Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet the Future Frogs: Jamie Byrd

First, GP raided the Big 12, stealing recruits from Tech and OU. Then he took Carter Wall from SMU. If only he could steal one from Boise State...oh wait, he just did! Jamie Byrd, a defensive back from Dade City, Florida's Pasco High School, was committed to the Broncos before deciding that a future at TCU was brighter than the blinding glare coming off that blue turf.

Before his original pledge to Boise, Byrd also had offers from Big 12 and Big Ten schools. Like most TCU recruits, he plays a variety of positions- running the ball, catching the ball, returning kicks and punts while specializing at safety. He was an All-County selection at that position by the Tampa Tribune. He's not huge- 6'0", 180lbs- but check out his abilities as a head-hunter:

Senior Bowl Wrap-Up.


Meatloaf once said that two out of three ain't bad, but I'm not sure how he feels about one out of three. Sadly, that's all we were able to manage in the Senior Bowl Saturday, and that one is questionable. But let's start with Dalton and work our way down.

First off, I completely misread the order of participation in practices as far as the QB pecking order was concerned because while Dalton always looked to be the first one to take reps during the week, he was tabbed the third string QB in the game. And a third string performance is what occurred. Statistically, he was 3-7 for 22 yards passing and had 4 carries for 3 yards. He didn't get in the game until late in the second quarter, and in the second half he only took snaps on the opening drive out of the break. Of his three passes, one was a dump off to a running back, another to a tight end, and the last to Miami's Leonard Hankerson who has a definite breakout performance in Mobile during the week.

Dalton's first drive had promise, but was derailed by a sack and a holding penalty. He also under threw a pass to Hankerson on third and long that was nearly picked off but could have potentially been completed with a little more touch. His second drive was a little unexpected as it came directly before the half after the North's Colin Kapernick threw a pick on his first play, but it had game changing potential. Dalton had Hankerson streaking down the sideline all alone as the DB that was covering him jumped the route, but Andy put too much loft under the ball giving the safety enough time to come over the top and break up the pass. After being sacked on a CLEARLY blown offsides call on his first drive in the third quarter, Dalton's day was done.

If you missed the game, you're better off for it because this if you're picking between this and the Rose Bowl, it's a no brainer which one you want as your last college memory of the Rooster. However, I think Dalton made progress during the week and turned some heads of NFL execs and should be on everyone's radar come combine time. That said, any hopes he had of going in the second round were hurt after watching his play Saturday in comparison to Christian Ponder, another mid rounder.

Jeremy Kerley, on the other hand, probably helped his case with the big wigs, despite having only 2 catches for 29 yards. It's the second of those catches that made the difference though and demonstrated what we've all come to know and love about 85, or in this case 84. With just under five minutes left in the game and the south leading by a TD, Ponder had the offense facing a 3rd and 5 at the North's 23. Rather than running it up the middle and settling for a Josh Jasper likely game clinching field goal, the coaching staff decided to unleash Kerley from the slot where he split the secondary and was hit perfectly by Ponder about 3 yards from the end zone and in the air. Rather than simply make the catch and go to the ground though, Kerley spun out of a tackle, lurched towards the end zone and dragged two DBs over the goal line with him. TD. Ball game. 85 even earned a little sideline reporter interview for his efforts. I'm not sure where Kerley fits as far as the draft is concerned, but watching him make that play definitely moved him up some draft boards. At best, he's probably a third rounder.

As for Jake Kirkpatrick, he started the game and then disappeared. After Dalton's day was complete, I was flipping back and forth between the Senior Bowl and the TCU BBall game so I didn't catch every series, but I feel like I saw at least 3/4 of the South's offensive drives for the day, but no Kirkpatrick. Regardless, Saturday wasn't all bad for Jake as he and the wife welcomed their first child into the world. And who says twitter is good for nothin'?!?!?

That's all I have on the topic, but if anyone else caught the game and noticed some other things, please fill us in in the comments.

Meet the Future Frogs: Carter Wall

As if stealing Jon Lewis from Tech and Brandon Carter from OU weren't enough, TCU filled slot #25 in it's 2011 recruiting class by picking the pockets of their crosstown whipping boy, SMU, with Fort Bend Travis offensive lineman Carter Wall. But hey, SMU, you could always just use that trusty Enron accounting and say you already have Wall in order to keep your hollow stock prices rising, right?

Wall, who stands 6'5" and weighs 263lbs before TCU strength & conditioning coach Don Sommer gets ahold of him, received scholarship offers from Pac 10, MWC, Big 12, SEC, and ACC teams among others. He had decided on SMU before GP called to offer him the chance to be a Horned Frog, and like someone offered a free upgrade when checking into a hotel, Wall jumped at the opportunity.

He'll most likely play tackle in college, but as is the case with so many TCU recruits, he's a versatile athlete that could probably move around depending on the situation. One thing that makes me excited about his future as a Frog is that, in photos, he looks like he's 35 years old. Instead of a wide-eyed freshman, it looks as though the Frogs are bringing in a grizzled old warrior who's ready to crush some skulls.

No video. Sooooooorrry.

Jimmy Christian's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Never seen the movie, but I imagine it was a lot like Saturday's game.

Immediately after writing Friday's half-hearted preview post, I pretty much mentally sketched out how this was going to be. Potentially playing another game without Ronnie Moss was sure to yield another lackluster effort from our guys and, after the loss, we were pretty much going to be able to stick a fork in the TCU Men's Basketball program under Jim Christian. Then after getting the official from from Stephan Stephenson prior to tip that Moss would not only sit out this game but would be indefinitely suspended from the team for the remainder of the season, I considered writing and posting the article before the game even started so as to be on the cutting edge of declaring another season down the drain. But then a couple of things happened and I changed my mind

For one, I actually had no intention of watching this game. Since the Senior Bowl wasn't going to finish until around 6, and the basketball game started at 5, I knew I likely wouldn't see the first half under any circumstances. On top of that, I had tickets to the Mavs game Saturday night and a dinner reservation prior to, so that definitely ruled out the second half. But apparently the Ghost of Billy Tubbs had other plans because Dalton got assigned to clipboard duty so harshly that he probably has papercuts from flipping the pages, and I got the flu. And when I say I got the flu, I mean I got the mother effing INFLUENZA. Like, the kind where you can't get out of bed for fear that you might lose control of your bowels or crumple to the ground like a toddler taking its first steps. So in other words, TV was my #1 ally over the weekend, and since the Senior Bowl had been rendered unwatchable in regards to my rooting interests, I decided I'd give the Frogs game a go.

For anyone that watched the game, and I can't imagine a situation where many of you would be lounging around on a Saturday night watching TCU basketball without a debilitating virus, the first thing you had to notice was that Ronnie Moss was not only at the game, but he was on the bench. Yes, he was in street clothes, but the fact that he was still allowed to be a part of the team on the very same day that he was suspended indefinitely from basketball related activities was puzzling to say the least. What kind of message is Christian trying to send? Would the players see this as the coach exercising his authority and showing that he puts respect for the team above his own job security? Or would they simply see it as a broken man grasping at any and all straws to right the ship and note the inconsistencies as I was as to why Sammy Yeager, a good player but not the best, was completely booted from the program while Moss, the team's best player, was simply moved to the end of the bench? For the first half when the Frogs came out sharp only to fall behind before halftime due to sloppy play it seemed the latter. For the second, when the Frogs went through the entire spectrum of their play this year to date, from high flying dunks and great passing to ridiculous turnovers and missed layups, and gave away a game they absolutely had in the bag, he almost looked like a genius.

For those who did not watch it, which is most of you, here's the series of unfortunate events I referenced in the title: With less than three minutes remaining, TCU was down by 5 and looked to be pretty much done as they'd given about all they had. But then the tides turned as they took advantage of some a couple of untimely Air Force misses, started going to the basket where Garlon Green came up big with two free throws and Nikola Cerina converted a three point play. Then, the coup de grace came following another Air Force miss as Garlon Green hit a long jumper to tie the game and seemingly force it into overtime.

And then came unfortunate event one.

After yet another Air Force miss, this time a silly three point attempt, TCU held the ball for the last shot, which ended up being a Thorns drive that resulted in Air Force committing the foul that should've kept their 20 game road losing streak firmly intact. Except Thorns missed the front end of the one and one... only to have the ball go out of bounds off of an Air Force player and give the Frogs one last gasp at winning the game before overtime.

And then came unfortunate event two.

In typical TCU form, the inbounds pass was stolen as time expired. However, the Frogs had the clear momentum edge heading into the extra five minutes and, as they came out and ran off five quick points while holding Air Force scoreless, it was looking like Christian's ploy of getting the players to put the team first was going to pay off.

And then came unfortunate event three.

With a minute remaining and the Frogs up by 4, Air Force went to the line to shoot two and ended up missing both... only to have two TCU defenders go for the same rebound and knock it out of bounds. The very next play? Air Force nails a three and, after a Garlon Green miss, Air Force makes the easiest layup of the game for either team until that point to take the lead. Remember that.

Which leads me to unfortunate event four, the final one.

With 15 clicks left, TCU inbounds the ball to Thorns and runs pretty much the exact same play they ran before overtime, except this time Thorns forces a poor shot in the lane and Air Force rebounds it while TCU hopelessly fouls... only to have to give the ball back to the Frogs on a very questionable no foul/stepping on the baseline call. So with 3 seconds left and trailing by one, the Frogs yet again have an opportunity to close it out. And, believe it or not, they run the PERFECT in bounds play, with Greg Hill circling underneath the basket and taking the ball right outside the lane for what should have been the EASIEST layup of the game. And when I say the easiest layup of the game, I mean Air Force completely blew their defensive coverage and left Hill with a wide open look at the basket for a shot that 10 year olds make in their driveway 100 times out of 100. It was so easy that our entire team was jumping in the air and running onto the floor in celebration. It was so easy that Hill looked like the Nintendo64 kid he was so excited to be given such a gift. It was so easy that...

Hill clanged it off the rim and watched as it cruelly bounced into the backcourt. And that right there should pretty much summarize the current state of the TCU Men's Basketball program.

To get one thing straight, TCU is shockingly inconsistent once the schedule switches to conference play. I'm not sure what it is, but the same team that can run an SMU team that sits near the top of the CUSA standings, or a USC team that knocked off Top 10 Texas, out of the gym does not exist anymore. Sure, part of it is because of the level of competition, and also you're missing Yeager and Moss, which accounts for about 25 points per game, but the fact is, Air Force is a glorified intramural team that a self respecting basketball program should never lose to. I don't mean that disrespectfully, but it's true that none of those guys have next level aspirations; the days of David Robinson coming out of Navy are long gone. But in all truth? Air Force was probably better than us. And that's the reality we have to face - TCU is just not that good, and we need to adjust our expectations accordingly.

As recently as last week I suggested that Christian had lost control of the team and needed to go, but in all honesty I don't think Coach K could do much better than he has with the assortment of players we're trotting out there every night. But on the bright side, some of the younger players are actually semi-talented and could be difference makers in the upcoming years. Amric Fields is undersized weight wise, but he's a 6'9" jump shooter who creates all sorts of mismatches. He has the physical tools, but as a freshman he just as to develop the all around game that comes with experience. Consider him the Braylon Broughton of the basketball team. Nikola Cerina, as inconsistent as he may be, at points looks like he's finally figuring things out and could have a major impact next season. And Garlon Green has the athleticism befitting of a man with as many tattoos as he has, but in the NCAA you can't rely on athleticism alone to be successful.

In all fairness, TCU might not win another game this season. The schedule is daunting from our perspective, and the only games you can potentially argue are against Air Force and Wyoming, but since those are road games there is no guarantee. But, to have a game where you're missing 25 points of offense that you started the season with come down to one of any four plays making a difference should be viewed as a positive. I saw a team that, despite being undermanned and left with nothing to play for, playing hard and giving their best effort, which reflects well on how they feel about Christian. I think the best thing is for Christian to stay the course he laid out there Saturday, keep Moss on the bench to send a message to the team that talent doesn't outweigh behavior, but also send a message that he's all for giving someone a second chance. And having Moss close to the team for the next month will at least keep him in the proper frame of mind going into next season. It's not going to be pretty, but perhaps it's not time to completely write off Christian just yet.

Rose Bowl Koozies Update


The Rose Bowl Koozies turned out great. My phone pic does not do justice to the fine detail of "The Patterson Hoist". If you are wondering why there is no top to the pyramid, ask GP what kind of koozie belongs there. I sold off half of my inventory before they were even printed, and have about 300 left of the original 1,000. Orders that were placed between 1/19 and 3pm this afternoon will be shipped out today. Thank you for all of the orders, and remember to send in pics to koozies@spitbloodtcu.com . I have an idea in the works for a koozie pic tournament to help keep us sane when we hit rock bottom after baseball season waiting for football to kick off. There will be prizes, so get creative and send those pics in. If you haven't ordered yet, you can do so here.

Thank you GL for the first Rose Bowl Koozie pic sent in.

*only the Rose Bowl Koozies are available to order, the first generation (flying t) and second generation (patterson face) koozies are at the moment, no longer in production.

Meet the Future Frogs: Brandon Carter

Two days after Patterson and his staff rescued Jon Lewis from having to spend his college years in Lubbock, they once again saddled up the horses of their raiding party to cross the Red River and bring back a local product: Euless Trinity's Brandon Carter, who became the 24th member of the 2011 recruiting class on January 18th after having previously been committed to Oklahoma...later, Sooners!

Unless you've seen Carter play, it's hard to describe why having him to commit to TCU was such a big deal. Yes, a lot of people were probably excited just because he spurned OU to become a Frog, but it's really so much more than that. Despite all of the size, brute strength and exceptional athleticism that have graced the rosters of Steve Lineweaver's Euless Trinity teams the past two years (which included a state championship in '09 and coming oh-so-close to repeating last fall), there was never a doubt in anyone who witnessed those teams play who the heart & soul of the team was: #10.

I saw one fan on a message board refer to Carter as "more versatile than baking soda". And while I'm sure a lot of our readers have no idea what baking soda really is (if your fridge smells bad, and I'm guessing it does, get a box), that's a great way to describe his high school career. Whatever the game situation dictated, that's where he lined up: quarterback, receiver, running back, corner, safety, kick/punt returner. Not because the Trojans didn't have other great athletes to play all of these slots, but because Brandon is just a flat-out playmaker. He's exactly the type of clutch player that Patterson has built this program on for the past ten years, and while I think he's good enought to play just about any position in college I see him, at 5'11" 162lbs at wide receiver.

He's got a full highlight tape, but the following play tells you just about all you need to know:

Morning Dump


TCU continues to climb recruiting ladder
Star-Telegram

TCU's recruiting classes beginning to compete with best of the Big 12
Dallas Morning News

Dalton under the microscope during Senior Bowl week
Katy Times

Texas vs the nation on the NFL's radar this week, too
Sporting News

Non-AQ recruiting needs
ESPN

Hodge set on Arkansas despite TCU temptation
News Star

'Mike and Mike in the morning' kicks off Siper Bowl week from Fort Worth
Dallas Morning News

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Makin' Soap



Pretty cool video put together by the TCU Student Filmmakers Association, especially when you think about how they had one take to pull it off.

Sunday Dump

Football:

Kerley's TD helps spark South's win at Senior Bowl Star-Telegram

TCU's 2011 recruiting class is best yet Dallas Morning News


Basketball:

Frogs fall to Air Force in OT gofrogs.com

TCU's Moss, Christian know what they need to do Star-Telegram

Suspension likely ends Moss' TCU career Star-Telegram

Tickets for February 19th game against BYU nearly sold out Star-Telegram

Lady Frogs blow 11-point lead, lose to Air Force for first time since 1988 gofrogs.com

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Amon G. Construction

I took this photo of the Amon G. Carter construction area. I was walking back to the car and thought for those of you who don't live in Fort Worth, you'd get a glimpse of the progress.

110122-A-1579S-001

It's wierd seeing the place without 3/4 of the west stand.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Meet the Future Frogs: Jon Lewis

As if Chuck Hunter's January 16th commitment wasn't music enough to Frog fans ears, he was joined on the interior of the defensive line the very same day by Klein Oak's Jon Lewis. And as if landing two superior DTs on the same day wasn't awesome enough, Lewis was stolen from the Red Raiders the same week they took a TCU assistant coach and decided they weren't quite up for playing the Frogs in a rebuilding year for the much smaller private school.

Back to Lewis, though. He moved to the Houston area from Fresno, CA, and racked up 22 sacks when he got to Klein Oak- including 13 as a senior this past fall. At 6'2", 265lbs he'll need to add some size to play inside at the college level, but being a bit undersized didn't scare away schools coast to coast that offered him a scholarship. Of course, he's plenty of big already to play end. Either way, watch him dominate:

Because I Obligated Myself.

Kind of Funny that they're both Gay now.

TCU vs. Air Force. 5:00PM. CBSCS.

After successfully keeping their now 4 game losing streak intact in New Mexico on Wednesday, the Frogs travel back home to go for number 5 against the Air Forces. Believe it or not, TCU is actually on a bit of a roll against the Falcons, having swept the series both years under Christian. Could this be the game that turns the season around? Doubtful, but there are a few reasons to be hopeful. Or at least there are probably a few reasons to be hopeful, I actually don't know any to be completely honest. Air Force is a game ahead of us in the standings at 11-8, 2-5 having knocked off Wyoming and Utah in conference play. They also haven't been blown out in any of their conference games, despite having already faced off against conference leaders BYU, SDSU and UNLV. Remember, basketball is the THIRD priority for these guys behind serving their country and getting an education.

No word on whether or not Ronnie Moss will be back, but he would certainly be a boost to any team that shot 33% from the field in their last outing. I know they always say that it's really hard to root against the Armed Services, but I've never found it that difficult in football. But in basketball? I'll probably go for the good guys... and they're not wearing purple. I reserve the right to my cynicism until the team proves otherwise.

Elsewhere:

Wyoming @ #4 San Diego State.

San Diego State is looking to bounce back to winning form after losing a tough one to BYU Wednesday night. Can they do it? Well, Wyoming lost to us... so yeah, they can.

#9 BYU @ New Mexico.

I'd say this should be a really good game based on what UNM did against us on Wednesday night, but that's kind of like saying Dude, Where's My Car is the greatest movie of all time just because it's better than Freddie Got Fingered. Regardless, this one is at least watchable.

Colorado State @ Utah.

Meh.

Semi-Pilfered Senior Bowl Observations: Day 4.


Like Day 3, I actually did sit through the live broadcast of the Senor Bowl practice. Like Day 3, it was pretty boring and lacking in substance. Unlike day 3, Andy Dalton did not look very sharp. At all.

In fact, all of my menial observations are going to be about Dalton because I do not recall seeing Kerley at all and Kirkpatrick is, well, Kirkpatrick. Much like Day 3, the biggest setback to Dalton's progress as an NFL signal caller is his lack of exposure to taking the ball directly from center and dropping back to pass. This clearly showed in comparison to Christian Ponder and Greg McElroy as they did not run a predominantly spread offense, which we have exclusively since Fuenderson took over calling the plays. Not that he was awful or anything, but something was just amiss yesterday afternoon. This was especially strange because a lot of the plays they were running were seemingly suited to his strengths - multiple receiver sets with the receivers running short, underneath routes, routes he was not hitting. There was also a sequence where they had the receivers running wide fade routes to the corner of the end zone that he struggled a bit with as well. Clearly not ever practice is going to be top notch, and there were certainly days at TCU where the offense wasn't clicking at all during practice despite what they did in games. I don't think one less than stellar practice is going to torpedo his draft stock or anything; it just simply rammed the point home that Dalton isn't going to be this draft class' Sam Bradford.

And that's it. Apologies because I can't find any updated info on Day 4 mentioning our guys, but you can pretty much just read any of the other daily breakdowns because not a lot changed. We'll have a recap of the game itself up and running Monday and see how the three Frogs fared in their last college game ever... sort of.

Meet the Future Frogs: Chuck Hunter

A week after the Frogs went east to get Quincy Aldridge from Whitehouse, they went even further east to address a major area of need when they received a commitment from West Monroe, Louisiana defensive tackle Chuck Hunter.

Hunter, all 6'1" 294lbs of him, led West Monroe to a state championship as a junior in 2009 was named Louisiana 5A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior this past fall when he led his team to another state championship appearance. All of those accolades helped him land scholarship offers from multiple Big 12 and SEC teams, but he picked TCU in part because he has family in Texas.

Rivals has him listed as a 4-star recruit and ranks him as the #27 defensive tackle in the country and the #15 overall player in Louisiana. Check out his video and judge for yourself:

Morning Dump

Football:
TCU likely to play BYU this year, but not on Thanksgiving weekend
Star-Telegram

Fort Worth football royalty welcomes 'ambassadors'
Star-Telegram

TCU, BYU may play at Cowboy stadium ESPN

Non-AQ returning starters
ESPN

USF doesn't want UCF to join the Big East
Sporting News

More goosebumps
Super Frog


Baseball:
Baseball starts practice Friday
GoFrogs.com

UCLA will start new-look baseball season ranked No. 1
USA Today
-Frogs No. 2

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Semi-Pilfered Senior Bowl Observations: Day 3.


As promised, I did indeed check out the Senior Bowl practices yesterday live and on television in hopes of bringing you some more TCU-centric opinions on the matter. The final results? Well, for one, watching Senior Bowl practices, no matter how much we all love TCU and Dalton, is only slightly more exciting than watching the TCU Basketball team try and run a half court set. Well, that's probably not a good analogy because the latter part of that sentence is fun to watch in a horrifyingly catastrophic way, much like open mic night at the Cellar. No, on the excitement spectrum I'd rank watching senior bowl practices somewhere between watching a non-major golf tournament on TV and folding clothes. Which is to say, they aren't very exciting. So if this review sounds a little forced and half assed, it's because it is. There's just not a whole lot you can say about watching Dalton hand the ball off to a running back 3/4 of the time.

Anyway, to try and make these opinions entirely my own, after the first few minutes of watching I muted the TV and just zipped through to when Dalton, Kirkpatrick or Kerley were involved in the play. In those first few minutes, however, I listened to what the announcers were saying and, wouldn't you know, it looks like Andy Dalton is this year's Tim Tebow as far as the Senior Bowl announcers are concerned. They LOVE him. Ok, so clearly they don't give him the unwavering pole slobbing that they gave Tebow, but they were throwing out so many purely arbitrary and intangible reasons for an NFL team to love Dalton it was actually kind of off putting. In fact, all the AD love coming from somehow other than me may have caused me to black out for a second. It was, "This kid is just a GREAT kid" this and "Andy Dalton is a coaches DREAM" that and pretty much anything unrelated to what he was doing on the field which, to be completely honest, probably wasn't turning the heads of any disinterested by-standers.

This wasn't necessarily Andy's fault, but watching him run the plays set out by an NFL head coach - in his case, Chan Gailey, who may not be the best mentor - definitely demonstrated the differences between what we run at TCU and what he should expect at the next level. For instance, he's got some work to do when taking the snap under center, dropping back and hitting a receiver deep, mostly because we lined up in the shotgun a good majority of the time and probably never ran a 20 yard post route. It's a hard play to make, for sure, and Dalton has the arm for it, but as with most of these slap dash All-Star type games, it's hard to get everything completely perfect, which is a shame because there are so many NFL types in attendance. There were also some serious timing and communication issues between Dalton and his receivers, which can clearly be worked out in an NFL camp, but are hard to pin down in three days of practice. Being a Dalton homer, I'm more apt to blame the receivers more than anything because when Dalton did miss a receiver, it was always like he was throwing where the receiver was SUPPOSED to be rather than simply winging it over his head.

That said, there was more good than bad about Dalton's third day of practice, but most of it related directly to what he was used to doing in Fort Worth. He was extremely solid on short completions out of the shotgun and, for what it's worth, never fumbled a snap or missed a hand off. In fact, he would've been perfect on these short passes had he not had a bunch of iron fisted receivers to work with because my goodness some of those guys can't catch. Kerley's also checked out practice and probably has better insight into the matter than I do, but those guys were not impressive whatsoever and if Dalton gets a bad rap coming out of the weekend, then he should sue all of them for lost wages. Hammer? Buffalo?

But really, I don't know how those scouts judge these practices because it's not necessarily fair to use an all-star game situation as a parting shot to a successful career. For instance, after watching I understand how Todd McShay can love Dalton and Draftinsiders can hate him, because they're putting greater emphasis on two different aspects. If I woke up today and decided I wanted to rip Dalton, I would've talked about how his long range accuracy is going to have to be completely fine tuned before he has a chance of playing a meaningful down in the NFL because it's very, very rusty. But on the other hand, if I wanted to fawn over him, I would've talked about his short range accuracy and poise in the pocket and rave about how he'll be a stud in the right - read: West Coast - offense.

So I guess my daily assessment is a little bit of both - Dalton has a ways to go before he can be considered a complete NFL QB, but he's going to make some coach extremely happy to grab him in the 2nd or 3rd round.

So what did the "experts" have to say about him? Well, draftinsider was less than impressed:

Slightly better today but still not sold he’s anything more than a clip board holder at the next level. Threw a few solid passes downfield but really has to put a lot of effort to get any speed on throws. Threw a few bad passes into coverage and had in one instance had Hankerson open down the flanks and poorly under threw him.

You see? I saw some of what he's saying - he did force one into coverage that should've been picked, but it was a very quick, short route that was jumped - but do not recall the under throw on Hankerson and didn't really think he threw any true floaters. Regardless, it appears Dalton is going to be running the first team offense Saturday afternoon if I'm judging the rotations correctly.

As for Kerley and Kirkpatrick, I'll be completely honest - I didn't see much of them. Ok, that's not true - I saw a LOT of Kirkpatrick because he worked almost exclusively with Dalton - but I'm definitely not a judge of offensive line talent. The knock on him has been that he's getting out of his stance too high and that he'll simply get blown to bits by an NFL defensive tackle, so I think it's no coincidence that yesterday he seemed to be using his bulk a little more effectively, firing off a little lower than he presumably did in his first two days. As far as "footwork," he could probably use a little change in technique in run blocking because he was mostly just leaning on opposing linemen, using his weight to move them rather than blocking through them, but like I said, what the heck do I know?

And Kerley? I saw him catch probably two passes, but he did catch them, so that has to be viewed as a positive and puts him ahead of the rest of the class in that respect. And both routes were to the sideline, which I have to assume is a more difficult route to run effectively.

Here's Draftinsider's take on each:

Better performance as Kirkpatrick continued to battle throughout the practice. He still presented some of the issue described earlier in the week, but they were not as readily apparent today.

Did not stand out as much as yesterday but far and away the best route runner from the South.

So, at least we're mostly in agreement there.

A few more rumblings from the interweb


I can say the same things about Dalton. He has been a 4-year starter at TCU, been very durable and his most amazing stat is he has lost only 3 games in the last three seasons. He has a little more of a transition to make because he played in more of a spread style offense. In the practices here, he has looked good playing from under center. He can set up quickly, find the open receiver and get the ball out of his hand. He throws a nice tight ball with more than adequate arm strength. Like Stanzi and McElroy, he has shown very good poise.


The quarterbacks still failed to stand out. Christian Ponder holds on to the ball way too long, Greg McElroy seems to be the most consistent of the group and I just don’t see the hype for Andy Dalton. Dalton hasn’t shown a strong arm and his accuracy has been spotty. Dalton is afraid to go deep — possibly because he doesn’t have the arm to do so. I have heard reports of people being very high on Dalton, but they just must be watching something other than what I’ve seen.


Under the "Holding Steady" section of their risers and fallers -

QB Andrew Dalton, T.C.U.: Dalton was known for average arm strength, and his mechanics reveal that he needs to put everything into every throw just for his passes to be of average strength. He was a project entering this game and he did little to demonstrate anything to dispel that notion.

Unfortunately, that's the extent of the free analysis from Day 3. ESPN apparently changed all of their extensive coverage to insider material, and SI doesn't seem to even be aware that this thing called the "Senior Bowl" is taking place right under their noses.

Schedule Update

Well it seems that the TCU/BYU showdown is picking up some steam. According to this article from ESPN Dallas, the two schools are still working out the logistics to set the matchup, which could potentially be played on Friday of Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first mention of the matchup that I've seen other than on this site. And remember, Spitbloodtcu.com broke the news to you before ESPN did, which I find very amusing.

Pretty cool Rose Bowl video

Remember that time TCU won the Rose Bowl? That was awesome. Great job by Sam Ryan to put this together.

***UPDATE: Looks like Sam Ryan has disabled the embedding feature on the video. But you can still watch it by clicking HERE...unless he disables that, in which case you'll know he doesn't want you to watch it.

Morning Dump

Football:
Carder adds to All-American honors
GoFrogs.com

Kerley impressive so far
Star-Telegram

Texas quarterback trio feel it has something to prove at Senior Bowl
Press Register

Wednesday Senior Bowl notes
Yahoo! Sports

Lamar football in talks for 2011 game with TCU
Beaumont Enterprise

Edna grad helps TCU smell the roses
Victoria Advocate

Basketball:
TCU pioneer sees a world of difference
Star-Telegram

New Mexico routs TCU 71-46
AP

Coach 'disgusted' by effort as TCU women lose at home
Star-Telegram

Baseball:
Interview: TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle
The 109

Baseball America tabs TCU No. 3 in preseason poll
GoFrogs.com

Athletic Department:
Notes on a scorecard GoFrogs.com

Q&A with Chris Del Conte part 2
Daily Skiff

Meet the Future Frogs: Quincy Aldridge

The Frogs ended the year on a high note both on the field and off- finishing the regular season 12-0 and receiving a bid to the Rose Bowl, and landing LaDarius Brown as their last commitment of 2010. They obviously continued in both regards as the calendars turned to 2011- winning said Rose Bowl and landing the first commitment of 2011 (and the 21st of this class) in Whitehouse safety Quincy Aldridge.

Aldridge, who's listed at 6'2" 195lbs, was most likely headed to whatever big state school he wanted after being named 3rd Team All-State by Dave Campbell's Texas Football as a sophomore in 2008. But he missed much of his junior season- generally the most important year for high school players to impress recruiters- with an MCL sprain. That left him with some ground to make up as a senior this fall, but he didn't disappoint- picking off four passes and being named 1st Team All-District and 1st Team All-East Texas by the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

He is certainly not the first Frog to come from Whitehouse under Patterson's watch- the winning touchdown in the Rose Bowl that came just eight days before Aldridge's commitment was scored by Whitehouse alum Luke Shivers. He may not be the last, either- his younger brother Jonathan as also 1st Team All-East Texas at wide receiver as a junior this year. Before you start looking ahead to the Aldridges sitting alongside the Schobels and Brocks as a TCU football dynasty, check out the one brother who is already committed to the purple & white:

Has Christian Lost the Team?


With just under 15 minutes remaining in last night's MWC Apocalypse match between ninth ranked BYU and fourth ranked San Diego State, the score was tied at 44 and BYU was slowly turning the tables in their favor in what was a back and forth game to that point. Naturally for the Cougars, Jimmer Fredette had 29 of those points. Only two other BYU players had scored the entire game. And one of those players had 2 points. For the majority of the second half, Jimmer was outscoring the entire SDSU team's second half output by himself. BYU ended up pulling the upset by a score of 71-58, led by Fredette's eventual 43 points on a GAUDY 24 attempts - the rest of the team had 32 by comparison - and now sit alone at the top of the MWC standings. I would still argue that the Aztecs are the best team in the conference - they were clearly gassed from the altitude and went on an 8 plus minute field goalless streak in the second half which allowed the Cougars to pull away - and I have a feeling the tables will turn next month when the two teams meet up in the Whale's Vagina. But while watching Fredette ply his trade and continue his one man rampage in Provo, I could really only think of one thing:

How the hell did Ronnie Moss hold this guy to 21 points?

Cut to the Frogs game where, ironically, Moss was nowhere to be seen, having not traveled with the team due to "undisclosed personal reasons." Now, I'm no clairvoyant, but whenever a player doesn't even travel with the team due to an "undisclosed personal reason," either he's the topic of the classic Ween cut, "You Fucked Up," or he has "creative differences" with the direction the team is going and chooses not to be involved at all. Given what I witnessed last night, it looks like he made the correct call.

Let me just say this, I went to and, briefly, played for a high school team that never had a winning year in any year that I was there. And as high school teams are notorious for having players just trying to "get theirs," you can imagine what extreme that was taken to when we were losing all of our games and our coach had no control over what was going on on the floor. And when I watched the Frogs game last night, it was pretty much like watching my high school team all over again, but with more tattoos.

To paraphrase Rhett Butler and say that frankly we just didn't give a damn in last night's 71-46 "effort" isn't even scratching the surface. In the second half, I'm not even sure we ran one offensive set as I saw three straight trips down the court where we simply dribbled inside the arc, half assedly set up a pick, and launched an off balance, leaning 20 footer that had no PRAYER of going in unless Hank Thorns was involved. Speaking of Thorns, I think he pretty much has Stockholm Syndrome at this point because that's the only explanation I can think of why a good basketball player would still be around, even taking into consideration he's already transferred once. I'm not sure what the coaching staff sold him two years ago when he transferred from Virginia Tech, but oh my god what are you doing here, guy??? And he wasn't even THAT good last night! 11 points on SEVENTEEN shots is pretty doggone awful, but he was still the leading scorer, and the leading assister with 9. And that line easily qualifies him as the player of the game for the Frogs if there even is such a thing, especially considering we only had 12 assists total on the night. That number should tell you all you need to know about how much we were playing together last night. You could play NBA Live on easy mode solely as LeBron against the Memphis Grizzlies and dish out more assists than that.

For the game, the Frogs shot 33%, 22% from the outside, and FIFTY SEVEN PERCENT from the free throw line. As a benchmark comparison, Shaquille O'Neal, the worst free throw shooter in the history of the league or thereabouts, has a career mark of 52.7%. Let that sink in. TCU has never been a good free throw shooting team for reasons that are beyond me, so I'm not penning that solely on Christian because it was true during the Dark Ages of Daughterty. And making all of our free throws last night would not have even dented the final score. But you know what would have? Not shooting 33% from the floor and 22% from three! That's just terrible and doesn't happen if you have a well executed game plan. And you can't execute a game plan without your best player.

Given what happened last night, I have no doubt that we still would've lost the game even had Moss played. Maybe we would've kept it within 20-15 points, but to suggest that we would've beaten New Mexico is absolutely ludicrous. They aren't that good, but a "not that good" MWC team is still leaps and bounds better than what we're running out each night. And I honestly have no idea why Moss didn't travel; I'm completely jumping to conclusions due to the "undisclosed" part of the reasoning because, if there was a death in the family or an illness or something along those lines, that kind of information is typically disclosed, even for a college athlete. But if he's going the way of Sammy Yeager - and I honestly have no reason to think that he is - that speaks volumes about what's going on in Fort Worth right now when you consider he was the first recruit Christian brought to campus.

Christian really does give a good effort out there. He's fiery, he's passionate and he clearly wants to win. But, as one of our commenters pointed out in another post this week, he's never had to rebuild a program. He did wonders at Kent State, but he inherited his position at what was already a strong program under Stan Heath. But, maybe TCU should've seen the writing on the wall based on Heath's body of work at the University of Arkansas, the job he took over which catapulted Christian into the drivers seat at Kent? I understand the caveats of attracting prime candidates to Fort Worth, of which there are many. And I realize that, after the "hot shot assistant" route failed miserably with Daugherty, the up and coming mid-tier coach was the next best option, and Christian seemed like a home run hire at the time. He said all the right things and was a breath of fresh air coming on the heels of Daugherty, who was one of the most jaded and naive coaches to ever taint the profession. But in hindsight? Christian's expectations and proclamations were the same and just as unrealistic - to win and to win immediately. He just said it with passion and enthusiasm, rather than whining and not accepting that he wasn't in Kansas anymore. But the sad truth is, the program is just as dormant as it was under Neil, and to be honest, perhaps even more so. Daugherty was terrible, but he at least had winning records, and Christian is looking hard at his third straight as head man. I understand he needs proper time to rebuild, and I have no expectations of TCU ever becoming a true basketball powerhouse, but if in three years we're not even challenging the middle of a top heavy basketball conference, how much time should we be willing to give him?

You always hate to turn your back on a person who genuinely wants what is best for the program and who you know wants to win more than anything. But judging from the selfishness of the players last night, and from their glassy eyed, entirely morose expressions in the huddle, it might be time.

To recycle some old material - I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Basqetbol Tewnytte.

When I think of Mike Locksley
The thought of playing New Mexico in any sport
Seems less daunting by comparison.

Frogs @ New Mexico. 9:00PM CT. the mtn.

This past week the powers that be at Spitblood - and by that I mean the three remaining readers, right adam? - got together and decided on a plan of attack for the next couple of weeks before baseball season cranks back up. During this conversation, I, unprovoked mind you, offered to pen a handful of basketball related posts each week until the season ends. You know, to keeps things fresh, drive some traffic and, hopefully, be on the cutting edge of our out of nowhere resurgence during the last third of the season. So how are things one week into said experiment? Well, I'm wondering if I should've picked the TCU basketball team that's currently undefeated in conference and has the most balls, otherwise known as Jeff Mittie's Lady Frogs.

This past weekend I was on a hall pass from the wife while she went back home to visit family, and in between college-caliber binge sessions on Friday and Saturday, I chose to recharge my batteries by watching the TCU/Utah game. I'm a masochist, what can I say? And even though I went into it assuming we would lose, and even though I have no tangible reason to be interested in TCU Basketball at this point, I am still just eerily drawn to the games. Part of it is my much documented love for the game, part of it is morbid curiosity. Heck, part of it is just because I know that if I want to ever see TCU win basketball games, I better get my fill these next two years because we're going to be the girl in a bukkake film once we join the Big East.

But mostly? I'm a sucker. A total, unapologetic sucker and I want to believe that things are going to change. It probably has something to do with the Rangers making the World Series which completely flipped my opinion on hopelessly lost teams on its head, but I just think there's more to this team than meets the eye and keep thinking that, on some given night, everything is going to come together and these Frogs will win a game that no one thought they could. I remember the year that we actually DID go to the post season, when I attended just about every single home game and listened to road games on the radio while half assing creative writing assignments, and how that still remains one of my top 5 favorite TCU sports related moments ever.

But then they get absolutely destroyed by Utah - the 13 point final margin is accurate only in the sense that that is how the game officially ended and will be remembered in the record book - to drop below .500 and kill just about any chance of a winning record and post season berth we may have had. Seriously, how hard is it to make the basketball post season? The Special Olympics is more discretionary in their awards process than the NCAA is in keeping teams from playing in March with the now, what, 4 post season tournaments going on? It's really not much to ask, but for this team, it's an unsolvable riddle, like a Rubix Cube when you don't just peel the stickers off and place them where you wish.

The point of this rant being I'm going to continue to document every last second of this miserable basketball season until it mercifully ends, but I''m not going to like it and I'm going to go through the motions harder than Tom Cruise on his wedding night. If you want optimism, check out HornedFrogSports piece on the topic. As for me? I'm fresh out.

So tonight we have the New Mexico Lobos who we are 0-8 against all time. The Lobos were once a dominant MWC force but have fallen on some rough times this season and are no closer to making the tournament than we are. Well, they're probably closer, but so are most AAU teams, and they can't even legally qualify. They enter the game 13-7, but are 1-4 in the Mountain West and are unwashed backside sitting on our shoulders in the cellar of the conference standings. They, too, are on a three game losing streak, but were actually being talked about as a serious bubble team before their current skid, so there's still time.

Fortunately for the Lobos, they're looking to turn things around against us, which means their three game skid is about to dissolve like a tab of acid under a UNM hippie's tongue. If there's anyone you want to play to turn your season around, it's the Frogs, and the Lobos with their penchant for grabbing rebounds, shooting high percentage shots and scoring bodes well against our warriors who do none of those things well. Especially rebounding. Holy hell, please tell me someone else subjected themselves to the Utah game? The final tally was 37-28 in favor of the Utes, but it seemed SO much worse. And while the Lobos don't have multiple 7 foot Ents like Utah, they do have 6-11 Alex Kirk, a softie at 5 rebounds per game, but who should also get prepared for a career night. I'm not sure how many 7 footers there are to go around, and when you look at all the NBA rosters that are absolutely littered with worthless big men I have to assume it can't be many, but I'll never understand why we can't find just ONE. He probably wouldn't be a true difference maker, but for the 256th ranked rebounding team in the country, a player like that could only help matters.

As for the aforementioned 256th ranked team? Well, I will agree with HFS that Hank Thorns has been as advertised this season, as has Ronnie Moss. In fact, without Thorns scoring every single first half point for TCU on Saturday - not entirely accurate, but not entirely inaccurate either - the game would've been over before the first subs were buzzed in. And on the bright side, this is a very young team with Greg Hill being the only senior on board, so our final year in the MWC will be Christian's most experienced team as head coach. But I still can't get the sinking feeling out of my stomach that Eric Hyman made a deal with the devil when he hired Franchione and sacrificed our basketball success in exchange for football. Clearly this is a tradeoff any of us would take, but it doesn't change the reality that even when things appear to be heading in the right direction, failure is just around the corner.

A win tonight doesn't matter in the immediate future, but if things don't change these next 11 games and next season, joining the Big East may essentially put our basketball team out of a business altogether. I realize this is an extremely pessimistic and non-constructive view to take, but I just get the feeling the steps we've taken backwards since Tubbs left the program may have doomed us forever. Of course, for all I know we could rally for a winning record over the rest of the season, challenge for a Conference title next year and enter the Big East on a high note. But that feels like a pipe dream at this point. In this instance, the wisdom of Charles Barkley certainly applies when he said, "I might be wrong, but I doubt it."

Elsewhere in the MWC.

#4 San Diego State @ #9 BYU. 9:00PM. CBSCS.

So I realize we're all down on the MWC right now because of the whole Boise switch thing and are just ready to get out, but I also think those that don't understand that decision are as silly as the ones who think Jamie Dixon is coming home to Fort Worth. It's exactly the type of "Fuck you, this is MY conference and I'm doing what's best for it" move that we loved Craig Thompson for as recently as this summer when he poached Boise, Fresno and Nevada from the WAC. And while a lot of you will continue to hold a grudge towards the conference since its success doesn't really matter to us anyway, we shouldn't overlook what's going on at the top of the basketball standings. Believe it or not, the Mountain West has a shot at a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament come March in undefeated San Diego State and no lower than a 4 in one loss BYU. Given most of our successful teams have rarely risen above the 6-7-8 seed threshold, this is pretty serious news.

And while San Diego State is still kind of on the outside looking in in most circles, should they continue their winning ways and finish the year with a flawless record, they'll be very, very hard to ignore as the top teams continue to fall. So, in other words, you should probably go with the Kawhi Leonards over the Jimmers tonight if you weren't already. Sadly, if this were a game in any other conference ESPN would have shut down the universe to let you know how apocalyptically important it is, but seeing as how it's on CBS CS at 10:00PM on the east coast, it'll likely get the TCU/Utah treatment where the winner gets a big MEH and the loser gets drop kicked out of the rankings. Ah, how nice that apple pie smells when resting on the windowsill of an AQ conference....

Air Force @ Colorado State. 8:00PM.

In the, "Wow, at least there's a game that's less interesting than ours" match up, you've got Air Force traveling up north to take on the Rams in Fort Collins. But as for the interesting thing, this one actually means a lot more to the conference than any game we'll play in the rest of the year. Yep, sure enough, Colorado State is now officially a bubble team despite losing to New Mexico and BYU over the past couple of weeks and they really need this game to remain solvent. I'll be honest though - call me in March and let me know how these guys end up overall, because I'm SO not interested right now.


Meet the Future Frogs: LaDarius Brown

After California JUCO corner Jason Verrett became the third consecutive commitment from out of state, the TCU coaching staff found member #20 of the 2011 class much closer to home in Waxahachie athlete LaDarius Brown.

Standing 6'2" and weighing 190lbs, Brown runs a 4.42 forty and has an eye-popping 43" vertical leap. With hops like that, you could see him affecting the game not only by putting points on the board for the Frogs, but also by taking points off the board for opponents by blocking field goals. Or maybe that's just the raving lunatic, mad scientist special teams coach in me.

That kind of athleticism allowed Brown to score touchdowns (the exact number, I'm not certain) receiving, running, in the return game and on defense as a senior at Waxahachie, when he was named Offensive MVP of District 15-4A. The overall MVP of the district? Fellow future Frog Trevone Boykin. As is the case with a lot of TCU's class and every recruit listed as an "athlete", there is some question as to what position he'll play in college. Most of the experts seem to think wide receiver or safety, with more leaning towards WR.

If you're the type of recruiting fan that is obsessed with how many stars a kid has, you'll be happy to know that Brown is a 4-star player according to Rivals. They also have him ranked as the #7 overall player in Texas and the #53 overall player in the nation. He had scholarship offers from almost every Big 12 school, as well as a certain school that just bought a national championship and another that plays on NBC every Saturday.

I'm kind of surprised that I couldn't find a highlight tape of Brown on youtube, but you can see him score multiple touchdowns against future Camp Longhorn counselors in this video taken at a playoff game his junior year:

Pilfered Senior Bowl Observations: Day 2.


It's very interesting how much a day can change opinions, for better or worse, but even more interesting to see how those opinions can so decisively diverge from critic to critic. Here's an example:

Todd McShay has what is probably the most thorough Senior Bowl analysis that there is to find, and he had this to say about Dalton's performance yesterday, in which he called AD the South's Top Performer:

The more you watch him, the more you see him do all the little things that are so important to the quarterback position. He doesn't have the big size, strong arm or great athleticism, but he's doing a really good job. He's a sponge. He's always around the QB coaches or offensive coaches, always asking questions, always talking, always engaged. He's never standing off on his own. He's leading everything. His ball is not pretty -- it flutters sometimes -- but he's got adequate arm stregth and probably the third-strongest arm of the QBs here. He can make the deep throws and he does the other little things right, so he has a good enough arm. He missed two times, throwing high on a couple of inside routes, but he was the most accurate QB from beginning to end.

True, some of the things he says sounds a little back handed, making it sound like AD is more of a football nerd than a football player, but you get the idea that he appreciates what Dalton brings to the table and recognizes that he has what it takes to make a roster somewhere.

And then there's draftinsider, who had this to say about the exact same day's work:

Really not impressive throwing the ball. Rarely throws tight spirals in either the long or short field. Cannot drive his deep throws. Does a nice job commanding the offense but lacks top physical skills for the next level.

Really? So the guy who Todd McShay thinks has one of the strongest arms in Mobile may as well be throwing left handed in the eyes of draftinsider? What gives? After reading this, I decided to eschew whatever reservations I had about watching the SB practices and have recorded this afternoon's session to make my own opinions because, quite frankly, I'm not sure how opinions can be so divided. Although, given the stake that has and will always be driven in our fanbase in regards to the Dalton Haters and Dalton Enthusiasts, I'm not sure why this surprises me. And while McShay is the same guy who thought Jake Locker was going to be one of the greatest prospects to every come out of college football at the QB position, and while ESPN is an evil entity that should be mocked at every turn, I have a feeling we're going to have very similar opinions when it comes to Big Red.

Also, here's a nice little video from McShay talking about the QB competition:


As for our other guys, the reviews from draftinsider were overwhelmingly positive for Kerley:

Best receiver on the South squad. Quickly gets off the line, runs some of the best routes of any receiver in Mobile and always makes the catch. Not a downfield threat but really established himself as a terrific slot receiver prospect.

But not as much so for Kirkpatrick:

Kirkpatrick continued to come off the snap high and was eventually reminded by his coached to stay low. He also struggled to move laterall off the snap. Plus he liked to wrestle his assignmentd while getting his hands too wide.

The news about Kerley is very, very nice to hear. Kerley gets so much publicity regarding his return game that I was afraid he might be pigeon holed solely as a special teamer at the next level, which isn't a bad way to make a living, but I just think he can be SO dangerous as a slot guy. So to hear he ran the best routes of any receiver yesterday is a very positive thing.

The opinions on Kirkpatrick bother me though, and unfortunately this has been the story all off-season - all 20 days of it. I mean, is it so far fetched to think that the Rimington Trophy winner is worthy of a 2nd or 3rd round draft choice? Especially when said Trophy winner is probably the most athletic of all the linemen in Mobile? Actually, yes. I checked back through the past few Rimington Award winners, and while last year's winner Maurkice Pouncey clearly did well for himself this year in Pittsburgh, the others have not. Of the three winners before Pouncey, 0 of the three are currently on NFL rosters above the practice squad, and one of them is no longer in the NFL at all. Actually, if you dig deeper, the two winners before that group are no longer in the NFL at all, either. So is the Rimington Award college football's version of the Madden curse? Just ask Maurkice Pouncey and his high ankle sprain.

So what can we really expect of Kirkpatrick? I definitely think he gets drafted, but unless he improves his technique, it appears he's a low round and possible a practice squad casualty at best. Let's hope he figures some things out before the combine.

That's all I have for today, but I promise to be a bit more thorough tomorrow as I should have my own biased opinions to toss into the mix.