Wednesday, December 16, 2009
And so it begins. In all truth, in lieu of a full preview part of me just wanted to write, “It doesn’t matter, we’re going to ‘American History X’ these dudes” ,as some of you have put it, and just be done with it because, let’s face it, who among our fanbase doesn’t think we’re going to perform experimental orthopedic surgery on these guys? Seriously, Jerry Hughes is going to be their Dr. Kevorkian, if Dr. Jack was black, weighed 260 pounds and one time ingested an entire Max Hall and regurgitated him just so he could dine on him again the next year and in a different restaurant. You think birds figured out that whole regurgitating to feed their young thing on their own? Please.
After some further thinking, though, I decided I’d go ahead and do a full position by position head to head breakdown of the Frogs and Broncos again this year because, if anything, at least you’ll be able to put some names and faces to those who you will be hating for 4 hours in the desert (and oh, believe me, you will HATE Kellen Moore, nee Napolean Dynamite. Get your Uncle Rico jokes ready!).
As a disclaimer, I have watched very little Boise football this season despite their being on TV every non-Saturday of the week this year, so these analyses will be derived from the little visual knowledge I have, although mostly from stats. Last year the Boise fans were good about coming on here and correcting some of my overt errors and giving their opinions and they are definitely welcomed again this year. Also, I plan on doing a full recap for each position, but due to time constraints I can’t guarantee that, so that’s why I’m starting three weeks before the game. Disclaimer over.
Now, I realize most traditional breakdowns start with the most important position – the QB – work through the entire offense and then take on the defense, but just to make things spicier, I’m going to do this Tarantino style and go in a completely random order so that nothing will make sense until the end. Also, if we start with the QB position, there’s a decent chance they’ll win that one, and we can’t start things out on a sour note now can we? Never fear though, because at the very end you can rest assured that the wallet that says Bad Mother Fucker on it will belong to Gary Patterson.
Our first focus will be on the defensive line match up because it comes first in the alphabet, but mostly because Frogzilla demands it to be done. TCU currently has the second ranked rush defense in the country – the aspect for which the D line will get the most credit. Boise? Not so much. Regardless, you can’t look simply at a general figure like that, so let’s look at the individuals.
Ryan Winterswyk - JR, 6-4, 263.
40 Tackles, 16 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 Pass breakup, 1 Pass defensed, 6 QB hurries, 2 FR, 1 blocked kick
Billy Wynn – SO, 6-4, 288.
43 Tackles, 12.5 TFL, 6 sacks, 1 Pass breakup, 1 Pass defensed, 1 QB hurry, 1 FR
Chase Baker – SO, 6-1, 296.
35 Tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 2 passes defensed.
Jarrell Root – SO, 6-3, 259.
10 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 pass breakup, 1 pass defensed, 1 QB hurry.
My first on the surface reaction is, “wow, these guys are so young – their D line is going to be really good next year.” The truth though is that, while they may be young, two of these guys started last year and, certainly not a coincidence, lead the line in tackles. Wynn and Winterswyk line up on the weak side of an opposing team’s offensive line and get in the backfield in a hurry. 14.5 sacks is certainly something Marshall Newhouse and Kyle Dooley need to be concerned about. Like I said, a defensive line mostly gets credit for stopping the run, but as we should know with Jerry Hughes and Wayne Daniels, they certainly can play a role in shutting down a passing game in a hurry. Boise may give up 127 yards per game on the ground, but they only give up 173 through the air and have pulled in 22 interceptions this year. While most of the credit is going for this is going to be given to the secondary, you can’t deny that a capable pass rush often forces a QB into terrible throws which lead to interceptions. We may have an extremely powerful O line ourselves, but the Boise front are no slouches and the two returning starters have vastly improved from last year’s meeting.
Wayne Daniels – JR, 6-2, 250.
47 Tackles, 8 TFL, 5.5 Sacks, 2 Breakups, 2 Defensed, 1 QB Hurry, 2 FR, 1 FF
Kelly Griffin – JR, 6-1, 295.
27 Tackles, 3.5 TFL, 0.5 Sacks, 2 Breakups, 2 Defensed, 1 FR
Cory Grant – JR, 6-2, 303.
25 Tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.5 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries.
Jerry Hughes – SR, 6-3, 257.
54 Tackles, 15 TFL, 11.5 Sacks, 2 Breakups, 2 Defensed, 7 QB Hurries (by the way, calling total bullshit on that number), 1 FF.
At the risk of going completely overboard, I’ll just make the statement that Jerry Hughes is what he is – a dominant football player who imposes his will on opponents. He also may have won the defensive end of the year award and be a two time All American, but that’s neither here nor there – let’s talk about the three other guys who benefit from his dominance. Number one, all three return next year and will be joined by either Clarence Leach or Braylon Broughton in the Hughes spot. Admittedly, these two guys have shown promise, but they’re definitely nowhere near Hughes’ caliber yet, although Broughton is the largest human being I’ve ever seen and if he gets his stuff together could be the next Schoebel/Blake/Hughes-bot. No matter worrying about those guys though because Wayne Daniels will do just fine. On just about any other defensive line in the country, Daniels would be getting Hughes-like acclaim but seeing what he’s done all year while being overshadowed by that beast, I’d say he’ll take the lack of spotlight. I don’t know what he’ll do when he’s THE Man, but I think we’ll all be surprised at how much he eases the hurt of losing Zilla.
Clogging up the middle all year have been Kelly Griffin and Cory Grant, two beasts of men who may not get their names called like their counterparts on the edges but who have clogged up lanes for the number 2 run defense all year. The thing that always impresses me about interior linemen is that, although they come in at 300 pounds each, they move like someone half their size. Seriously, watch these guys sometime – Cory Grant in the BYU game comes to mind – as they beat their man to the spot and change entire gameplans. Boise better be ready.
Overall – This one is a slightly tougher call than I thought going in as both sides have two very dominant defensive linemen to go with two very good ones, although Jarrell Root definitely does not measure up to any of the other seven linemen previewed here. The easy route here would be to say, “Well, TCU has Frogzilla and the top ranked defense is the entire country” and call it at that, but sometimes I try to be at least half assed objective. Still… we DO have Jerry Hughes coming off the edge and although the Broncos did a very commendable job of limiting him last year, the one sack they did give up to him completely solidified the outcome of the game. Besides, dude may come across as humble, but no football player with his amount of talent is going to forget being held mostly in check for a game the next time they play said team. Also, if it wasn’t for Winterswyk, their entire line wouldn’t have as many sacks as J Hughes did on the year and, like I said, the stats may only list 7 QB Hurries on the year for him, but we know better. The fact is, statistically the Broncos up front have a weak link in Root while the Frogs seemingly have none. Factor in the various appearances from DJ Yendrey, Leatch and Broughton and you’ve pretty much got seven guys who can control the line of scrimmage. Alright, no more beating around the bush for this first of many homer picks.
Edge – Frogs.
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Since I am a Cowboy hater and thoroughly enjoyed last Sunday's game, I had to throw this pic in.
Not bad for a first-year starter who only played one year of high school football.
SI names four Frogs All-Americans GoFrogs.com
Three Frogs named Sporting News All-Americans GoFrogs.com
Maxwell Club names TCU's Patterson top coach Dallas Morning News
TCU's Gary Patterson named Sporting News Coach of the Year Sporting News
Mayor kicks-off football team card campaign CBS-11
Oregon State makes bold statement with game against TCU Oregonian
Breaking down the non-AQ BCS money ESPN
BCS drops ball with Boise-TCU Fiesta matchup USA Today