playmaker commits to TCU NBC DFW

A long time in the making Idaho Press

Welcome back, Broncos
Idaho Press

Friday, December 25, 2009




HAPPY HUNUKKAH!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeremy Kerley Happens



A little gift from Santa

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And Another One

TCU Tribute By A Former ESPNer

A ton of people have emailed this to me, unfortunately youtube is not working for me right now, so I can't attest that it is good. The creator use to work for ESPN as a Highlights Supervisor. I don't think he's a Frog, but he realized hours of dedication to this montage was Frog worthy. Enjoy, and thanks for the video.

Fiesta Bowl Preview: Running Backs.


I just thought this fit well with the whole three headed rushing attack/sheep banging theme
Also, if this is going to haunt my dreams this week, it may as well haunt yours too.

The biggest misconception that most people have about Boise is that they are strictly a passing team, which is likely because the only player you ever hear about is QB Kellen Moore. And while they are, admittedly, a more pass oriented offense, you can’t for a second overlook what has been an extremely successful ground attack for the Broncos this season. Just because cheerleader banging Ian Johnson is gone doesn’t mean the rushing yards left with him. In fact, Boise features a three headed rushing attack much like the Frog’s, although that third head doesn’t get near the number of attempts as the first two. We talk a big game about what our three guys have done this season – and rightfully so – but the Boise ground game has done a ton of damage, ranking 20th in the country. Let’s take a closer look.

Donkey:

Jeremy Avery - JR, 5-9, 173.

197 carries, 1130 yards, 5.7 YPC, 6 TDs

Doug Martin - SO, 5-9, 201.

113 carries, 723 yards, 6.4 YPC, 14 TDs

DJ Harper- JR, 5-9, 198.

44 carries, 284 yards, 6.5 YPC, 3 TDs

Frogs:

Joseph Turner- SR, 6-1, 225.

140 carries, 732 yards, 5.2 YPC, 11 TDs

Matthew Tucker - FR, 6-1, 210.

104 carries, 667 yards, 6.4 YPC, 8 TDs

Ed Wesley - FR, 5-9, 185.

99 carries, 630 yards, 6.4 YPC, 4 TDs

A big oversight in evaluating our run game is leaving Andy Dalton off of this list. I am doing this because he’s not a running back and I already mentioned his numbers yesterday, but his 107 attempts, 500+ yards and 3 TDs warrant a small mention here because the zone read is such a big part of our offensive game plan. However, it’s plain to see that Turner, Tucker and Wesley hold up just fine on their own. Still, it’s kind of surprising that Turner, our leading rusher by attempts and yards, falls 400 yards short of Boise’s Avery. Avery also factors into the Boise passing game and, with Austin Pettis’ presumed absence, is going to have to be the biggest focal point of our defensive efforts. For that matter, Doug Martin and his 14 TDs are going to need to be locked in on as well. As I said earlier, most people hear Boise and think Kellen Moore and the big passing numbers he puts up, but with two guys averaging over six yards per carry, you absolutely cannot overlook what Boise does to you on the ground.

As I said, the Boise ground game ranks 20th in the nation at 194.5 yards per game while TCU ranks 5th at 256.5. Despite this gap, it’s still hard to just straight up give TCU the advantage. First off, we don’t have anyone that gets nearly the attempts and yards that Jeremy Avery does. Joseph Turner, our leading rusher, gets his fair share of touches, but we all know he’s more of the bruising type and not necessarily a home run threat like Avery. Wesley and Tucker are speedier, but they don’t get the ball enough to put up the numbers. You also have Andy Dalton taking away quite a few carries each game which does add an additional threat because so many defenses are still foolish enough to open up the middle of the field for him, but at the same time if you gave Tucker and Wesley more carries with the space he gets, you’d have bigger runs.

What this is really going to come down to is overall numbers and the opposing run defenses – two categories where TCU dominates by a pretty fair margin. The Broncos rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to run defense at 126.85 yards given up per game. I’m pretty sure anyone who is reading this knows that TCU ranks second in run D, giving up only 80.50 yards per game. For the season offensively, TCU slightly edges the Broncos at 5.4 yards per carry as opposed to 5.3 and has six more ground scores – 35 and 29, respectively. We also run the ball 12 more times per game, although if we are able to keep their passing attack quiet with the lack of Pettis, you’d have to expect that number to increase. This is by no means expected or guaranteed.

This really isn’t as cut and dried as I’m going to make it sound, but quite frankly, TCU tallies more yards on the ground, goes to the run more often, and has a better run defense. For those three reasons I’m going to give the edge to the Frogs, but I wouldn’t expect us to come out and hold these guys too much in check.

Edge – Frogs.

This is likely the last preview before Xmas so don’t go jumping off any bridges between now and then in protest. Next week we’ll take a look at the defensive secondaries and special teams units for both sides and then wrap it all up with a prediction thread. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Well, at least most of you. Go Frogs.

Morning Dump

TV networks have Christmas presents for TCU fans Star-Telegram

TCU senior Edvinas Ruzgas steps up with hot hand Star-Telegram

Trio of Frogs receive all-American honors from CFN GoFrogs.com

Frogs travel to Houston for Wednesday night showdown GoFrogs.com

BSU Broncos to face biggest challenge yet in TCU KTRV-TV

Mountain West teams continue to seek validation
ESPN

Steelers sign Joey Galloway, long snapper
National Football Post

Patterson named AP coach of the year


Gary Patterson has been named AP coach of the year, making him the first coach from a non automatic qualifying conference to do so. Patterson edged out Cinci Dame's Brian Kelley and Alabama's Nick Saban, last year's winner.

TCU's Patterson named AP coach of the year AP

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fiesta Bowl Preview: Receivers.

Expect this scene to be repeated a few times this bowl season.

Due to a significant lack of interesting things to do at work today, you get a double dose of previews! /recession’d. Following the quarterback theme from earlier, we’ll now take a look at the basis of a QB’s success, the receivers. Now, given Boise’s advantage in the QB department, you can pretty much draw the conclusion that the Broncos are going to win this battle as well, right? WRONG! well, perhaps right, but it’s worth a look anyway, especially now that Boise could be without one of their biggest playmaking receivers. For brevity, I’m only taking into account receivers with 10+ receptions.

Blasé:

Titus Young-JR, 5-11, 170. 2nd Team All-WAC.

71 receptions, 969 yards, 13.6 YPR, 10 TDs

Austin Pettis* - JR, 6-3, 201. 1st Team All-WAC.

62 receptions, 850 yards, 13.7 YPR, 14 TDs

Kyle Efaw-SO, 6-4, 229.

27 receptions, 369 yards, 13.7 YRP, 1 TD

Tyler Shoemaker - SO, 6-1, 207.

21 receptions, 345 yards, 16.4 YRP, 2 TDs

Kirby Moore - FR, 6-2, 196.

17 receptions, 214 yards, 12.6 YRP, 2 TDs

Froguds:

Jeremy Kerley- JR, 5-10, 192.

38 receptions, 467 yards, 12.3 YPR, 2 TDs

Jimmy Young - JR, 6-1, 204.

29 receptions, 449 yards, 15.5 YPR, 3 TDs

Antoine Hicks - SO, 6-2, 200.

19 receptions, 443 yards, 22.8 YPR, 6 TDs

Bart Johnson - JR, 6-0, 195.

30 receptions, 398 yards, 13.3 YPR, 2 TDs

Ryan Christian - SR, 5-11, 188.

19 receptions, 244 yards, 12.8 YPR, 3 TDs

Curtis Clay - JR, 6-1, 185.

16 receptions, 202 yards, 12.6 YPR, 2 TDs

Alright, so on the surface, Boise has more prolific receivers at the top two positions, which is mostly due to the offensive system. If you’ll notice though, these guys catch twice as many passes as our guys, and see the ball in the end zone a lot more, but pick up nearly the same amount of yards when they do touch the ball, and less in some cases. That’s not to say these guys haven’t gone deep – three Boise receivers have TD catches over 50 yards vs our one – but it’s not like they’re blasting down the field play after play and getting behind defenders for easy scores.

You’ll notice I put an asterisk by Austin Pettis’ name, and this is because they have no idea if he will play in the game. Before he went down with a broken ankle in the third to last game of the season, it’s pretty obvious that he was the man for this offense. 14 TDs on 62 receptions is great no matter how you try and spin it. However, even if he does play, how effective will he be coming off such a major injury? Will he or won’t he is arguably going to be the biggest determining factor in this game, although losing a starting tackle isn’t going to make matters any simpler. With Pettis, this Boise passing attack is much more damaging than anything we’ve seen this year. Without him it’s Titus Young and Kip Dynamite (Kirby Moore – Nap’s younger brother). Their third leading receiver, Kyle Efaw, is a tight end and, based on how more recognized tight ends such as Dennis Pitta fared against us this year, I wouldn’t expect a huge night out of him as long as Tank has something to say about it. Now, to be fair, in his two games without Pettis, Moore didn’t exactly fall into a rut, tossing 6 TDs and 0 INTs with over 500 yards of passing. To also be fair, those two games came against Nevada and New Mexico State who feature two of the worst defenses in the world. It’s going to be interesting to see how Pettis’ injury situation shapes up over the next two weeks because that will go a long way in determining this game.

For the Frogs, we all know exactly what we have. Jeremy Kerley is as explosive a playmaker as there is and is a threat to take the ball to the house just about every time he touches it. Jimmy Young, while having a down year in comparison to the last one, has a sneaky way of finding the seams in the middle of the field and picking up big gains. Antoine Hicks, while he only has 19 catches this year, has turned six of them into TDs and we all know that he’s the best receiver we have. When your best receiver is listed as a third starter, that’s going to create a LOT of favorable matchups. Even when he’s been covered by great backs, he’s found ways to slip past defenders and I have no doubt he can outrun just about any corner in college football.

Continuing, Bart Johnson is as sure handed as they come and Ryan Christian, despite the haircut, showed some serious moves in the latter half of the season, none better than his sideline catch against Utah that went for six. None of their numbers will dazzle you, but Dalton hit eight or nine different receivers in many games this year which didn’t allow defenses to key in on one single guy to shut him down. I don’t think anyone is going to complain about Dalton lacking a true “go to” receiver when you look at the overall offensive numbers.

One of the biggest differences between our two passing games is that Boise frequently involves a running back or a tight end – something that the Frogs almost completely shied away from this season. Boise starting RB Jeremy Avery and TE Kyle Efaw combined for 59 catches this season; Evan Frosch, Joseph Turner, Ed Wesley, Tanner Brock and Matthew Tucker, by comparison, combined for 21. You can look at this one of two ways. First, Boise’s passing game is going to be more difficult to defend because you have to defend the TE, RB and WRs on any given play whereas TCU is going to look out wide more often than not on passing downs. The other way is that TCU isn’t throwing to TEs and RBs because they’re running the ball down your throat to the tune of 256 yards per game. So what would you rather have?

As I mentioned earlier, the main determining factor is Boise’s gameplan, as well as that of deciding this matchup, is going to be the availability of Austin Pettis. Last year, Pettis had four receptions for 64 yards against our defense and overall, Boise had 222 yards, although most of those contributors are now gone. With Pettis, you can’t really make the comparison between us – we don’t have two guys who come close to combining for 133 receptions and 24 TDs and, with the healthy group of running backs we have for the next several years, we may never see anything like that. Could Antoine Hicks put up 75+ receptions and 10+ TDs if made the focal point of our offense? Honestly, I think the guy could win the Heisman if we let him. But, like I said, that’s neither here nor there given our offense, and I wouldn’t expect any big changes for such a big game.

Honestly though, without Pettis, I really would put our passing game up against the Broncos. The most recent bit of information I’ve read is that Pettis is going to be a game time decision but that he really wants to play – natch. However, a broken ankle occurring less than two months before this game really casts some doubts in my mind. I’m no doctor, and I’ve never had a broken ankle, but that just doesn’t sound like something you can recover from 100% in less than two months, even as a high caliber athlete. In that case, the biggest thing we will have to worry about is shutting down Titus Young and I have faith that the front seven isn’t going to let anything develop from the backfield or tight end positions. Besides, after giving Boise the QB edge earlier, do you guys really think I’m going to surrender two picks in the same day? You should know me better than that. This one’s for you, Buff.

Edge – Frogs*

*-assuming Pettis does not play. If he does, I’ll have to do some soul searching.