Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Welcome to the Frogs Sam.
One thing that is for sure, though, is that this is Andy Dalton's team. Over his first two years as a starter, our favorite Ginja Ninja has led the Frogs to two bowl victories and earned Offensive MVP honors in both. He's already TCU's 3rd All-Time leader in passing yards, and with his mini-sophomore slump of the beginning of '08 behind him and an oustanding corps of receivers coming back, he's got a real good shot at breaking Max Knake's school record this fall. In TCU's ball-control offense, you've got to have a Qube that can do it all, and his 664 career rushing yards and 13 TD's on the ground are evidence that Dalton's legs are a perfect compliment to his arm. That warm feeling you've got in your soul is the fact that the Frogs have two more seasons with Dalton at the helm.
After a brief stint plying his craft at safety in the spring, Marcus Jackson has returned to the offensive side of the ball to play the role of insurance policy. It's pretty reassuring when your back-up QB is a 5th-year senior who has earned MWC Player of the Week honors twice in his career. He delivered W's over San Diego State and at Colorado State filling in as a starter when Dalton went down with a knee injury last year, and has over 1,000 career passing yards and 600 career rushing yards.
The #3 spot is where things really get interesting. In the event that Dalton & MJ are both unavailable at some point this fall, are the reigns handed to redshirt freshman Yogi Gallegos or blue-chip true frosh Casey Pachall? Pachall certainly came to TCU with more fanfare after a stellar high school career at Brownwood, but Gallegos has more experience in the system, having travelled with the team all last season as the #3 QB. Before you automatically go promoting Pachall because of his recruiting hype, don't forget that at one point many fans thought Jeff Ballard would forever be buried on the depth chart and would likely never see the field. Hopefully, though, this isn't a debate for this fall, but rather for the spring of 2011 after Dalton has exhausted his eligibility.
Two walk-on's will occupy the bottom spots of the depth chart this fall- Kyle Wilson, a redshirt freshman from Springtown, and Rick Settle, a true freshman from Olathe, Kansas. It seems like a long-shot for either of these guys to see the field this year- if all four of the scholarship QB's went down, you have to think that Jeremy Kerley, Antoine Hicks or any of the other dozen or so Frogs that played QB in high school would be called upon to lead the offense. But remember, walk-on Kyle Kummer did start against Army in '04 when Tye Gunn & Brandon Hassell were both injured, so who knows what chances Wilson & Settle could get if they stick with the program.
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Tim Griffin's mailbag, random TCU answer
Tim from New York City writes: I have a question that has Big 12 (actually Big 8) ties regarding a coach outside of the conference. Given Turner Gill's recent success at and brief turnaround of one of Division I's ultimate projects at Buffalo, is it a long shot to believe that he may make a return to his former conference? If so, what teams would make a good fit for him?
Tim Griffin: Turner Gill has done a masterful job in rebuilding Buffalo after leading the Bulls to the Mid-American Conference championship and the International Bowl last season.
That strong job obviously has to have caught the attention of his old coach, Tom Osborne, which would make some think that Nebraska would be a place he might end up as a head coach. For that to happen, Bo Pelini would have to go on to another job. I think Gill might need a tad more more seasoning at Buffalo. And I don't see any interest in Pelini pursuing any other jobs at this time.
Another job that will come open probably pretty soon will be Kansas State, where there's no indication that Bill Snyder is in the head coaching position for the long term. Maybe Snyder, who turns 70 on Oct. 7, will stay at his old school for two or three years. It would be interesting if Gill would be attracted to Kansas State and if the Wildcats would be attracted to him.
I think the job that would make sense to him would be at TCU in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. Obviously, Gary Patterson would have to being going somewhere and I don't know how much interest Patterson has in pursuing other jobs at this time.
But I personally think that TCU might be the best non-BCS job in the country. And it might be better than some jobs in the Big 12. The reason I consider this job so highly include its proximity to the fertile Texas recruiting area, the developing facilities at the school, the school's winning tradition and its conference affiliation.
Patterson currently has an easier road to the BCS in his own conference than he would if the Horned Frogs were playing in the Big 12. And I think he knows it.
But I would also think the chance to return home for Gill would be attractive if the opportunity to accept the TCU job if it ever materialized for him.