Monday, February 28, 2011

Frogs drop to #8

There are a lot of different college baseball polls, but for simplicity sake I generally stick to the Baseball America poll, in which the Frogs dropped from #4 to #8 this week after losing the series against Cal State-Fullerton. The Titans are one spot ahead of TCU at #7, while other Frog opponents Oklahoma (#3), Baylor (#16) and Texas A&M (#20) also appear in this week's poll.

Fullerton series recap

After Friday night's 4-1 victory over Cal-State Fullerton, it looked as though the previous weekend's Sunday afternoon loss to Kansas might just be a minor blemish on the stellar start to the 2011 season the Frogs were putting together.

But then Saturday and Sunday happened, and the Frogs' warts started to show: relief pitchers struggling to throw strikes, defensive miscues, poor base-running, lack of timely hitting and a manager that sometimes seems like he's outsmarting himself. Many people are not fans of how much Schlossnagle calls for a bunt, but I myself think it's smart to have every batter in your lineup being willing and able to bunt. However, the second part of that equation came into question Sunday afternoon when two Frog batters fouled out when bunting on a two-strike count late in the game.

Of course, I think there's a real good chance that we, as fans, may have let lofty expectations leave us looking for perfect baseball...which no team is playing right now. To be 4-3 after the first 7 games against this tough early competition is not nearly as bad a situation as some have seemed to think on this and other TCU-oriented websites. Losing a hard-fought series to a team like Cal State-Fullerton, especially when you're missing your ace pitcher and one of the better bats in your lineup, is not a sign that the sky is falling.

While a few players continue to struggle with a slow start, let's try to focus on the positives from the weekend. Brance Rivera (5-for-12) and Jantzen Witte (4-for-12) continued to hit well at the top of the order, and Aaron Schultz and freshman Brett Johnson both made outstanding defensive plays that kept the Frogs in Sunday's game.

If you're wondering about Purke's absence, he initially had his Friday start pushed back to Sunday in order to give him more time for a blister on his throwing hand to heal. On Sunday, it was determined that it would be better for him to sit the entire weekend out- because trying to pitch through a problem like that can make the situation much worse. Instead, Kyle Winkler started Friday night and continued his brilliant start to the season- he's now up to 14⅓ innings pitched without giving up an earned run.

True freshman Andrew Mitchell made his first weekend start in place of Purke on Sunday, and tossed 5 scoreless innings to bring his ERA down to 0.66 on the season. That brings into question who will start Tuesday night against Dallas Baptist- I'm guessing it will be a by-committee type of thing.

If you're the type of fan who follows attendance, there were a total of 14,819 fans at the three games this weekend, making it the second highest-attended weekend series in program history. The first six home games of this season have been the six highest-attended home games in program history.

For some more thoughts on the weekend series, check out HornedFrogSports.com.

Morning Dump

Missed opportunities hand TCU series loss Star-Telegram

Call State Fullerton rallies to hand TCU tough 2-1 loss
GoFrogs.com

Around the bases
Baseball Insider

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rooster at the NFL Combine.


Having just suffered through watching another late game collapse by the Diamond Frogs, once again due to Fullerton pitching lights out and some QUESTIONABLE managerial tactics towards the end of the game, I turned my attention to Sunday's coverage of the NFL Combine. For the four of you who are reading this and have followed the Combine at all, you'll know that today marked the "glamour" workouts of the QBs, RBs and WRs. Despite their being hours upon hours of coverage from Rich Eisen the NFL network crew, with the number of athletes involved you can imagine it's hard to put too much focus on any one player... unless that player in Cam Newton because they serviced his sack harder than they even did Tebow's last year. Still, Dalton got some ample screen time during his workouts and, for the most part, fared about as well as expected.

To start with the actual football related aspect of the Combine drills, they had each QB throw three short out routes and three deep routes, just to see how the QBs could handle the different situations. As expected, Dalton was all over the out route, completing all three, but had trouble throwing the deep ball, hanging it in the air a bit too long on one and over throwing his man on the other. Of course, coming from a spread offense, QBs have rarely taken deep drops so it is always going to be a learning curve and making those types of passes will improve for AD with practice. As a comparison, Ryan Mallett and his family arm looked absolutely monstrous on this drill, making absolutely perfect deep throws that had NFL team scouts rushing to the nearest public restroom to Paul Reubens themselves. On the other end of the spectrum though? Believe it or not, Cam Newton, who looked incredibly uncomfortable trying to make the transition from a college to an NFL passer. Of course, he'll still go top ten because he's an absolute beast of an athlete, which will once again complete the self fulfilling prophecy that is the NFL combine that is getting underprepared athletes overpaid. They also had each QB take a deep drop and throw deep outs, but they did not feature Dalton during this so I cannot say how he performed.

As for measurables, Dalton was bottom of the barrel in his 40 time, coming out of the drill with a 4.87, which wasn't as slow North Carolina's TJ Yates who ran a sloth-like 5.1, but also couldn't touch Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor's 4.51. This surprised me simply because he looked quite fast when running the option at TCU, but at the same time it doesn't bother me because an NFL QB doesn't have to be fast to be successful. I'm guessing there are O Linemen who would smoke Peyton Manning in a foot race and he's done alright for himself. He also had one of the weakest verticals of any of the QBs who participated in the drill with a 29.5, although aggy's Jerrod Johnson, the pre-season best QB in Texas, continued to look ordinary with a 29. The other two drills he competed in were the three cone and the broad jump, where he was more towards the middle of the pack, but did not blow anyone away with a 6.93 and 8'10" in the events, respectively. Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor out jumped him by nearly two full feet, which was to be expected.

To be honest, watching AD against the other top QBs in this class made me a bit weary. On the one hand, he did exactly as we expected he would do - he made the short passes, struggled with the long, and didn't wow anyone with his physical tools. Unfortunately, despite all of the phenomenal things he did while in Fort Worth, to the layman he's a relatively doughy red head who could use an inch or two of height and put on a few more pounds of muscle. But, where Dalton is clearly going to shine throughout the rest of the Combine and leading into the draft is clearly the interview process, where NFL GMs are going to go nuts for the guy. He's not going to be a bullshit cornball like Tebow who had apparently had ex-Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels creaming his jeans and ultimately losing his job because of it, but just a straightforward, level headed kid who is going to work his ass off to be the best that he's capable of being. It's hard to say where he will go specifically, but any team that is settled in at starter and has the time to groom a guy for a few years would be absolutely foolish not to give him a shot. It's incredibly doubtful that he'll go in the first round as a couple of mock drafts have proposed, believe it or not, but if he's sitting there in the middle of the third round, teams would be absolutely insane to pass on him. I'll be very interested to see where his draft stock sits once the Combine is complete.

I also took note of how Marcus Cannon, Jimmy Young and Jeremy Kerley handled themselves and will put that up later today or in the morning. Hopefully you all will be able to dial back your overwhelming sense of anticipation long enough to wait it out.

Also, you can check out up to date stats for all participants HERE.

Frogs Fall After Late Titans' Rally.

Frogs Fall Short despite Witte's 3 RBIs.

After six straight innings of no offensive production, the Frogs heated up late, tying the game at 3 all in the eighth. Unfortunately for TCU, from that point forward the only K's for Erik Miller were in his first name and the day ended in an 8-4 loss.

With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, the Frogs had Jerome Pena on third with 1 out and looked to be a played ball away from stealing a game they looked out-manned in all afternoon. Then the wheels completely fell off as Pena was picked on the ole suicide squeeze play, and then Miller gave up five in the top of the ninth. Both TCU losses this season have at least partially been the result of overly aggressive base running and one would have to think the coaching staff is going to take a hard look at their tactics going forward in that situation.

However, all due credit needs to go to Fullerton pitcher Tyler Pill who absolutely killed the TCU batters all afternoon. In 6.1 innings of work, Pill gave up 2 hits, 5 strike outs and a wide array of infield ground balls and line outs, never giving the good guys much of a chance. He did have two earned runs, but they were the result of back to back walks in the eighth, at which point he was pulled and his relief man was responsible for the runs crossing the plate. I've always thought the whole "earned run" thing was one of the sillier stats in baseball. It feels a lot like Little League where everyone gets a chance to play - "It's ok, even though you gave up a grand slam, it's not REALLY your fault!" Baseball, I want to love you, but I'm still a skeptic.

For his part, Stephen Maxwell kept us in the game, going relatively toe to toe with Pill in his 7 innings of work, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs. It's just a shame his run support was in such short supply. Our hitting line wasn't what we've become accustomed to - 7 hits, 4 runs and 9 men left on. Jantzen Witte, as mentioned above, batted in three on two hits, with Jerome Pena tallying the other run.

A very tough loss for TCU, but when you're playing the #13 team in the country and their pitcher seemingly can't be hit, sometimes that's just how baseball go.

The Frogs look to take the series this afternoon at 1, although according to Spitblood's own Stefan Stephenson, Matt Purke will be held out until the weekend series in Lubbock while still nursing a blister on his throwing hand. Typical midweek starter Andrew Mitchell will likely be on the mound.

In other news, in my very own version of "An Idiot Abroad," this was the first game I've attended in person at Lupton in multiple years and, despite being relegated to riff raff Hill, I'd have to say that a college baseball game is one of the more underrated sporting events there is to attend. Not because of the game itself, I'm talking about college girls and their moms, and specifically what they choose to don on an 80 degree afternoon. You won't see that much silicon at a Charlie Sheen orgy. I went with my brother in law who will be a freshman at TCU in the fall and all I can say is that September can't get here fast enough for him. I also found out that in 1937 TCU had a player named, I shit you not, BEAR WOLF!! You can have your Barkevious Mingo, Name of the Year, because Bear Wolf is the name of the century. When we eventually win the College World Series, here's to giving credit to Bear Wolf for getting this thing started back in the dark ages.


Sunday Dump

Baseball:

Five-run 9th inning brings down TCU Star-Telegram

Frogs' rally falls short in 8-4 loss gofrogs.com

Titans' five-run 9th too much for TCU Orange County Register

Frogs' pitching is stellar, but offense needs work Skiff


Basketball:

New Mexico hands TCU 12th consecutive loss ESPN

Horned Frogs fall to Lobos in home finale gofrogs.com

For senior Greg Hill and TCU, just another defeat Star-Telegram

Lady Frogs drop New Mexico, 84-71 gofrogs.com

TCU women top New Mexico in long-range shootout Star-Telegram


NFL Combine:

Dalton impresses NFL with winning ways Star-Telegram

TCU's Andy Dalton: 'I can't stand to lose' The Sporting News

Marcus Cannon's stock rising at NFL Combine SI.com

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winkler leads Frogs to Game 1 win

Rather than typing out my own thoughts on TCU's 4-1 win over Cal State-Fullerton last night, I'm gonna take the easy way out and let the Frogs themselves tell you about it:

Schlossnagle:



Winkler:



Erik Miller:



Kyle Von Tungeln:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dalton at the NFL Combine:

A Heckler's Guide to the Weekend- Cal State Fullerton

If most of you are even remotely like me, and I'm assuming that quite a few of you are whether you want to admit it or not, you realize that one of the most entertaining things to do at TCU baseball games (other than watch Matt Purke humiliate hitters) is to try to get into the heads of our opponents. Due to the size of Lupton and the proximity to the players, especially those sitting on the first base line, this can be done pretty easily. Does anyone remember the guy for Arizona last season during the Regionals who had the RIDICULOUS stretching routine before he stepped into the batters box? Pretty sure that guy took one of the biggest verbal beatings I have ever heard. Heckling can be fun, but if any TCU fans yell "Get in the batter's box and shut up!" they should be banned from TCU sporting events for life. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just go type that into a thread on orangebloods.com.

Anyways, I didn't do extensive research on who to heckle for Fullerton, but the likely targets based strictly on proximity to the field and importance to the game are the pitcher and catcher, first and third base, right field, and hopefully you people in the party pavillion who are allowed to slam beers can belittle the left fielder so bad that he cries a la Daryl Strawberry on Monty Burns's softball team. So here are the targets, and fortunately for us the Fullterton page decided to let us see some of their personal information to make this process a lot easier.


Not too much negative to say about Nick. He's pretty damn good, however, you could always take the low blow and call him fat. He may not be fat anymore, but with a frame like that, you know that at one point in his life he was certainly a fat kid, and he's probably still sensitive about it. Also, despite being from California, his favorite team is the Yankees. FRONTRUNNER. The place he most wants to play in is Yokohama Stadium in Japan. Way to set your sights high, Nick.


Joe Terry. Obviously we could ask him if he's related to local celebrity and notorious big game choker Jason Terry. We could mockingly call him JET, and ask him if he is gonna blow it when the regionals start, much like Jason Terry does when the playoffs start. Ok, this is becoming an anti-Mavs tangent. I apologize. He models his game after Manny Ramirez and Hanley Ramirez, so he's obviously a lazy piece of shit who thinks he's awesome. Someone please ask him if his middle name "Mikal" is pronounced Michael. Ask him if his sister Brandi is THE Brandi, and if Ray J is also his brother.


First thing that comes to my attention. BIG FREAKING EARS. Right field GA hill sitters- please call him Dumbo, tell him to tuck his ears into his hat, ask him if he can use those as wings and fly away, etc, etc, etc. His favorite athlete is Tim Tebow, so do what you want with that, and despite being from Anaheim his nickname is Cowboy. Go figure.


Nice chin pubes, Anthony. He was a Fullerton bat boy growing up, and Aaron Rowand is his cousin. Tell him to run full speed into the fence and break his face like his cousin did. Oh, and he likes the band Linkin Park.


Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-ooooooo!!!!! Rufio plays the clarinet, piano, and tuba. Thank you very much, Tanida, for playing right into the stereotype. He also models his game after A's catcher Kurt Suzuki. Go figure. Favorite band- RASCAL FLATS. Nothing would be more intimidating than seeing some stubby Asian kid come up to bat to the gay Rascal Flats remake of "Life is a Highway".


Noe, yes Noe, pronounced No-E, is damn good, so he might not give us too many opportunities to heckle him. However, his name is dumb, he has somewhat of a Jersey Shore hairdo, and he's from East LA, so he probably knows Cheech and Chong. He has 5 siblings, so make sure to tell him that his dad needs to start wearing condoms or his mom needs her tubes tied.


His nickname is Pilly. I wonder if he's a pill popper? I say yes, so go with it. Despite being a pitcher, he models his game after Cleveland Indian's centerfielder Grady Sizemore. That makes sense...His favorite player is Chase Utley. I wonder if he ever wrote a letter to Utley asking him for a game of catch, much like Mac in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


First thing that comes to my attention- dumb face. Like Kellen Moore and Eli Manning had a kid and created this dumb face. He's 6'6, but he models his game after 5'10 Tim Lincecum, and judging by his picture, they indulge in the same substances. Not too much good info, but he's got an older sister named Dafne, so make sure to ask if she's hot/if she puts out/how she likes guys from Texas. The main problem for O'Connell is that he will most likely (blister pending) square off against Matt Purke, so he's fucked from jump street. Good luck with that, buddy.

So there you have it. Just a few Titans to heckle, and I'm sure once the weekend starts, certain players will stand out as tremendous douchebags and make the heckling choices a lot easier. I do advise all of you to print this sheet out, take it with you to the game, and keep it handy like a roster in order to break these guy's spirits.












TCU vs. Cal State-Fullerton preview

There are probably a number of you out there that have been reading about this series against Cal State Fullerton and do not understand the magnitude of it, if only because the Titans are a non-factor in just about every other sport. But think of the football team playing LSU at Amon G. Carter or the basketball team playing Kentucky at Daniel-Meyer: Fullerton is that big a powerhouse in college baseball. They've won 4 national titles, been to the College World Series 16 times and have missed the NCAA Tournament just twice since 1987.

The Titans come to Fort Worth for this weekend's series with a 2-2 record and a #12 national ranking. They'll send their All-America pitcher, junior Noe Ramirez, to the mound tonight. Ramirez was 12-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 119 K's last season, and struck out 5 in 7 innings giving up just one run to pick up a win in his first and only start so far this year. The much antcipated Friday night showdown between he and Matt Purke won't happen, though- as David Peterson of HornedFrogSports.com explains, Purke will start Sunday instead and Kyle Winkler will pitch tonight.

On offense, Fullerton is led by outfielder/DH Carlos Lopez, who hit .354 with 7 HR and 51 RBI a year ago. He's off to a good start to 2011, too, having gone 8-for-17 over the first weekend of the season. Other key contributors to the Titan lineup are junior first baseman/pitcher Nick Ramirez and junior outfielder/pitcher Tyler Pill, who will be looking to shake off a slow start much like some key members of the Frog lineup.

Speaking of the TCU batting order, they will be without sophomore catcher/outfielder/DH Josh Elander this weekend, as Baseball America confirms in their preview of the series that he is still recovering from the deep hip bruise he suffered diving for a foul ball last Saturday.

Last weekend, as I'm sure you know by now, saw new single-game and single-series attendance records at Lupton Stadium. Both of those records are in jeopardy of falling again this weekend, so be prepared for parking to be tough and long lines at the concession stands.

Morning Dump

Baseball:
Like Fullerton, Frogs program with "dirt-bag" mentality
Star-Telegram

TCU and Cal Fullerton set for weekend duel
GoFrogs.com

College weekend preview
Baseball America



Swimming & Diving:
TCU sets six swimming records at conference tournament
Star-Telegram

TCU breaks school and MWC records in day two at OKC
GoFrogs.com

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NFL Combine Starts... Right Now!

The NFL Combine. Where This Happens.

Calling all nerds! That's right, it's that time again - time for the event where some dreams are made, others are shattered, and Tim Tebow can increase his earnings by millions simply because he "looks like a football player" in spandex. No, I'm not talking about RuPaul's Drag Race, although, to be fair, Tebow would probably fare pretty well in that contest, too. I'm talking about the NFL Combine, the birthplace of paper tigers everywhere.

For the uninitiated, or for those who simply have more productive things to do with your last weekend in February - and "eating" and "remembering to breathe" definitely count here - the NFL Combine is the last chance for draft eligible players to audition for a spot in the NFL draft. And if you thought the Senior Bowl was worthless, just you wait until Jake Locker moves back into the number one spot because he can run fast! You know why Jamarcus Russell has blown more money on cough sizzurp than you will ever make in your entire lifetime? Because of the NFL combine. Let's just say it's not an "exact science," but at the same time is the most important inexact science in the world for the 350 or so participants. Tom Brady was invited, and if he didn't go until the sixth round, it's pretty obvious someone placed a little too much emphasis on a vertical leap.

So what does the Combine entail? Well, it's made up of six drills:

  • The 40 yard dash. You know who holds the fastest 40 time at the combine? It's a tie between Chris Johnson and... Rondel Melendez . Again, NOT necessarily a good predictor of NFL success.
  • Bench Press. Players bench press 225 pounds as many times as they can. I'm crossing sporting lines here, but Kevin Durant could only do something like 4 in his pre-draft workouts. Again, not a good indicator.
  • Vertical Jump. Whatevs. Look at me! I can jump high! Guess it's good if you're a receiver.
  • Broad Jump. I was on my elementary school's fifth grade Olympics team and came in 4th place in the broad jump. Who wants to sex Sir Wesley?
  • 3 Cone Drill. Tests agility. Linemen are not very good at this.
  • Shuttle Run. The description uses "explosion" multiple times. That's all I've got.
But you know what? Despite all of that cynicism, I always follow the workouts a little too close, and this year with five Frogs competing, I've more or less cleared my weekend, save the three hours on Saturday that I'll be at Lupton. I've always found the Combine fascinating, not just because it's amazing how there are literally tens of thousands of college aged students who have come through Indianapolis that are overwhelmingly more talented at being in shape than I will ever be, but just because of how a good workout can set up a mediocre talent for life. Cam Newton held a short, private work out a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles for scouts where he put on an Under Armour shirt and threw uncontested passes for an hour. Sounds trivial, right? I mean, surely watching game tape and taking into account his GLARING character issues, college offensive scheme, not to mention the fact that he's only played division one football for one season, is more important than a workout entirely coordinated to his liking, no? Nope - after the work out, the Todd McShay's of the world RAVED about his abilities, escalated him into their mock top tens and proclaimed that, pending a good Combine weekend, he could go as high as #3 to Buffalo, and possibly even #1 overall. If you hate Newton and all he stands for, I do not suggest you follow the Combine.

Speaking of character issues, that's another thing the Combine focuses on, allowing teams to set up interviews with prospects to grill them about the promiscuous lifetstyles their mothers exhibited. Cam Newton is going to get asked about his dad. Ryan Mallett is going to get asked why he's addicted to gettin' faaaaaaaaaded, brah. And Andy Dalton is going to be asked why he has red hair and went to a non-BCS school because those two things clearly hurt his draft stock. This is easily the most naive part of the Combine because a trained dolphin could answer these questions correctly. What is Cam going to say? "Uh, yeah, my dad is a criminal and exploited his position as a man of the God for his own financial ends?" And unless Mallett decides he wants to torpedo his career a-la Ricky Williams, I'm pretty sure he's going to deny, deny and then deny some more, and then immediately walk out the door and burn a blunt because once you get paid who gives a shit about a little weed? Again, all you're going to hear after this weekend is how Cam Newton is such a well behaved, changed young man with a good head on his shoulders... and then he and Albert Haynesworth are going to literally sit on Daniel Snyder's lawn and burn bundles of 100s in front of him while sexing his wife. This will happen.

Anyway, I realize I'm making this sound interesting for all the wrong reasons so I'll wrap it up. You should be interested in the Combine for five reasons, and five reasons only: Andy Dalton, Marcus Cannon, Jimmy Young, Jeremy Kerley and Wayne Daniels, because they're all performing this weekend. And assuming most of you do not care to waste your weekend googling and/or watching the NFL network coverage of the event, I'll be here to fill in the gaps for you, much as I attempted to do with the Senior Bowl. Except on Monday because I have jury duty. And since the event ends on Sunday, you're probably going to miss a lot of vital information due to this timing.

On second thought you're probably on your own.


Circling the bases vs Cal State Fullerton

Last home basketball game Saturday night

This year's TCU basketball season has been a lot like the TV series Entourage. It came on right after something brilliant (TCU going 13-0/The Wire), so you figured you'd give it a shot. It never really got good, but it had some promise so you told a few friends to check it out. Then the losses started mounting up, Christian started booting players, the writers started giving Turtle hot girlfriends for some reason and you realized that Adrian Grenier, despite playing an actor, cannot act. Now you just want it to end.

While HBO is trotting out Entourage for one more season (which I will begrudgingly watch just to see if it can possibly be as insufferably bad as the final season of Big Love has been so far), the 2010-2011 Frog basketball campaign will mercifully come to a close soon with the last home game being Saturday night against New Mexico.

So what went wrong? I don't know, who am I- Digger Phelps? Sir Wesley will probably post something on the collapse in the next few weeks, but I just know that for yet another year, I'll watch March Madness without a dog in the hunt like kids at SMU or Baylor must do in the fall. And since my office just sent out a memo outlawing NCAA Tournament pools, I've got to play the "cheer for our conference mates" card this postseason.

The Mountain West looks like they'll be a 3 or 4 bid league- BYU, San Diego State and UNLV look like locks, with Colorado State as one of the "first four out" in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology. Because so many teams are coming and going, I'm not sure how the money will be divided in the MWC this year, but I'm pretty certain that TCU will still get a taste if those teams succeed. The Frogs' future home, the Big East, is still holding steady with 11 probable bids (Pitt, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, UConn, Louisville, Syracuse, West Virginia, St. John's, Cincinnati and Marquette). I don't think the Frogs will directly benefit from NCAA credits earned in this year's tournament by Big East teams, but the potential numbers in a new TV contract for the league inflate with every additional win.

As for the game on Saturday, the Frogs will be looking to snap an 11-game losing streak- which includes 5 straight at home. It will probably also have perhaps half the crowd that Saturday's baseball game against Cal State-Fullerton will have.

Looking Ahead: Linebackers

A little more than a week before spring practice starts for the reloading year of 2011, there are question marks at nearly every position on the Frogs' depth chart. Linebacker, however, is relatively question-free with both starters returning.

Senior-to-be Tank Carder and junior Tanner Brock return after combining for 166 tackles (15 of them for a loss), 5.5 sacks, 2 INT's and 8 passes broken up. I guess the only question for these two is if they can match last year's productivity or not.

Behind Carder & Brock on the depth chart are senior Kris Gardner and juniors Kenny Cain and Greg Burks, who will all look to earn the title of "third starter" that was granted to Robert Henson and Daryl Washington in years past. All three have shown us flashes in the past few years, both on defense and special teams.

Linebacker has been one of the positions that the Horned Frogs have always been able to reload at under Patterson. In addition to the guys listed above, there is plenty of returning talent that will ensure the future prosperity of the position: junior walk-ons Logan Sligar and David Stoltzman have both contributed on special teams, and redshirt freshmen Marcus Mallet and Blake Roberts (if he remains at LB...some speculate he could move to DE) have major potential.

Deryck Gildon, who graduated from Arlington Martin a semester early, has enrolled at TCU and will participate in spring practice with the Frogs. He'll be joined in the fall by fellow true freshman Laderice Sanders.

So what do you think- can Carder & Brock match what they did in 2010? Will any of the backups earn more playing time? When Carder graduates, who takes his place as starter in 2012? Of the true or redshirt freshmen on this fall's roster, who will emerge as the next superstar LB at TCU?

Morning Dump

Football:
Keep an eye on TCU's Andy Dalton
ESPN

Dalton on Galloway & Co
ESPN Radio

Tejay Johnson wants to be remembered as a campus leader
Daily Skiff

Baseball:
Places to be this weekend
ESPN

TCU bound Kevin Kron wins season opener
Arizona Republic



Swimming & Diving:
TCU records fall aplenty on day one
GoFrogs.com

Athletic Department:
Notes on a scorecard GoFrogs.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Good read about a former Frog

One of the big surprises out of spring training last year was reliever and former All-SWC Horned Frog Scott Atchison, who'd spent the previous two seasons pitching in Japan, making the Red Sox' big league roster. He was described as a workhorse by Boston manager Terry Francona for his efforts out of the bullpen in 2010, but after some offseason acquisitions by the club it will be another uphill battle for him to pitch in the show again in 2011.

But as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports, Atchison is just glad to have his family back in America even if he does not make the big squad this year.

Dalton on with Galloway & Company at 5:00pm

The NFL Combine gets underway today in Indianapolis, where Andy Dalton will look to continue to improve upon his draft stock. Sir Wesley Willis will have more stuff about Dalton and the rest of the Frogs at the Combine in the coming days, but #14 will be on ESPN 103.3 today at 5pm talking with Randy Galloway and Matt Mosley- who reports in his NFC East blogging duties for ESPN.com that a certain head coach within the Cowboys' division might have his eye on the TCU QB.

Bears frozen by TCU freshmen

If the best pitching performance of the young season was juniors Kyle Winkler & Erik Miller combining on a one-hitter against Kansas over the weekend, then true freshmen Andrew Mitchell and Stefan Crichton combining on a two-hit shutout of Baylor in Waco Tuesday afternoon wasn't far behind. You could even argue that it's more impressive, since Mitchell & Crichton will be around longer.

When you combine yesterday's result with the complete game shutout tossed by Steven Maxwell and Kaleb Merck against the Bears last June 6th in the NCAA Regional, Baylor hasn't pushed a run across the plate against the Frogs in 18 full innings of baseball. Maybe their baseball team should do what the rest of the Baylor student body does and get married at age 20 just so they can go all the way...home.

The good folks over at baylorfans.com have been a pretty consistent source of entertainment over the years with their completely oblivious and delusional opinions about their teams' place in the world. One of the drawbacks of TCU's success over the last few years has been that even Baylor fans appear to be grasping reality. The grapes over there were not nearly as sour as they were just defeated, but there were a few comments that still made me chuckle:

Baylor Hooah wrote: "I just hate losing to those pricks from Cowtown, regardless of the sport"

Hmmm...then maybe you shouldn't have gone to Baylor...

StatMan wrote: "Just got home from the Baylor Ballpark. Very disappointed seeing more TCU than Baylor fans"

Way to go, Frog fans! This wasn't a football game at SMU, this was a Tuesday afternoon baseball game against a Big 12 team ranked in the Top 20 nationally.

Morning Dump

Baseball:
Freshman lead Frogs by shutting down Baylor
Star-Telegram

Freshman duo lead Frogs to 2-0 road win at Baylor
GoFrogs.com

Football:
Daniels hopes for good showing at NFL combine Kilgore
News Herald

Basketball:
Utah hold off TCU men
Star-Telegram

Utah escapes with victory over struggling TCU
ESPN

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frogs vs. Baylor @ 4:00pm

If you're just not feeling it at work today, you've still got a chance to play hooky and get down to Waco to watch some TCU baseball in person as the 2-1 Frogs take on the 2-1 Bears at 4:00pm this afternoon.

Freshman Andrew Mitchell will get his first career start, after having pitched three innings of relief work in Friday night's 8-2 win over Kansas. Based on interviews with Jim Schlossnagle, we'd been led to believe that Tony Rizzotti would be the mid-week starter. But instead, Mitchell (who graduated from Stratford High in Houston) becomes the 4th Houston area-native to start for the Frogs in their first four games. Baylor will counter with left-handed sophomore Josh Turley, who was 4-0 last spring.

If you're too chicken to leave work early to head down there (it's OK if you are, I am too), you can listen live on KTCU by clicking here.

Looking Ahead: The Defensive Line

The TCU defense was ranked #1 in the nation again in 2010, and were particularly strong against the run- giving up under 100 yards per game on the ground and surrendering just 9 rushing touchdowns all year. When you're that stout against the run, it has a lot to do with the big guys up front. Looking forward to 2011, the Frogs will have to find a way to replace graduating starters Wayne Daniels, Cory Grant and Kelly Griffin.

Griffin was actually out of the lineup starting midseason when he suffered a broken ankle, and replacing him in the starting lineup was junior-to-be DJ Yendrey. Yendrey ended the year with 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss. The other returning starter is sophomore Stansley Maponga, who showed flashes of his brilliant potential as a redshirt freshman this past fall.

The other returners that factored into the rotation and that will be looking to become starters in 2011 are senior Braylon Broughton, juniors Ross Forrest and Jeremy Coleman and sophomore Matt Anderson. Broughton has showed some versatility to go along with his massive frame, playing both end and tackle as needed. Anderson was a safety in high school, carrying on the tradition of TCU transplanting players from other positions in at DE. Players looking to jump into the rotation are sophomores Ray Burns, Bryant House and Jon Coontz as well as redshirt freshmen David Johnson and Clifton Murphy.

Four newcomers will be on campus this fall- true freshmen Davion Pierson, Chucky Hunter and Jon Lewis, as well as BYU transfer Tayo Fabuluje. Fabuluje will have to sit out the 2011 season per NCAA transfer rules, and could potentially end up as on O-lineman. The three freshmen all look like tackles and all could contribute right away.

The conversation after the O-line look ahead post was pretty sparse, but just because it can be easy to lose sight of these guys in the trenches doesn't mean you don't have an opinion on the matter. Let me know, in the comments section, what you think about the future (this spring, this fall and beyond) of the D-line at TCU. Who will start alongside Maponga and Yendrey? Will Broughton finally fulfill his massive potential? Which youngster will step up and make an impact? Who's the next superstar?

Morning Dump

Baseball:
Winkler wins MWC honor with arm and bat
Star-Telegram

No. 4 TCU baseball at Baylor
Star-Telegram

TCU hits road for first time, heads to Baylor
GoFrogs.com

Baylor baseball prepares for TCU
KWTX

Rendon, Purke, Cole will battle for POY and No. 1 pick in draft
Sports Illustrated

TCU, Florida, UCLA lead college baseball top 10 in season of change
Sports Illustrated

Basketball:
Frogs make final trip to Utah Tuesday
GoFrogs.com

Alumni:
Who's the greatest-ever No. 33?
USA Today

Monday, February 21, 2011

KU series recap

When you bring back your entire weekend rotation and a majority of your batting order from a team that reached the College World Series, expectations are going to be high. That's why there are probably a few TCU fans out there that are disappointed that the Frogs didn't pull of a sweep of Kansas in the season-opening series at Lupton Stadium.

But you've gotta be impressed with the way things went Friday night and Saturday afternoon, when the Frogs breezed by the Jayhawks. And even on Sunday, when nothing seemed to be going right for TCU, they still had a chance to steal a victory in the bottom of the 14th. Kansas isn't going to be contending for the national championship and heck, they might not even make the tournament. But trust me, they'll hang an L on a few of the top teas in the Big 12 this year.

It's tough to pick an offensive MVP for the weekend, since a number of Frogs had very productive weekends at the plate. If I had to pick one, though, I'd go with Aaron Schultz. The hero of Game 3 of the Super Regional in Austin last year went 5-for-11 over the course of the three games with the Jayhawks, with two doubles and a triple mixed in. He also worked two walks, took a hit-by-pitch to reach base once and was 3-for-3 stealing bases as he came around to score 3 runs.

The pitching MVP for the weekend was not as tough a choice, even though there were also multiple hurlers that impressed in this series. Kyle Winkler, though, had one of the best performances of his career on Saturday. He gave up just one hit in 7 innings of work, striking out 8 while walking none. He also had the go-ahead RBI when he bunted home a run in the 5th inning after the Frogs lost the DH due to Jimmie Pharr (the original DH) subbing in at catcher for Josh Elander, who was hurt diving for a foul ball earlier in the inning.

In the stands, it was a record-shattering weekend. Friday night's attendance of 6,099 was easily the largest in school history, and Saturday (4,401) and Sunday (4,393) are #'s 2 and 3 in Lupton Stadium history. The weekend total of 14,893 is far and away the largest 3-game gate in school history. As impressive as these records are, they might be short-lived with Cal State-Fullerton coming to town this coming weekend.

Morning Dump

Baseball:
TCU's chance to win left on base against Kansas
Star-Telegram

Frogs rally falls short in 4-3 extra inning loss to Kansas
GoFrogs.com

Horned Frogs ace ready for another great year
Fox Sports Southwest

Extreme baseball pays off
Collegiate Baseball

Football:
Pick six: Which quarterback from 2011 draft will prove best
USA Today

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Frogs drop Game 3 in 14 innings

Today was just one of those days for the Frogs, as they dropped Game 3 of their season-opening series, 4-3 in a 14-inning marathon.

It wasn't that they didn't have good pitching: starter Steven Maxwell pitched 6 fairly good innings, and relievers Trent Appleby and Erik Miller kept the Jayhawk hitters at bay (for the most part) as the game stretched on. And it wasn't as though there was no offense: the Frogs out-hit Kansas 11 to 9 and also walked 6 times.

What killed TCU today was the lack of timely hitting. They left an astonishing 18 runners on base, which is the stat to circle on the box score. Give Kansas credit, though, especially Colton Murray with 7 strong innings of relief and Zac Elgie, whose two-out, two-run double on an 0-2 count in the top of the 14th ended up being the game-winner.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Game 2: Winkler does it all

Kyle Winkler has turned in some damn impressive performances in his time at TCU, but his first outing of 2011 might've been his best yet. His seven innings of one-hit, no earned run work powered the Frogs to a 7-1 Game 2 win over Kansas Saturday.

But it wasn't just the 8 K's that Wink registered in 7 innings. In the top of the 5th inning, sophomore catcher Josh Elander made a valiant attempt at catching a foul ball, completely laying out but not quite coming up with the catch. While he was able to finish the inning, Schlossnagle pulled him and put DH Jimmie Pharr in at catcher, which meant that the Frogs had given up the luxury of the designated hitter for the day. In the bottom of the inning, Schloss had a choice- bat his pitcher (who was DEALING at the time) or pull him for a pinch hitter. He elected to bat Winkler, and it paid off- he laid down a perfect bunt on the first pitch he saw, scoring Aaron Schultz from third. The crowd of over 4,400 didn't ignore the offensive contribution of a pitcher, either, as Wink received a standing ovation for his efforts.

From there, it was all pretty simple. Winkler shut down the Frogs for two more innings, and then Erik Miller pitched two perfect innings of relief to hold the Jayhawks to just one hit all afternoon.


Game 1= Record Crowd, Easy W

A school record 6,099 fans watched TCU's season-opening 8-2 win over Kansas last night, a game that was a game that decided pretty quickly when the Frogs scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning.

The incessantly talkative Jayhawk fans sitting right behind me had a lot of nice things to say about TCU and especially Lupton Stadium...at the beginning of the game. But as the Frogs made it a laugher, the KU folks' collective mood changed. Among the things overheard after that:

"It's kind of sad how schools like this put too much emphasis on athletics at the expense of academics"

If you've ever talked basketball with a KU fan, you'll realize how incredibly ironic this is. And you've always gotta love academic smack- TCU's no Harvard, but neither is KU. I know some smart people that went there, but without naming any names I know plenty of examples of the complete opposite.

"This is a lot of fans for the beginning of the game. But I wonder how many of these people even know how long a baseball game lasts"

Haha, right- us yokels from the DFW Metroplex are still so confused by the novelty of this new & confusing sport. Please, enlighten us before you return to uber-cosmopolitan Kansas, oh so worldly Jayhawk fans.

"TCU joining the Big East makes no sense- they must be scared to join the Big 12"

Sigh. I guess jean shorts cloud the mind. It absolutely floors me how many people out there have the same opinion as these folks.

"This is just too warm for February. I feel bad for people that don't really get to experience all four seasons"

I actually laughed out loud at this one. But to my credit, I kept from verbally putting these folks in their place. That might've been a different story if I weren't sitting with my girlfriend. Or if they were Baylor fans.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Almost Over.


After Wednesday's less than inspiring second half effort against Colorado State, the losing streak looks to push on towards double digits when the BYU Cougars and their legion of fans invade Daniel Meyer. The TCU Athletic Department will go on and on about this one being a sell out, etc, but we know better. If you read between the lines of Del Conte's Notes on a Scorecard where lauds the sell out but urges our own fans to show up, it creates a situation of conflicting information.

To be honest though? I'm going to urge our fans NOT to attend this game. Fuck it, what's the point? There's nothing worse than attending a game at your own stadium where the opposing fans outnumber you 10:1. Well, unless that game is Tech back in 2005, of course, but the difference here is that we stand no chance of even keeping this one close. And as much as we all hate hate HATE BYU, why go and watch them slurp Jimmer live and in person? It's just not worth it. I hate fair weather fans as much as anyone, but with the team as bad as they are and the weather literally as fair as it can be in February, go watch Steven Maxwell make his first start of the season just steps away. Count me among those who would rather slide down a hill on cardboard boxes with children rather than watch another meaningless slaughter.

Baseball's Here Part II

A long time Spitblood follower works for Red Productions who have put together a couple videos for the baseball team. The company is employed by 83% TCU grads. Enjoy.


"Do not let our white collar appearance fool you, we are blue collar through and through" ~Schloss

TCU Baseball 2011: Game Highlights from Red Productions on Vimeo.

The Curry Blast will forever give me chills

Baseball's Here

After suffering through seven weeks of an increasingly miserable basketball season since the Rose Bowl, it's finally time for us as Frog fans to take pride in having a Top 5 team again when Jim Schlossnagle's baseball squad hits the diamond tonight for a season-opening series against Kansas. And not just Top 5...TCU is #1 in two of the major polls.

The days of TCU baseball being Fort Worth's best-kept secret are over. Even with 1,000 additional seats being added to Lupton Stadium over the offseason, reserved tickets are sold out for the first six home games against Kansas this weekend and Cal State-Fullerton next. So if you want to check these games out but don't already have tickets, you're gonna be sitting on the grass berm along with the kids who are somehow as entertained by sliding down it on pieces of cardboard as WWHD is in certain kinds of all-hours establishments.

But a #1 ranking and a full house don't mean that a fast start is going to be easy for the Horned Frogs. As David Peterson of HornedFrogSports.com points out, there are plenty of questions facing this team. Tonight against KU, they'll be facing one of the best pitchers they'll see all year in senior T.J. Walz, who was 2nd Team All-Big 12 a year ago and set the tone with a Friday night win in the Jayhawks' series win at LSU. At the time, the Tigers were ranked...#1. The Fullerton series and a midweek road game at Baylor aren't going to be cakewalks, either.

For the hecklers among you heading out to Lupton this weekend, I'm sorry to say I haven't done extensive homework on the KU players and coaches for heckling material. It shouldn't, however, take you more than a brief glance at the roster to latch on to this low-hanging fruit. If you're going to heckle, though, try not to get totally faced like the UT fan yelling at Holaday in the Super Regional last year.

Morning Dump

Football:
TCU's nonconference schedule keeps Frogs close to home
Star-Telegram

TCU announces 2011 nonconference football schedule
GoFrogs.com

Baseball:
First trip to Omaha makes Frogs hungrier
Star-Telegram

TCU baseball position previews
Star-Telegram

Purke and Coats named to Golden Spikes watch list
GoFrogs.com

Baseball television schedule announced
GoFrogs.com

2001 baseball season kicks off Friday
GoFrogs.com



Happy as a Frog: TCU's Purke is armed and ready
AP

TCU, Florida among college baseball teams to watch
AP

New bats mark year of changes for college baseball
AP

TCU's Purke, Rice's Rendon among players to watch
Sports Illustrated

Five locks, five darkhorses for Omaha
Omaha.com

Eager underdogs: After a down year Jayhawks relish diminished expectations
Lawrence Journal World

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lessons in SMU Hate: Toomer's Corner.

Image
Clever Prank? Or Act of War?
Depends on where you're from.

I think one of the more popular things we as TCU fans like to ridicule about SMU is their overwhelming desire to be an SEC school. They created "The Boulevard." They wear ties to games. They do lots of drugs. However, to the trained eye, there are all sorts of flaws to point out in their ambitions, namely the fact that they have little football tradition to speak of, they play in Conference USA, most of the school doesn't care about football, their students are for the mostly from parts unknown, Dallas is the farthest thing from a college town in these here United States and, most importantly, they don't attend their games. When you can't sell out your own stadium, which holds 33,000, for only your second bowl game in 25 years, you're sadder than Vanderbilt.

However, with the recent events transpiring in the football mad state of Alabama, home to the past two NCAA national champions any denizen of America's most racist state will remind you, it appears that perhaps SMU is on their way to football relevancy after all. I have to assume the majority of you are clearly aware of what went down at Toomer's Corner shortly following the Iron Bowl... but I'm going to over-explain it to you anyway:

Auburn and Alabama hate each other. Like, HATE each other. Like, Texas and Oklahoma don't like each other, and Ohio State and Michigan look down their noses one to the other... but seriously, Auburn and Alabama HATE each other. OU, UT, OSU and Michigan fans have other things to focus on, like a future after college and personal hygiene. Auburn and Bama fans have nothing to aspire to other than to return to the swamps from which they came and call Paul Finebaum's radio show every afternoon in the middle of their 4th heart attack<------ ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!!!!!

So Auburn beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa this year in one of the more schizophrenic games of the season and elevated Cam Newton from, "That asshole Auburn paid to deliver them a championship who is going to fall hilariously short against Alabama and make the money all for naught" to "That asshole who Auburn paid to deliver them a championship who is actually going to fucking do it and WHY GOD WHY?!?!" And while Alabama, in the big scheme of things had little to play for, the fact that their second half collapse opened the door for their most hated rival and little brother to play for a National Championship arguably stung worse than losing out on the title game themselves. In a normal situation, the fans would let the loss fester for a few days and move on. But Alabama is no collection of normal human beings.

Fast forward to this week in Tuscaloosa:


Look familiar? Well it should, because it's the exact same rye grass tactic implemented by the SMU band back in 2000 that left Amon G looking as it did above. If you can't read it, or if the entire image doesn't show up, that's the score of the Iron Bowl, won by Auburn 28-27, in off color grass form somewhere on the campus at Alabama.

To be honest, and it may have been different had I been in school then, but I thought the whole SMU prank was actually pretty clever. Yes, I guess it's a bit of a black eye, and it's annoying as all hell to remove those bits of grass from the stadium, but that's a job for the physical plant and doesn't concern me. But, from what I can tell, everyone recognized the humor of the situation and pretty much let it go. After all, we DID win the game... and 10 of the next 11 after that.

But, therein lies the difference between the Metroplex and the Dirty South, because Alabama fan Harvey Almorn, apparently using his clairvoyance to forsee herbological events of this week, took it upon himself to travel to Auburn following the Iron Bowl and handle the situation himself at Auburn's holiest of sites, Toomer's Corner. Again, for the dummies, Toomer's Corner is a pharmacy in Auburn with some very old, sprawling trees that Auburn fans roll with TP following a victory. It's a silly tradition, but it's a tradition nonetheless and one that they are proud of. So what better way to hit your rival where they hurt? Piss on their traditions... except in this case the pee was terroristic quantities of herbicide.

Yep, Harvey Almorn KILLED THE DAMNED TREES!!!!

That's pretty epic. It may sound dumb, but you have to understand - Toomer's Corner is Auburn's little slice of aggy. This would be akin to a Tech fan going to College Station and getting his necrophilia on with the corpses of all the departed Revelie's... which I wouldn't put past any of that kind. Almorn is now all sorts of locked up while a team of horticulturists work around the clock to try and save the trees, a fight that looks to be not going so well. Meantime, Auburn fans have been holding around the clock vigils at the Corner, the police have been called in to guard all of the pertinent Bear Bryant related landmarks in Tuscaloosa, and one of the best rivalries in the country adds another glamorous chapter

Keep in mind - Alabama WON THE TITLE LAST YEAR!!! It's not like Auburn took the Tide's one chance away from them - they have one of the best coaches in the country, a top recruiting class, and will be a favorite for the 2011 title. Meantime, Auburn spent all of their money on this year's championship and will quickly fade back into also ran status in their own division. Alabama, despite being under said championship halo, CLEARLY has the upper hand in this rivalry going forward. Everyone is due an off year... and even in that off year they finished 9-3 and beat the ever loving piss out of a top 10 team in their bowl game. The molding hasn't even dried on Saban's statue. This type of irrational hate, despite the sunny outlook going forward, is noted and applauded.

Regardless, once they stop laughing at the childishly awesome nature of what happened, the major media pundits are going to get on their high horses, lambast the idiocy of the typical SEC fan like they always do, and hippies from all over the world will start populating the trees in Opelika County to avoid any further herbicide. Personally? I hate trees. As a homeowner, I've come to find out that, despite their giving of shade and, supposedly, making the air breathable for us humans, they're financial burdens and tend to fall on your neighbor's which causes tension and results in extortion from your local "arborist" to clean the SOB up. But, I can appreciate Auburn's outrage as well - if some SMU fan came to Fort Worth and made the Oui, my personal favorite TCU landmark and post game tradition uninhabitable, I'd be up in arms as well, regardless of how menial the act would be in the grand scheme of things. To be fair, the Oui still hasn't added the Pogues to their jukebox, which is inviting all sorts of bad karma its direction.

So what does this really have to do with SMU hate? Well, isn't it plain to see? They're the real culprits here! If their band doesn't come to Fort Worth and drop rye grass on the field, then a decade later an Auburn fan might not have the inspiration to do the same thing to Alabama's yard! And then the trees would still be alive. And if SMU hadn't inspired such a future act, perhaps Cam Newton never comes to Auburn and TCU plays and wins the National Championship this year! Don't you see, SMU is really just a shadow organization playing God with the rest of the college football universe! They traded their souls to the devil for football success in the 1980s - wouldn't it make sense that ol' Beezlebub himself would develop an affinity for the Ponies over the next 30 years? And that he would come to despise TCU's success, thus plotting our eventual letdown despite having a perfect season and the perfect team to destroy Oregon in a championship setting? Where do you think June Jones' gets his coaching prowess? Why do you think SMU is signing recruits away from Southern California? Why do you think all of those kids have died of drug overdoses? Because their school President is the devil with an R. Gerald Turner dress on! As a non-BCS school, the Ponies exclaim death to the BCS and all of that nonsense, when in reality they're the reason for the failure of the system! You think Craig James would've come to Dallas without an arrangement with the Prince of Darkness mirroring the one he later carried on with Saddam Hussein? Please.

All that's to say, by planting those seeds back in 1990, SMU paved the way for college football's corruption, culminating in a player who openly solicited his recruitment winning a national championship and a bunch of old trees dying. When the college football establishment burns to the ground and Yao Padron is there dancing on the ashes, don't say I didn't warn you.

And that's today's lesson in SMU hate.