Saturday, February 27, 2010
The NFL combine has begun for two Frogs, LS Clint Gresham (the only LS at the combine) and OT Marshall Newhouse (projected by most as an OG). So far they have just been measured but you can follow their progression as well as Hughes' and Washington's at the NFL Combine's website. You can also watch it live here.
Marshall Newhouse OT: 6'4 319lbs, arm length: 34 inches, hand size: 10.25 inches
Clint Gresham LS: 6'3 236 lbs arm length: 31.5 inches, hand size: 9 inches
Friday, February 26, 2010
I’m writing this as we fly at 36,000 feet on our way to Southern California to play Cal State Fullerton this weekend. We are obviously hoping to have a successful weekend, but, first, I’m looking forward to finding some great SoCal weather after fighting the cold, snow and wind of North Texas for the past few weeks.
It’s always exciting to take the team on the first road trip of the season. It’s something that we really try to do as early as possible in the year, preferably to open the season. Not that we don’t enjoy playing at home! Last weekend, in the home opening series vs. Sam Houston State, we learned a lot about our team and set a three-game homestand attendance record, which was great.
However, when you go on the road, you really get the opportunity to block out some of the distractions of home, get your team together in the plane, bus and hotel, and really learn a lot about the personalities that you have on your club. Ask any former athlete, most of the best experiences (and really good stories) occur on the road, both on and off the field.
For us this weekend, we are facing a great challenge in playing THE GAME (I’ll come back to that later) at Cal State Fullerton. Fullerton is one of the great, historic programs in college baseball, and you can only make your team better by matching up against them for a few days. In my career, I’ve had some teams suffer some serious beatings at the hand of the Titans, but if you handle it the right way, you really learn a lot about the make-up and resiliency of your team. Of course, if you have success (in terms of wins), it’s something you can really take confidence from throughout the season.
The challenge though, is to avoid conversation about your opponent. We talk, in our program, about playing “THE GAME.” Kind of like a golfer playing the course versus the opponent. Baseball is a very simple game that is very hard to play because there is so much built in failure. You have all heard how even the very best hitters fail at about a 70 percent rate. What other profession would celebrate that rate of failure?!?!
As the coach, I try to continually talk about the PROCESS of playing baseball versus the RESULTS. In other words, when you play the GAME, you try to take the opponent, the umpires, and all other elements you can’t control out of the mind of the player. For example, a ground ball hit by the Rangers’ Michael Young in The Ballpark in Arlington, a groundball hit by Christian Colon (CSF’s All-America shortstop) and a groundball hit in practice at TCU are all the exact same ... just a groundball in a baseball game. The difference is the external factors: the surroundings, the stadium, the crowd, the noise, the self-imposed pressure, etc. If we can, as a team, just field the ground ball like we do every day in practice, we will be fine and over the course of the season, we will have success.
Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, especially for a young team (at least our position players) like the one we have. That’s why I’m so looking forward to this weekend ... you grow up quickly playing the game on the same field with the Cal State Fullerton Titans!
Say a prayer for the Horned Frogs this weekend, and I hope to see many of you at the ballpark Tuesday night for our next home game vs. UT-San Antonio at 6:30pm.
Coach Jim Schlossnagle
Record day for Horned Frogs at MWC swimming championships Star-Telegram
No. 9 TCU set to clash with No. 6 Cal State Fullerton GoFrogs.com
TCU preview CSF Scout
MWC now looks like a three bid league Deseret News
Thursday, February 25, 2010
TCU players head to the combine Star-Telegram
Flyin' Frogs go after titles in MWC indoor meet Star-Telegram
TCU swimmers break two school reacords at MWC meet Star-Telegram
Top 32 prospects CBS Sports
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Refreshed lady Frogs rip Rebels to extend streak Star-Telegram
TCU senior swimmer has sights set on 2012 Olympics Star-Telegram
Jim Christian is still trying to turn basketball around at TCU WFAA
Combine watch list: top six linebackers Yahoo! Sports
The top 64: best prospects as 2010 NFL draft season kicks off USA Today
Pac-10 athletic director says Big 10, Pac-10 have reached out to Texas, Texas A&M Cedar Rapids Gazette
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
"31) Jerry Hughes/DE-OLB/TCU: Hughes has been a pass-rushing terror at defensive end the past two years. He'll likely workout at both defensive end and linebacker at the combine -- two positions he may play at the next level. After sitting out the Senior Bowl with an injury, Hughes must perform well in Indianapolis."
"47) Daryl Washington/LB/TCU: He's another prospect on the rise and is viewed as one of the very few three down linebackers in the draft. Scouts feel Washington is close to being NFL-ready; a solid combine workout will only enhance his stock."
Full List from SI Here
"For all of the Tiger idolaters out there, it must have been like finding out that ice cream sundaes give you gonorrhea."
Read the entire article HERE.
In their latest look Around the Mountain West, they painted a pretty dismal picture of this program. It was summed up pretty well with this quote from Coach Christian:
"We don't fight when the game needs to be won- we fight not to embarrass ourselves. Every time we'd cut it to eight, we'd give up three more layups, so I don't think that's fighting back. If you cut it to one, then you're fighting back, but we're not doing that at all."
At 12-15, their chances for any kind of postseason play beyond the conference tournament are slim to none barring a miracle. RealTimeRPI.com predicts an 0-4 finish by the Frogs, including a projected 19-point loss against UNLV in Vegas tomorrow night.
On the bright side, though, there is still some money to be made. The latest bracketology from ESPN indicates there's a decent chance of the Mountain West getting four teams in the tournament, which would be a record for the conference (it's been a two-bid league each of the past five seasons). They've got New Mexico as a 3-seed, BYU as a 4, UNLV as an 8 and San Diego State as the first team listed in the "first four out". Just like with bowl games, every team from your conference that reaches the tournament equals cash for your program. So, Go Aztecs...or whatever.
And if you're among those who find women's basketball watchable, the Lady Frogs are 19-6 and in first place in the MWC right now. The women's bracketology (yes, ESPN employs someone to do that) has them as a projected 8-seed.
In other news, football season is 193 days away.
One of the proposed amendments to the NCAA Football rule book is to ban players from using their eye-black strips as messages to the viewing public. I really don't see the harm, but I guess the NCAA doesn't want us to know what area code certain douche bags grew up in or the favorite bible verse of some future NFL H-back.
Another is changing taunting and showboating penalties from dead-ball to a live-ball fouls...meaning the play that prompted the behavior could get called back. This will likely result in far, far less showboating if passed, but will probably also result in at least one coach stroking out on the sideline during a game after a go-ahead touchdown gets called back in a crucial moment. Wouldn't it be worth it, though, if it meant one of the guys on Sportscenter had to awkwardly explain the C-walk to middle America?
Monday, February 22, 2010
But it's also how they won that is so exciting. The pitching, as expected, was solid- and more on that later- but it was the emergence of the Frogs' bats that really opened my eyes. The MVP of the weekend was undoubtedly the true freshman from Round Rock, Josh Elander, who played right field Friday and Saturday before taking his turn at his natural position-catcher- on Sunday. For the weekend, Elander went 8-10, drove in six runs, stole four bases and reached base twice more with walks. That's quite the Huffman-esque performance from a freshman.
I'm not gonna detail the offensive exploits of every player on the team, but when you score 31 runs in three games and the team's first home run of the year comes from the guy batting in the 9-hole, you're doing something right.
Pitching-wise, I think everyone was looking forward to the college debut of Matt Purke. With all of the hype this kid has gotten, you got the sense that some fans were a little let-down with his first start. But striking out eight in five innings and picking up the win is pretty impressive to me. Junior Steven Maxwell had the best outing of the Frog pitchers of the weekend, though, striking out six in a scoreless 4 2/3 innings on Friday night.
For you stat nerds like shortnkerleys, here are the box scores from the weekend: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Those of you that are, like me, concerned with the support that our teams get and obsessed with attendance figures, will be happy to know that a new single-weekend attendance record was set this weekend. With just over 8,800 fans over three games, the old weekend record of just over 7,400 (for a series against Cal State-Fullerton in '07) was shattered. Also set was a new record for a home opener, with 3,228 on Friday night. Not bad for a series that was played before most fans are even thinking about baseball in weather that is more suited for going to the movies.
Next up is a Wednesday matinee against Baylor down in Waco, followed by a weekend series at soon to not be #4 Cal State Fullerton, who will be out for vindication after dropping their home series against Long Beach State this weekend.
Also, as mentioned, New Mexico went and took two of three from the Longhorns in Austin. Represent.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
A lot has been said throughout the state of Texas about Craig James, although the mood of said sayings has taken a pretty dramatic shift over time. James, who was once revered as the white part of the Pony Express with Eric Dickerson and a former standout at Stratford High in Houston, is now almost entirely known for his dickheadery in the Mike Leach scandal, although people should’ve caught on much earlier based on his performance as an ESPN announcer. No matter what you think of Leach, he would still have a job today if Craig James had not set in motion the events that snowballed into his firing. Now, in James’ meager defense, Texas Tech officials are GD morons and place their personal pride over athletic and monetary success and, despite Mike Leach being the only thing keeping Texas Tech relevant, he was pretty much a dead man walking after his contentious off-season contract discussions. And, in the school’s defense, they had a right to be bitter – Leach was, by all accounts, a disloyal dickhead who would’ve been on the first flight out of Lubbock had he had any semblance of interviewing talent. However, that’s neither here nor there, and since this is a direct vehicle for SMU hate, I’ll get to the point:
Thesis: Craig James is the biggest douchebag in America, and this baggedness is directly derived from his time at SMU.
First off, I don’t think I need to further go into the whole Texas Tech debacle – we are all 100% aware of how that went down, and if you can view that situation as anything other than an entitled father wanting his son to have the same sense of entitlement without earning it, then you probably shouldn’t read this post. For the rest of you, get ready to hate.
You simply have to glance at James’ Wikipedia page to see what I’m talking about. His listed name? Jesse Craig “Pony” James. So, I understand how he was supposed to be “Pony” and Dickerson was “Express’ and HARF HARF PLAY ON WORDS!!!! But even beyond that, with a given name like Jesse James combined with his choice of college, how could this guy not grow up to be exactly who he is now? And even better – James and Dickerson, easily the school’s most famous football alums other than Doak Walker, are the main reason that SMU’s Football's has been irrelevant for the past 25 years! What a nut punch! At least our most famous football player came though in the post SWC era and was only lightly recruited out of high school, so you can be pretty certain he wasn’t being paid to be there. The SMU Death Penalty has been well documented and reveled in by the TCU fan community, but it’s still a lot of fun to poke fun at from time to time.
After his SMU years, James went on the play in the now disbanded USFL, but after an absolutely abysmal year, James suffered a major injury and was cut. He then signed with… The New England Patriots, easily the most reviled and obnoxious team in the NFL, and it’s not even close… not even NFC East fans can hold a candle to that bandwagon. Oh, and as fate would have it, it’s well known that Beantowners love nothing more than non-black positional players so, and not to get all Malcolm Gladwell on you, can you imagine a better place for him to land? If he goes to Oakland, he rides the bench and is selling used cars back home in Jacksonville right now. Rememeber, New England fans are the reason that the media thinks Wes Welkaaaaah is the second coming of Jerry Rice, which isn’t to say that Welker is a bad player, but an All-Pro? Seriously? In fact, getting back into Outlier mode, let’s say Welker and Randy Moss wind up in Philly with Donovan McNabb? Does McNabb shun Moss in favor of Welker as Tom Brady does? The racially skewed Boston fan-base strikes again! And, if you’ll recall, Welker attended… wait for it… Texas Tech!!! Like James’ son!!! Conspiracy theories…
But, since the Patriots didn't put together a significant fan base until Y2K, I guarantee you no current Patriot fans could tell you about James' time there, which actually resulted in a Super Bowl appearance… where James was held to 1 yard on 5 carries. That’s one more yard than I’ve had in a Super Bowl. Oh yeah, at this point he was also being known as “The Great White Hope.” A bit premature, no?
From there, James went on to begin his media career, and here is where the hate should really start festering because this is where James earned the right to become an AP voter. Has anyone ever checked his final AP ballots and compared them to how the final polls actually panned out? ABYSMAL! In fact, he's commonly viewed as one of the worst voters in the entire process. And when it comes to TCU, it’s just hysterical. For the sake of brevity, let’s take a look at his past two final AP ballots as those are arguably the defining seasons of the Patterson Era.
In 2008, TCU finished 7th in the AP poll, and, just to toss it in, Texas Tech finished 12th. How do you think James had us in the rankings? TCU 10/Texas Tetch 9. Seriously!?!? Only two voters had us lower and only seven voters had Tetch higher. Out of 59. Let’s compare the resumes, shall we?
TCU finished the season with two losses – one an early season blowout at OU, and the last second loss to undefeated, 6th ranked Utah. We then capped the season by beating a 9th ranked and undefeated Boise State team that hadn't lost a game in almost two years in the Poinsettia Bowl. By contrast, Texas Tech finished the season with two losses, one a flat out raping at the hands of OU that was MUCH uglier than our performance, and then a nice filleting at the hands of Houston Nutt’s Ole Miss team in the Cotton Bowl to close out the year. Given, they had the Texas win, but, they also had wins over Eastern Washington and Massachusetts. And while the OU losses cancel out, Utah went undefeated and should’ve been in the NC game; Ole Miss lost four games, including to Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. Oh, but we didn’t have his son on our team. I guess it’s ok then.
But 2009 is where things really get ticklish. For the year, TCU finished 6th in the AP Poll and Boise finished 4th. I personally was fine with our finish, but thought Boise could’ve been higher, although I’m not sure they beat full strength UT or Florida even on a neutral field. So, for the most part, the voters got it right… except one. Guess who not only ranked Boise 7th, but the Frogs 14th? You guessed it, The Great White Hope himself, Craig James. So, we’re all completely aware that the media has a bias towards BCS teams and especially a guy who works for ESPN because he has an interest to protect. But, Boise and the BCS aside, FOURTEEN??? Really!?! Among the teams he had in front of us, with their actual ranking reflected in parenthesis, were Wisconsin at 13 (16), Nebraska at 10 (14), and Penn State at 5 (9). Not to mention three loss Virginia Tech, Pitt and Oregon. Hell, he put us six spots behind Cincinnati – a team who got blown out of the stadium by Florida in their bowl game, who played in a Big East Conference that was well thought to be weaker than the Mount West and who we likely would've jumped into the National Championship over had Colt released his throw one second later. I understand there are discrepancies in voting, and I respect the fact that I’m a homer for the Frogs and the voters aren’t, but to rank a team eight spots lower than the average of the other voters is just a joke and there’s no excuse for that. For the record, all 59 voters had us ranked higher. You can be absolutely assured that his lingering Frog hate and SMU-ness played a major role in this.
So hopefully I have painted a pretty good portrait of a loathsome human being right there. You can make the argument that events later in his life helped shape him – playing football in front of one of the worst fanbases in one of the more racially insensitive cities in the world, being given the pretentious nickname “The Great White Hope” based on one superlative season even though his overall career stats would be modest even for a bench player (5 seasons, 2500 yards, 11 TDs), and then finally making his way into the booth and being coddled by the conglomerate that is ESPN to the point that he felt he was important enough to get a highly successful college football coach fired because his son wasn’t good enough to earn playing time. However, I think you all know where I’m taking this - and if it isn’t obvious by now, then you haven’t read the previous entries – but I think it’s plain to see that Craig James’ true downfall began when he took that envelope full of cash and pledged himself to the SMU Mustangs.
Now, I’m not saying that TCU was necessarily running a clean program back then because, let’s be honest, paying your players was pretty much a rite of passage for membership in the Southwest Conference – but I am going to point out that no other team in the history of college football did it to the extent that they were banned from playing football for entire seasons. If all is right and just in the world, USC will suffer the same fate, because I have a feeling what they’ve done in the Carroll era would make SMU look like BYU ethically, but the fact remains that SMU was proven to have done it.
Craig James played a significant role in SMU getting the axe and any player who would go to a school based on the financial gain shouldn’t be allowed to be around the game ever again. While you would think that a person’s natural inclination after being caught for such a thing would be to become a more humble person, James let it all go to his head and pave the road for him to become one of the more notable ego maniacs of our time.
But, if you’re familiar with anyone from SMU, does this surprise you? Let’s imagine a hypothetical world where James comes to SMU because he genuinely wants to be there – can’t you still imagine him progressing into a Little League mom? Can’t you see him walking around with salmon colored shorts and a tie on? Can't you see him running down someone in his luxury car and then saying that it's OK because he's Craig James, the SMU Football player? Can’t you see him drawing a dick on a person from TCU’s car? I think that’s a resounding yes.
Fortunately, in the midst of all this hate, there’s a light – and that light is an opportunity for even more hate because James has recently made it clear that if Kay Bailey Hutchison vacates her seat in the Senate, he is going to run for it. Can you IMAGINE?!?! Nice work alienating the entire voting base in West Texas, not to mention a good portion of the Metroplex, and if he’s hoping to carry the SMU vote, too bad because 90% of those kids are from out of state. Heck, if he’s looking to carry the college football fan vote other than Tetch hating aggys, good luck because TCU fans hate him, UT fans are liberals, Baylor fans will be in church during polling hours and Tech fans, even if they disliked Leach, have certain literacy issues that preclude most of them for being eligible to vote anyway. While I honestly have no preference between Kay Bailey or Perry in the race for Governor, now I’m kind of for KB simply because I want to see this ass pony get pile driven.James, at least for now, appears the be the gift that will continue to keep on giving. If there is a God, by the end of this Leach debacle, Craig James will be calling Monday night WAC games with his partner in the booth, Pam Ward. And if there’s one thing worse than being thpit on for 3 hours by Lou Holtzth, it’s being lulled to sleep by the silky smooth monotones of the female Barry White.
And that’s today’s lesson in SMU Hate.
Not that I'm complaining. With the basketball program in the state that it is (and has been for years), the prospect of watching the Horned Frogs compete as a Top 15 team in another sport this weekend has me all kinds of giddy.
David Peterson and his gang over at HornedFrogSports.com (and I do mean 'gang'- Dave's from New Orleans, so he isn't fucking around) have opening weekend covered from every angle, and unlike some completely mentally stable and non-childish people from some other TCU sports site, I fully encourage you to venture over and read what they've got to say:
-Peterson's own position-by-position preview of the 2010 team. It's lengthy, but a good read.
-Kevin Dalrymple's analysis of the momentum the TCU fanbse has right now and what baseball season means to it's continuity.
-Leonard Gruca's preview of the SHSU series.
And finally, if you aren't yet pumped about baseball season arriving, here is another look at the current all-time highlight of the TCU baseball program (soon to be replaced, hopefully)...
2010 baseball season kicks off friday night GoFrogs.com
College baseball: projecting the field of 64 Baseball America
Thursday, February 18, 2010
But with 56 scheduled regular season games and the possibility of up to a dozen or more in the postseason, you have to expect that there will be some bumps in the road along the way. That is especially true early in the season, as Jim Schlossnagle has again assembled a very tough non-conference schedule to counter the relatively weak conference in the eyes of the computers that compile the RPI rankings as well as the NCAA Tournament Committee.
Just as GP often talks about breaking down the football schedule into quadrants, let's first look at just the seven games on the docket for February. Right off the starting gun, you need to think again if you're taking SHSU lightly. The Bearkats have been to the NCAA Regionals three consecutive years after winning the Southland Conference tournament in each year they've been coached by Mark Johnson, who came to SHSU after being head coach at A&M for 21 years. Their preseason All-America second basemen, Braeden Riley, hit .387 last year and led the NCAA hit 111 hits. This weekend is easily their biggest 3-game set, so you know they'll be focused. Winning the series against the Bearkats will be tough, and a sweep would be a major accomplishment.
Then you've got the midweek game at Baylor next Wednesday afternoon. The Bears are unranked and were picked just 6th in the Big 12 preseason poll, but then again the Big 12 is one of the very best baseball leagues in the nation. Baylor and TCU have always played each other tough, and last year the green & gold got the best of both match ups- including a 15-4 win in Waco.
As if that weren't tough enough, the Frogs head west next weekend for a series against Cal-State Fullerton...the #4 team in the country. Like TCU, Fullerton has a deep pitching staff and a young, mostly untested lineup- so this series will be a major test for them as well. The Frogs did manage to take 2 of 3 from the Titans out there last year, but duplicating that feat will be a tall order.
I don't mean to seem like a major pessimist, because in reality I'm anything but. Just don't think that the preseason hype around this team is going to instantly equal a 7-0 February. I'm looking at these games like a best-of-seven series, so winning four would make it a successful Black History Month in my eyes.
In regards to a possible automatic bid, how is that going and how far off do you believe the conference is from achieving that goal?
Bears invite TCU's Richmond for visit ESPN
Regional projections: The preseason edition Yahoo! Sports
Three strikes: The preseason edition Baseball America
Arlington Martin playmaker can do it all Star-Telegram
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Before you get all up in arms, the Frogs are included in this plan because TCU checks in as the 58th-highest revenue-producing athletic department in the nation after bringing in nearly $46.5 million in 2008-2009. That's ahead of such programs as Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Washington State. In fact, TCU is the only non-BCS school to show up in Top 64. Not bad for a school of less than 9,000 total students!