Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spit Blood Tourney

Champs along with last years.

Second Place

Dead Ass Last, Repeat Offenders.

Closet to the Pin.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Spit Blood Predictions: The 2011 Season

Believe it or not, the offseason is nearing it's end. The Baylor game is 35 days away, but the players will be starting practice next week. We've still got a few of our inventory posts to go, but since it's Friday* I figured we'd roll out one of our usual end-of-week features from past falls. It's time for you, the half-dozen or so people that read Spit Blood, to go on the record and register your predictions for the upcoming season. In the comments section, let us know what you think the Frogs' record will be, who any potential losses will come against, what bowl game TCU will play in (and against who). If you're really feeling adventurous, throw in one more wild-card prediction for the season.

*-Hahahaha, you thought you were done with that, didn't you?

Morning Dump

New year, new home Dave Campbell's Texas Football

-old news, I know but here are some newer pictures

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guest Blogger: TechTard Stat Hate Edition

With Texas Tech's football vagina resurfacing in the news again, our friend Rotten Arsenal had a chance to develop some Tech hate in the form of stats. Enjoy this deprecating spew of numbers that further proves Texas Tech's irrelevance in the football world.

Okay, so we’re all up to speed on Texas Tech bailing on their scheduled game with TCU in Fort Worth for the 2011 season, right? And, despite what the TechTards want to claim, TCU did not initiate the cancellation of last year’s game in Lubbock, as Angry Trey shows us in fine detail.

So, this post is not so much directly aimed at the current events as it is a Historical Stat Hate Post – Texas Tech Edition.

Of all the idiot fans we’ve dealt with lately due to our recent national exposure, there are some that really stand out. Almost any Big Ten School fan is wonderfully arrogant about their undeserved status as a power, but they can be somewhat forgiven because “they ain’t from around here” and their little brains do well to remember where they live. They can’t be expected to know much about Texas Football.
And the SEC… arrogant as hell, but it’s a little harder to deny them since they seem to have a stranglehold on the Post Season #1 ranking of late.

Then you get to our state brethren… the UT, A&M, Baylor, SMU, and Tech. These guys are all horrifically bad. But UT at least has a recent history of success, A&M and SMU do have National Championships in their trophy cases, and even Baylor has got a long historical tradition of something resembling relevance (at least pre-Big 12). So as stupid as their fanbases can be, they at least have SOMETHING to base their ludicrous egos on.

But then you have Texas Tech… and they have… absolutely nothing. Jack Shit. Fuck All.

Texas Tech Started playing in 1925, almost 30 years after TCU and 10 years after SMU. Only Houston of the old SWC has a younger program than Tech. They are the youngest member of the Big 12-2. They started out as an Independent and then in 1932 joined something called the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association. There they faced teams like Arizona, Arizona State Teachers’-Flagstaff (Northern Arizona), Arizona State Teachers’-Tempe (Arizona State), University of New Mexico, New Mexico A&M (New Mexico State), Texas Mines (UTEP), Hardin-Simmons, and West Texas Teachers (West Texas A&M). They then spent 3 years as an independent again before joining the SWC in 1960.

Now, while Tech had success in the Border Collie Whatever Conference (8 outright championships, 1 co-championship), they have been almost completely irrelevant ever since. In fact, since joining a real conference, Tech has just 3 CO-Championships. That’s right… they have shared a conference title 3 times in the last FIFTY years and have no outright championships. None.

They were SWC Co-Champs in 1976 with Houston (although Houston beat them head to head that year) and again in 1994 when they shared it with EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE SWC except Houston and SMU. A&M had the best record but had to forfeit the title because of NCAA sanctions, so 5 teams with 4-3 conference records shared the title. It should be noted that TCU beat them that year.

And the Big12 hasn’t been any better. They had that one co-championship for the South Division in 2008 that they “shared” with OU and UT.
So, in the last 50 years, they have not only been the definition of mediocre, they don’t even have a significant co-championship claim.

Overall win percentage, Tech is an above average .564 with 519 wins in 949 attempts (TCU is .529, 580 wins in 1150 games) and on the surface, it would seem that Tech has a little bit of bragging rights there. Of course, this record is largely due to their incredible ability to be mediocre. In 85 seasons, they have 6 seasons in which they won at least 10 games (TCU, over that same period, has 11).
Head to head, Tech has the series going 28-23-3 against the Frogs, although it should be noted that 18 of those wins came during the incredibly awful 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Tech came into the SWC at the right time essentially. Right when the bigger schools started to become juggernauts and the smaller schools struggled to compete, Tech came into a conference rich in tradition and beat the poor schools and lost to the rich schools. Pretty much what it has always done.

How have they done against other Texas schools? Well, they are 36-32-1 against Baylor (which looks decent now, but before the current 15 game Big12 win streak, they were a pitiful 21-32-1), 11-18-1 vs Houston, 15-45 vs Texas, 32-36 vs Aggie, 32-16 vs SMU, and 27-20 vs Rice. So again, Tech has a long history of beating the not so good teams and losing to the better teams. Mediocre.

Bowl record: 85 seasons, 34 bowl appearances, 12 wins and 1 tie.

Against other Conferences, Tech looks remarkably similar to TCU. Both have losing records all-time against current Big12 teams (.415 for TCU, .474 for TT) and big winning records against current MWC teams ( TCU=.721, TT=.677). Other conferences are about equal as well. So, despite a massive number of terrible seasons for TCU, Tech and TCU’s overall winning percentages are roughly similar. See, it all evens out. TCU had some great seasons and some horrible seasons to be about a .500 historical team. Tech just had nothing but mediocrity.

And then there’s rankings… the highest Tech has ever finished the season in the AP is 11 (1938 and 1973). They’ve finished in the Top 20 3 times in the last 20 years (18(2004), 20(2005), and 12(2008)). In their history, they have ended the season ranked in the AP 11 times (TCU=16).

And as far as history and legacy go, Tech fans just have absolutely nothing to brag about. There are no National Championships, no Heisman winners, no major college football awards named after former players, and no NFL Hall of Famers. TCU, however, does have all of those things.

So, looking at it knowing Tech’s history, the decision to cancel the game against TCU in 2011 just seems to be part of Tech’s goal… to achieve mediocrity. Why play a possibly notable game when you can play other non-attention grabbing teams.
Tech fans really should step back, look at what they have “achieved” and contemplate whether they actually have anything to really be proud of… but they won’t because rational thought is not in the Tech Toolbox.

Taking Inventory: Safeties

Because they each have so much on-field responsibility and because there are three of them in a 4-2-5 defense, safety is the most important position for the TCU football team. Unfortunately, it's also one of the positions that was hardest hit by graduation. All-American Tejay Johnson, NFL draftee Colin Jones, Alex Ibiloye and super walk-on Tyler Lutrell all exhausted their eligibility at the end of the 2010 season, and up & coming star Jurrell Thompson was dismissed from the team after repeated rules violations.

One of the signs of a healthy football program is seniors stepping up year after year. Filling the leadership void in the defensive secondary this fall will be seniors Tekerrein Cuba and Johnny Fobbs. Cuba is by far the most experience returning safety, having started nine games in three years- including six in 2010 when he was fifth on the team in tackles. He'll handle starting duties at weak safety this fall. Fobbs is pencilled in as the starter at free safety, where he'll be replacing Johnson as the QB of the defense. He's played sparingly in 32 games over his first three years, but being able to watch Tejay all those years will likely pay off in his understanding of the game.

That's where the experience runs out- but luckily, not the talent. At strong safety, sophomore Trent Thomas- who played in just three games last year- is currently #1 on the depth chart. Pushing him for that job is redshirt freshman Sam Carter, a sensational athlete who spent last year as a quarterback.

Both of the senior starters will have very capable young backups. Sophomore Elisha Olabode will be Fobbs' understudy at free safety after playing cornerback last year as a true freshman. Hard-hitting redshirt freshman Jonathan Anderson, whom the coaches have apparently raved about since the minute he stepped foot on campus, will back up Cuba at weak safety.

Junior Chris Scott, who came to TCU as a highly-regarded recruit but has had injury problems in his first few years, could contribute if he can stay healthy. Along with him, a group of walk-ons (most notably former Aledo star Danny Heiss and former Kansas Mr. Football and converted QB Rick Settle) will attempt to hold off a talented bunch of true freshmen who will no doubt be looking to get on the field straight away:

-Chris Hackett, a ball-hawker who picked off 12 passes, broke up 12 more and forced 4 fumbles on his way to and Parade Magazine All-American honors as a senior at Tyler John Tyler.

-Jamie Byrd, a hard-hitter from Florida who led his team in tackles two years in a row and spurned Boise State to come to TCU.

-Quincy Aldridge, who has NFL and MLB athletes in his immediate family and lettered four times at Whitehouse HS (Luke Shivers' alma mater). Turned down Notre Dame to come to TCU.

-James Bailey, a local kid who did just about everything at Everman HS. He had scholarship offers from Big 12 and Pac 10 teams, and once he focuses on one position he'll do well quickly.

How do you see things shaking out at safety for the Frogs this year? Will the current starting lineup of Cuba, Fobbs and Thomas indeed be the starting trio against Baylor...and what about at the end of the year? Which of the younger guys on the two-deep will make the biggest impact this year? Who's the next NFL prospect safety from TCU? Which of the true freshmen (if any) will play this fall?

Morning Dump

Making plays keeps TCU's Carder on right track Star-Telegram

Craig Thompson gets all Freudian up in this bitch Star-Telegram

MWC Media Days wrap up ESPN

Chris Del Conte's Notes on a Scorecard
-Season ticket sales up to 19,800

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boise Can't Have Their Cake and Eat it Too...

Not. Gonna. Happen.

...and they sure are butt hurt about it. For those who missed it, the MWC ruled that Boise can't wear their blue pants and blue jerseys at the same time during any MWC home games this year, meaning the tackiest jersey combination east of Oregon will cease to exist in college football. This came as somewhat of a shock to me, since the MWC and Craig Thompson have pretty much coddled Boise State since their entrance to the conference has been announced, and they have given the middle finger to TCU in most regards since their plans to leave were announced. I personally don't think this makes jack shit of a difference as to how the games are played, but it's great to see how up in arms all the potato farmers have gotten over the fact that they cant wear their blue on blue on a synthetic blue field which is painted exactly to match their jerseys. So, to all the Boise fans bitching and moaning about having to alter your wardrobe at home games, I say to you this- quit crying and get the fuck over it.

Look, your field is probably the tackiest, most amateur gimmick in all of college football. Actually, remove the word "probably" from that previous sentence, because nothing even comes close. Georgia has between the hedges, OU has that nerdy band leader sprint out hat routine (whatever the fuck you wanna call it), Ohio State dots the "i", Aggies play dress up and praise male cheerleaders. Lots of teams have their "thing" that is seen as tradition and even somewhat cool in some circles, but there's no tradition in a school having a fake blue field, especially when you've been D1, FBS, or whatever the hell it's called since the G.W. Bush administration. The fact that the MWC is letting you keep that bitch slap to the face of college athletics and not making you strip it and put in something that resembles grass should make you happy. Quit crying like children because you cant wear blue on blue on blue for conference home games. You already got a home game that shouldn't be yours, so it won't kill you to throw some white pants on or, God forbid, put on a potentially even tackier combination of highlighter orange on orange when TCU rolls to town in November.

Wear this. It's just as ugly, I promise.

Chris Petersen, who I've generally respected as a coach over the years, despite the miss-spelling of Peterson, had this to say on the topic-

“I thought it was ridiculous,” Petersen said. “… That’s our colors. That’s who we are. That’s who our fans have wanted us to be since I’ve been at Boise State. That’s what it’s been through and through.”

Funny you should say that, coach, because I'm pretty sure if grass could talk, it would echo the same sentiments about Boise State when they decided to lather some blue spray paint over a perfectly fine field turf. I imagine it would read something like this:

When asked what Grass thought about the synthetic blue surface Boise State has installed on the football field, Grass said "I thought it was ridiculous. Green is our color. That's who we are. That's what our fans have wanted since I've been on this Earth. That's what it's been through and through. Oh, and who or what the fuck is a Boise State?"

That's right, coach, before you get upset at the fact that we are making you change JERSEYS, remember that your school has decided to change GRASS. Also, plenty of Boise fans are now crying about how teams that wear green get to wear green on their green fields. Spoiler alert, dumb shits, grass is GREEN, so those teams that decided years ago to have green jerseys just gained themselves a competitive advantage. Also, I don't see any green teams designing their field turf to mimic their uniform colors. The only 2 teams in the world doing that are you and Eastern Washington and their bright red abomination field. Eastern Washington. You guys want to be uttered in the same breath as Eastern Washington? Shouldn't you be trying to get past that stigma as a gimmick program by now? You're so close.

If you're not ready to get rid of the blue field, let's start with baby steps. How about getting rid of the track around your field? There isn't much that screams FCS more than a track around your field. Well, except maybe a blue field. You're a big boy team now, so maybe your appearance should reflect that. I know I didn't wear "Football is Life, The Rest is Just Details" shirts, Umbro shorts, and black Nike socks to high school. I knew better, because I didn't want to look like a fucking idiot.

Consider what the MWC is doing to you to be a blessing. Just wear some hideous combination of blue and orange and go on beating nobodies at home until TCU shows up. Seriously, during this illustrious win streak, what home wins can you hang your hat on? Oregon? That's it. You'll have a chance to validate yourselves this year, so you better capitalize, because to an outsider that streak looks pretty unimpressive. Like I said, that field is no help, but playing a bunch of cupcakes is the real reason you don't lose there. I just hate the field because it's tacky and an offense to football and grass alike. They should've told you to rip up that eyesore and put in some real grass or green field turf and start acting like you belong. When you were an up and comer, flooding my ESPN weeknight games, I would adjust the picture on my TV every time I saw you because I thought, surely nobody is tacky enough to have a blue football field. I was wrong. Now grow up, get rid of it, and play football like the grown ups do.

I realized this started as a post about their incessant bitching of having to wear different jerseys on their home field, but let's face it: when discussing Boise, especially at home, the hate always turns back to how awful that field is. Maybe if their kicker had been staring down at green grass when practicing his kicks every day, it wouldn't have mind fucked him so hard when he looked down and saw green at Nevada.

Deja Vu?

Given the football related foliage currently littering the sporting landscape, by all logic I should feel pretty good right now. I should feel good about the NFL lockout coming to the most anticlimactic of ends. I should feel good about free agency beginning yesterday. I should feel good about training camps beginning today. I should feel even better about college football teams reporting for two-a-days in mere weeks. And I should be over the moon that we are quickly approaching the 30 day mark for the first Frogs game. The fact that we're getting our first helping a day earlier than 99% of the college football world has not gone overlooked, either.

But I don't feel good. At all.

Now, by nature, I'm a bit of a pessimistic fan. This is not to be confused with fair weather because I always support my teams until the end, but, for example, I gave up on the Mavericks at least 87 times over the course of the playoffs and, despite the ring, trophy and parade, I'm still not sure I've entirely let my guard down. It's my nature and I've learned to accept it and, fortunately, a lot of times my negative hunches are incorrect.

But there's a thought that has been in the back of my mind the past few months that I absolutely cannot shake. I want to, but I just can't. It's already clouded my desire to attend the Baylor game in person by making me feel like I'd be far more comfortable curled up on my couch, alone, in the dark, with a half empty bottle of Jameson.

I wish it weren't true, but here it is - The 2011 TCU Football team, at least on paper, looks eerily similiar to the 2011 TCU Baseball team. And that is a terrible, terrible thing.

It's an apples to oranges comparison, yes, but the more I think about the inner-connectivity, the more I connect the individual dots, the more glum my outlook on this season becomes. Consider the base similarities:
  • The TCU Baseball team was coming off their greatest season ever, a run to third place in the College World Series. The TCU Football team will be coming off of, arguably, their greatest season ever with a Rose Bowl victory and a final ranking of #2 in the nation.
  • TCU's Baseball team was stocked with multiple highly ranked recruiting classes and could not capitalize on their talent advantage. TCU's Football team will just now begin to see the benefits of recent multiple highly ranked recruiting classes and if they can capitalize.
  • On paper, the 2011 TCU Baseball team looked better than the 2010 version, despite losing their unquestioned leader. Ok, so saying the same thing about this year's football team compared to last would be a stretch, but you can't deny that they have the talent, despite losing their unquestioned leaders on BOTH sides of the ball.
  • The TCU Baseball team had two consecutive unprecedented years followed by a setback. The TCU Football team has had two consecutive unprecedented years...
All of those things scare me, however I think the second one is what scares me the most, and it directly correlates to the first, which directly correlates to the third, which basically makes having four bullet points kind of superfluous. Hey, it's a slow day and we needed to fill some space.

Recently I was asked what I was most excited about this upcoming season and, without much hesitation, I said seeing how the newest version of a Gary Patterson TCU team is going to look. Gary will always find the hidden gems other teams overlook and turn them into defensive superstars, but now that he is able to sign big name recruits, how will he handle the outsized personalities that accompany the majority of them? Will they be able to swallow their pride and accept a position change if he demands it? Will they be able to ride the bench until they earn a spot, something most of them have never had to do in their lives? I have no doubt that if anyone is ready for this challenge it is Gary Patterson, but I think we all have to be a little wary of the future.

Think back to this baseball season. Yes, injuries to the weekend rotation were essentially what torpedoed this team late in the season. Yes, losing your closer before the season even began was a cruel twist of fate. But I think we're fooling ourselves if we try and suggest the loss the loss and subsequent inability to find a replacement for Bryan Holaday wasn't as big as either of those things. Or bigger. And I'm not talking about his bat - although, admittedly, it was very missed - I'm talking about his presence in the locker room.

I don't know the personalities of the TCU Baseball team the same way I know - or at least think I know - a lot of the ones on the Football team. But, it was pretty evident that when the going got tough for those guys this spring and summer, the tough never got going. You need a guy a like Holaday - a guy I once gushed, in a hyperbolic moment, as being the greatest leader of a TCU sports team ever - to grab everyone by the balls and tell them to grow the fuck up. That guy seemingly never developed this year, and you saw the end result.

Patterson always uses the term paper tigers, and that pretty much aptly describes last year's baseball team. They were #1 on paper to begin the season and never truly played like it. Like I said, I'm not dismissing what happened on the injury front, but that doesn't explain what happened on offense. Even with someone with the courage of Swift Boat Captain John Kerry as their leader, a team with that much ability should never lose to an elimination game at home to an Oral Roberts team they had blasted twice in the same season in the same stadium. Especially when perennial sail-deflator Oklahoma was bounced from the tournament already and all that stood between you and the World Series was Dallas Baptist and an upstart and overrated Cal team who would be coming to your house. I'm not saying that if someone had stepped up to fill that leadership role we'd be on the crest of celebrating a World Series Championship right now, but I do think we'd be looking back on the season with a much different attitude.

I've already covered the topic of Casey, the Creator in an earlier post and I have no desire to do that again. But it begs the question - is he going to be the leader that his predecessor was? Patterson said it himself at the Coaches' Dinner that the QB HAS to be the one to take the reins of an inexperienced team and mold them to his personality. It's a huge load to place on his shoulders. Will he do it?

And think about on defense - losing Tejay Johnson could be an even bigger loss than Dalton in that department. Tejay, apart from having next level ability, was the coach on the field, the guy who whipped everyone into shape and channeled focus. More importantly though, he was the unquestioned leader on that side of the ball and, given his clear overload of character, a guy who everyone did and wanted to look up to. Who is going to be that guy this year? Tank Carder should do fine up front, but in the secondary, who is going to be that guy? If it's not Greg McCoy, Johnny Fobbs or Tekkerin Cuba it's going to have to be someone with very few snaps under their belt, which could turn problematic if this team has any lingering ego issues come September.

Basically, the biggest theme running through what I'm trying to get across is that, will the new generation of Gary Patterson Fuckstompers have a sense of entitlement like the baseball team may have had last year? Coming off of a College World Series where they were the adopted home team, and then getting all of the pre-season hype, may have worked its way into the fabric of the team a little bit. All we kept hearing was, "If we can just get to Regionals..." which is the sign of a team who may have bought into their clippings somewhat and believed their rightful place was back in the CWS. They weren't ranked #1 heading into the year as a shot in the dark, a lot of people truly believed it, including all of us. I'm afraid they may have believed it a little too much as well.

The football team isn't going to be mentioned in many unbiased National Title discussions, but they are going to be ranked in the top 15 when the polls are released. Some of the guys probably have a hard time remembering TCU before the 2008 season, and I'd be willing to bet no more than you can count on one hand could tell you much about what went on in the interim between Baugh and Patterson. So, yes, they'd be forgiven for believing this is how it always is and will be at TCU. But, of course, therein lies the danger because what happens when this young team inevitably loses their first game? Will they fall apart and start pointing fingers? Or will they, like the Dalton/Tejay teams before them, be able to view the season on a game by game basis and take it one step at a time? Patterson has always been one of the best at weeding out the caustic personalities on a team, but I bet he'd admit he's had help in the locker room along the way. Let's hope a positive influence surfaces sooner rather than later.

Geez, between this and my UT post from last week, I've been a bit of a wet blanket lately, and for that I apologize. This genuinely has nothing to do with the infamous Casey Pachall Party Boy pictures because, my goodness, if flash photography made a Facebook page when we were in college we would've all been TOTALLY outed for the hooligans that we were. But I've just been thinking about these, admittedly, broad similarities throughout the off season and, combined with the general negative fan outlook, this has me extremely nervous about the first two weeks of next year. Feel free to talk me off the ledge in the comments. I'm begging you.

Scouting the 2011 opponents: Air Force

Two years ago, Air Force nearly de-railed TCU's undefeated run to the Fiesta Bowl when they came within an onside kick of completing a miraculous comeback before finally falling to the Frogs, 20-17, in frigid conditions in Colorado Springs. Two years before that, the Falcons beat the Frogs by that same 20-17 margin in a Thursday night game also in Colorado Springs. The point is, Air Force plays TCU very tough at home, and the Frogs will have their hands full on their trip to play the Falcons in Week 2.

On offense, Air Force returns three starters on the line that will power their ultra-dangerous triple-option attack- led by senior quarterback Tim Jefferson and senior tailback Asher Clark. Fullback is a vital position in their scheme, and departed star Jared Tew will be replaced by junior Wesley Cobb- but also keep an eye on true freshman Tyrone Sauls.

Any team that runs the ball so much on offense has to be strong defensively, and the Falcons are just that. They return eight starters from a unit that allowed the fewest points in the MWC a year ago and the fourth-fewest yards. All three starting linebackers are back, and all three are seniors. Jordan Waiwaiole is in the middle, and led the team with 96 tackles last year.

Dave Campbell's Texas Football picked the Frogs to finish the regular season 10-2, with the trip to Colorado Springs as one of those two L's. How do you feel about the Frogs' September 10th conference opener? Is it one of the games causing you some concern going into the season, or do you see the Frogs breaking the recent trend of razor-close games against Air Force on the road?

Morning Dump


Josh Boyce Star-Telegram

Tank Carder Star-Telegram

Coach Patterson Star-Telegram

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Frosch and Griffin sign deals

Two more Frogs have been picked up on this busy first day of NFL business. Evan Frosch a reliable three year starter at tight end has reportedly inked a deal with the Cleveland Browns. While NT Kelly Griffin who missed 8 games due to injury as a senior after coming off an outstanding junior year has signed on with the San Diego Chargers. If my math is correct that brings our total to 12.

Tommy Tuberville, The Only Honest Man in Lubbock.

Ears. He's Got 'Em.

For those of you who have not been following, Big 12-2 Meedja Days are going on this week in Dallas. You may have missed it in-between Mack Brown trying to somehow smoke screen everyone into thinking the Longhorn Network could actually be a disadvantage for the Horns and Robert Griffin launching his Heisman Campaign..

Sorry, I was laughing too hard and had to take a break.

But anyway - in between that, Tommy Tuberville said exactly what everyone outside of Lubbock, Texas knew to be true but would never admit. The actual context of what he said is somewhat under dispute, so I will post verbatim what I have seen to be the most accurate depiction:

- "...But the thing about it is we had four nonconference teams scheduled. And because the new conference realignment, one had to go."

-"That's really probably not the type of team we want to play right now. Not that we didn't want to play them. It was obvious that we had somebody had to go in that slot where they were at, you know, pretty much fit what we needed to do.'

- "If they had been in another slot maybe in one of the other non-conference positions, we would have still been playing that game. But somebody had to go. And, again, hopefully we can play -- I think that's a natural game for us. I think we need to play that game. I think it needs to be a home and home game, and I think that it would help both Gary and us to play each year."
Now, I've seen probably 3-4 different takes on this story and each one deconstructs the quote to their liking in order to meet their ends, including Mac Engel who asked the question that prompted the response in the first place. But, all the same, the sentence I bolded above is common to all of them and sticks out above all the rest.

Of course, Tech fans are completely up in arms about this and twisting the meaning of the printed word to make it seem like Tuberville REALLY meant to say they only dropped us because of scheduling. Which is partially true... until you go back and read his DIRECT QUOTE of "THAT'S REALLY PROBABLY NOT THE TYPE OF TEAM WE WANT TO PLAY RIGHT NOW" and it kind of kicks all of those arguments out the window. If he really wanted to keep us on the schedule, he would've tried much harder to make it work.

The whole Tech/TCU scheduling SNAFU of the past two years has created more of a rivalry between our two fan bases than any actual game ever could, and if we choose to have any of their ilk in our lives and choose to coexist with them, we will simply have to agree to disagree. Just a few minutes ago I became indirectly embroiled in an internet cat fight with a Tech fan who I am unfamiliar with, and to take what he said and completely overgeneralize that his attitude reflects that of every Tech fan alive, here is what happened. Basically, his three "shots" at TCU were as follows:

  1. Tech had better attendance than TCU did last year, even though Tech had a down year and TCU had their "best season ever." Therefore, Tech is better.
  2. TCU are bitches because they "backed down" from a rematch with Wisconsin.
  3. TCU torpedoed the game last year because we were afraid to play Oregon State AND Tech in the same season.
My reponses...

1. You're comparing a school with, what, 40000 students at least to a school with 8000 when it comes to attendance? Our stadiums are not comparable in size, with Tech being maybe 10000 bigger, so we will clearly never bridge that gap even if we sell out every game. That's logic. We averaged over 40,000 per game last year... which is about the same number of living alumni the school has. So, I'd say that's pretty positive thing. I realize you're solely citing the 2006 game where Tech fans outnumbered ours 2:1, but things have changed pretty significantly since then. It would be a much, much different story if you guys would come back and play us. And for my money the biggest overall difference is Tech has a natural fan base that covers pretty much everything west of FW, TCU is stuck in UT/aggy/Tech/OU territory which makes it difficult to draw casual fans. We finally bridged that gap last year and I don't see why it would change. Season tickets have reached record numbers the past few years and when our new stadium opens I'd expect few empty seats. And if we're mocking "greatest season ever" I'll take our Rose Bowl year over Tech's 11-2 Cotton Bowl loss to Ole Miss ye

2. Because our dicks are bigger than theirs since we beat them head to head. They wanted a one off game in Madison without a return. The loser does not get to dictate the terms. And with what we've accomplished under Patterson, we're at the level that we do not need to play one off games. OU is giving us a return game. LSU is giving us a return game. Arkansas is giving us a return game. The only team that hasn't done that in recent memory is Texas, and I don't think we'd settle for that ever again, nor would they ask us to be on their schedule. Same reason you guys use for skipping the game this year, according to your info below.

3. This argument is completely he said/she said and we're going to disagree until the end of time. SO let's do this chronologically

Nov 11, 2009 - tech site announces the schedule, leaving off TCU

December 15, 2009 - Oregon paper rumoring the game... so it had not been settled quite yet. That's a month later and there was no contract.

So, at best, Tech got a chance to move the UT game to national television and TCU had the chance to play a national game at Jerry World and both teams agreed to drop the game. At worst, Tech back out and TCU filled the hole with ESPN's help as they had been the ones to cause the game to be cancelled in the first place. I suppose we will agree to disagree on this one.

So I like to think I handled myself with dignity there, no? But seriously, this argument is so worthless because neither side is ever going to admit that the other was in the right. Tuberville tried to cover his tracks a little, and I am sure if he could go back he would completely reword his response. But that's the thing - he DID say it. And when you consider that Tommy comes from the vaunted SEC school of out of conference scheduling, he's a natural fit in Lubbock where they share similar ideas on out of conference play. I'm not suggesting that TCU doesn't toss in a few cupcakes now and then, but the last time Tech actually took a chance out of Conference was when they played us... in 2006. In the 5 years since, they played or will play: SMU and New Mexico thrice, Rice, Nevada, Houston and New Mexico Twice, and then a smattering of UTEP, Northwestern State, Eastern Washington, UMASS, North Dakota, Weber State, Texas State. That's 0 BCS teams, two, at the time they played them, bottom feeding CUSA teams, Non-Boise destroying Nevada teams, the worst MWC team and perhaps worst college football team in the nation and seis Division II schools. The only game they lost was against Houston, but you'll recall that Houston came on a LOT stronger that year than anyone expected. So I'm doubting Tech scheduled Cougar High as a challenge. Not exactly a murderers row of non-con scheduling. So the fact that they say WE were scared is kind of laughable, especially when you consider that, in that same time frame, we have played 10 of those teams and beaten all but 2 of them.

If Tuberville means it, I really hope he does push for a regular series with the Frogs a couple of times a decade. I mean, he won't do it, but it'd be nice if he did. But until then, let the Techies have their fun and toot the horn of being in a Conference they've never won. Meantime, we'll fondle our Conference and Bowl rings and look forward to our upcoming decade of dominance in the East Coast spotlight. Guns up.

A little Clarification

As most readers know by now, if you are any sort of TCU fan, Tech backed out on TCU for their scheduled game during this upcoming season. The initial reasoning from Tech was "we have to work around the new conference realignment", which I for one called total BS on. They decided to cancel our game but stay with the Texas State and New Mexico games, which screamed cowards. Now, old coach Tuberville is backing off that excuse and basically said what Mack Brown doesn't have the balls to say, "We're scared to play them." Thank you coach Tubs for putting a smile on my face today and saying what all of your counterparts didn't want to admit to in the past. Here is the link to the story on ESPN Dallas.

Taking Inventory: Cornerbacks

When you watch the 4-2-5 defense in action, you see that a lot of the time linebackers end up doing some of the work of the safeties and safeties end up doing some of the work of the linebackers. It's that kind of collaboration of talent that sometimes makes it seem as if the Frogs have 12 or 13 defenders on the field at any given time. That's not really the case with the cornerbacks, however, who are often left "out on an island" (if I may borrow some coaching jargon) to fend for themselves. Because of the tough demands the system puts on the corners and TCU's relative lack of depth at the position over the years, corner has often been near the top of the annual list of question marks for the team. But this year, even after losing a starter (Jason Teague- to graduation) and a backup (Elisha Olabode- who moved to safety), the Frogs do have a solid group of corners heading into the fall.

Senior Greg McCoy is the oldest and most experienced of the Horned Frog corners, having started all 13 games a year ago and 15 for his career. He did get beat a few times early in the season, but rebounded to post 10 tackles, pick off two passes and break up four more. Being that he is one of the fastest players on the team, even if he does get beat at first he's shown that he can close on the receiver while the ball is in the air.

Starting opposite McCoy will likely be one of a pair of sophomores- Travaras Battle or Jason Verrett. Battle played in all 13 games last year as a true freshman out of San Antonio's John Jay High School, recording 18 tackles and forcing a fumble. His most memorable play of the year might've been in the Rose Bowl, when he downed an Anson Kelton punt inside the five while serving on special teams. Verrett is a JUCO transfer that illustrated his dedication to the game by taking the rare step of redshirting while at Santa Rosa JC in order to learn the cornerback position after having originally been planning on playing receiver. He was able to enroll at TCU last January, and had an impressive spring practice.

Three other Frog CBs that were on the roster but didn't play in a game in 2010 are redshirt freshman Kevin White and junior walk-ons Devin Johnson and Brian Alexis. White was a well thought-of, do-everything recruit out of Round Rock Stony Point who redshirted a year ago because, frankly, the Frogs didn't need him to burn a year of eligibility. Johnson and Alexis didn't play last year, but were forced into action by the injury bug at the end of the 2009 season- including some crunch-time action in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State.

Two very talented true freshmen, Kolby Griffin and Travosky Garrett, will be looking to crack the rotation this fall. Griffin, who has already been identified as a potential future leader for TCU because of the intelligence and team-first attitude displayed in the blog postings he wrote for, turned down offers from Arkansas, Baylor and Texas Tech when he committed to TCU very early in the process. Garrett, at 6-1 186 and with freak athleticism that led him to concentrate more on track than football earlier in his high school career in Lufkin, could be seen as the second coming of Teague...a comparison that will be amplified because he's been assigned Teague's jersey #27.

Now's the time for me to offer you a figurative penny for your thoughts. Who do you think claims the second starting position at corner- Battle, Verrett, or someone else alltogether? Who will be the most trusted back-ups? Will either of the true freshmen play this fall? Let's hear it in the comments section...

Bart Johnson to Join Dalton in Cincy

Bart Johnson and his mini-mullet will be headed to Cincy to join his QB and buddy, Andy Dalton. Bart is the 3rd slot receiver from the state of Texas to make it to the Bengals in the past 3 years, following UT's Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby, who I'm sure he will be competing with for a spot on the roster. Best of luck to Bart, and that now makes 10, yes 10, TCU players from last years team to be picked up by an NFL team. That's a tremendous number and shows you how far this program has come. Congrats to all, and I'll keep you posted if any more are picked up, but I'm guessing we are finished.

Teague To Texans

Congrats, Houston fans. You now have a Frog to root for, which is good because when you perpetually underachieve, you'll need something to hang your hat on. Jason Teague is now a Houston Texan, at least according to the almost indecipherable code of Josh Boyce's twitter account (he has replaced the "th" sound in the English language with strictly the letter "d". I think it's pretty progressive thinking, actually.) Congrats Jason. Now somebody please take Bart.

Scouting the 2011 opponents: Wyoming

Over the past three seasons, TCU has beaten Wyoming three times by a combined score of 144-17. However, the Frogs will be making the trip to Laramie with a new quarterback this year- just as they did in 2007, when then-freshman Andy Dalton' s comeback effort fell short as Chris Manfredini's last-second, potentially game-tying field goal attempt clanged off the right upright and the Cowboys prevailed, 24-21.

But like TCU, Wyoming will also be using a new QB this fall. They thought they had found their QB of the future in Austyn Carta-Samuels, who's name makes him sound like the adopted son of two lesbian sociology professors. But he chose to leave the program, as did his main backup. That leaves two true freshmen, Adam Pittsner and Brett Smith, to battle for the starting job. Junior running back Alvester Alexander had 792 rushing yards last year, but will have just one returning starter among the offensive linemen clearing the way in front of him.

The good news for Wyoming on defense is that all four starters return on the defensive line. The bad news? It wasn't a good defensive line. The Cowboys couldn't stop the run and barely put any pressure on the quarterback. Aside from the front four, only two other starters return.

Mother Nature could be a major variable with this game, since the Frogs will be heading to Laramie in November, when the average high temperature is 40 degrees and the average low is 14. On their last trip to War Memorial Stadium, the Frogs beat Wyoming 45-10 on November 21, 2009 with a game-time temperature of 30 degrees.

Frog Rookies Going Fast in NFL Free Agency

Jimmy Young Wide receivr Walter Bryant #1 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates a touchdown with Jimmy Young #88 during play against the BYU Cougars in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 16, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas.

As I mentioned in the comments section last night, reports surfaced that Jake Kirkpatrick will be headed to Indianapolis, hopefully to one day replace the great Jeff Saturday at Center there for years to come. Also, just learned that Jimmy Young will be headed to the Bears to play with the NFL head douche Jay Cutler. Maybe JY will start slamming Kristen Cavilari to get back at Cutler for not being able throw a decent pass.

So that leaves us with a few more potential free agent signings, but those first few sure went off the board quick. Where will former Frogs Wayne Daniels, Jason Teague and Bart Johnson wind up, if anywhere? Or will there be any surprises taken? Stay tuned to spitblood and we'll keep you up to date.

*Had to edit this post because the info regarding Wayne Daniels was incorrect. Apparently he has not come to terms with the Jets, and this is a perfect example of why you shouldn't post everything you see on twitter without confirming it. Thanks a lot, @nfldraftinsider...

Morning Dump


2011 TCU football factbook

-video and slideshow also from TCU Magazine

Monday, July 25, 2011

NFL Open For Business.

Andy should be all smiles as soon as tomorrow.
Also, this picture seems fake.

For those of you who missed the memo, the NFL did exactly what we should've expected them to do and got back to business at the last possible second before actual games would have to be missed. All of the doomsdayers - every media person ever - that predicted a shortened season look pretty dumb now, especially when you consider the entire fight was over lost revenue and missing games would, you know, be lost revenue. Now all that will be lost is the useless Hall of Fame game, which, to be honest, makes me think perhaps they should have these negotiations every year. I don't know all of the particulars of the deal, but I do know that the league will not have to have another one of these conversations for 10 years and all training camps now have the Wade Phillips "no hitting" rule. In all honesty, the only effect this has on me is that HBO has officially cancelled Hard Knocks this year, a true tragedy because we'll have to wait a full year to get another rousing scene like this one. Somewhere, Tony Dungy shakes his head.

So why is this relevant to SpitBlood, you ask? Mainly because the league has given permission to teams to begin business as soon as this evening which means cuts will be made and rookies will be signed. Presumably, within the next 24 hours, Andy Dalton, Marcus Cannon, Malcolm Williams, Colin Jones and Jeremy Kerley will be actual paid NFL stars, realizing a life long dream and, if you're Marcus Cannon, a lot more than that.

But we already knew those guys were eventually going to be locked down, so the real excitement will be to watch where Wayne Daniels, Jake Kirkpatrick, Jimmy Young and the rest of the unsigned class of 2011 will wind up. Training camps begin Wednesday so it's probably wishful thinking to suggest those guys will be there to open things up, but with an accelerated pace becoming all but necessary given the time frame of the lockout, we should know the future of those guys sooner than later.

Stay tuned to Spitblood for updates. Or ESPN. But really, Spitblood.

Monday Evening Albuquerque Quarterback

I didn't post anything about last night's Breaking Bad this morning, because I hadn't seen it yet. Does my hurrying home from work to watch it on DVR make it any better? I noticed a rather long discussion chain in my gmail inbox, so perhaps everyone else has had their fill of talking about it. But in keeping with attempting to have some regularly-scheduled content on Spit Blood, even if it's not TCU-related, here goes:

SpitBlood Scramble, part Deux.

I would've expressed a lot more Happy Gilmore-esque anger Saturday
if I actually believed I had golfing ability of any substance.

Despite the soaring temperatures, alleged foreclosure status of the golf course and jarring lack of pro-narcotic cart hostesses, the second Annual Spitblood Scramble was a rousing success. With a reported 85 entrants this year, last year's record number of 49 was easily bested which means more dough for the Purple People Seaters. The official number hasn't been tallied, but at $100 a pop, that's $8500 before you take out overhead like the cost of prizes and whatever amount THEFINCH figures he can reasonably launder through his company without raising the eyebrows of the SEC and, more importantly, the SpitBlood Commentariat.

Superlatives-wise, with a so-low-it-cant-possibly-be-genuine score of 56, our winners were the team of Paxton Motherall, John Wynne, Todd Davenport and Hunter Harris. I know of a particular team that may have taken a few liberties on their scorecard and may have counted a few putts that may or may not have seen the bottom of the cup in real life, and they still only managed to shoot 6 under par, so whatever methods employed by our winners are doubly impressive. All jokes aside, that's an absolutely phenomenal score and, considering two members of said team were a part of last year's runner up squad, I think it's safe to say all of those guys knew their way around the green. And as several of their drives reportedly almost killed the group in front of them even when they were hitting their third shots, it's clear they're a friend of the long ball as well.

Coming up just short with a solid score of 58 was the team of Tate Nichols, Corey Leedy, John McNey and Taylor Nichols. I am sure the two Nichols' will hold their victory proudly over their older brother, especially as his entire team was seen wearing custom made "Champion" shirts before the round began, a pre-mature ejaculation of confidence if there ever was one. Northern Ireland may be the current Valhalla of golfing talent in the PGA ranks, but it looks like little Farwell, Texas may not be far behind.

Taking bronze with a score of 61 was the group comprising Ronny Dale Smith, David Greer, Ed Jones and Brian Garza. I am not personally familiar with any of those guys, so I don't have any personal anecdotes to offer up, but we should be proud of them nonetheless. Congratulations, guys and thanks for playing.

Quickly - the longest drive champion was Tyler Talman and the closest to the hole, Ben Peveto.

However, only one team can boast the honor of defending their title, and that would be the prestigious, tour-ready crew of Luke Wittenbraker, Anthony Diaz, Jeff Proctor and John Robert Wunderlick, who was filling in for the crippled Bryan Athon who, to his credit, helped coach his team to a blazing, dead-ass-last score of 71, walking boot and all. To be completely honest, this score doesn't seem THAT bad. I mean, yes, in a four man scramble with potentially 8 mulligans you should manage better than one under, but I kind of expected a John Daly-esque blow up to rule the day here. But still, those four guys came in boasting of their desires to reclaim their throne, and by god they did just that. Can they make it three next year? That alone should be worth the price of entry.

Spitblood warmly thanks everyone who came out to play this year and we hope to see you again next year. The money raised will certainly be valuable to the Purple Seaters who not only give under priviliged children the opportunity to escape their daily lives a few Saturdays a year at a TCU game, but also grow the next generation of Horned Frog fans. I am sure most other schools in the country have groups similar to PPS, but I have a feeling its not quite as popular in Ames, IA as it is in Fort Worth. Lucky, lucky kids.

As for my take on the tournament, few times a year can a married guy like myself spend an afternoon hopped up on prescription amphetamines, drink free beer, swill actual viking mead, and smoke cigarettes with a frequency that would make Fort Worth's most famous aficionado of chemically enhanced tobacco products Ben Hogan turn over in his grave, and for that alone I would call the day a success. Whitestone Golf Club has been a great host these past two years and I hope we are able to keep them as a permanent host for the near future. Who knows - perhaps our annual hedonism fest on the links can turn Benbrook into the next Augusta, Georgia? Only time will tell. See you all next year.

Taking Inventory: Linebackers

I feel like writing this post about the TCU linebacking corps might be a waste of time, because even the most casual fans know that anyone that climbs to the top of the depth chart and grabs one of the precious two starting LB spots in the 4-2-5 is going to be a baller. Seriously, I dare you to name a Horned Frog linebacker under Patterson that wasn't completely, utterly, disgustingly good. Bayer, McDonald, Goolsby, (Martin) Patterson, Hawthorne, Phillips, Henson, Washington...the list goes on and on. The point I'm making is- there are no question marks at linebacker for TCU, only exclamation points.

Making matters even better is that both of last year's starters, senior Tank Carder and junior Tanner Brock, both return for 2011. What'd they do in 2010? Oh, Brock just led the team with 104 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. And all Tank did was notch 60 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, a fumble recovery and five pass break-ups...including the one that saved the Rose which he had the most insanely dominant individual defensive performance in a TCU bowl game since Stephen Hodge in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.

Backing them up will be senior Kris Gardner and junior Kenny Cain, both of whom played in all 13 games last year. Both of these guys excelled on special teams, and would likely start for a majority of Division I teams. Two other returning lettermen that will push for playing time while also serving on special teams are the head-hunting junior Greg Burks and walk-on junior David Stoltzman, who was the team's Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year last year and has played in four games over the past two seasons.

The future also looks bright at linebacker, with a plethora of true & redshirt freshmen who are waiting for their turn to shine. Marcus Mallet, who had scholarship offers from SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten schools, is likely chomping at the bit after being redshirted last year. Deryck Gildon looks like the most likely of the true freshmen to play this fall after enrolling in January and impressing coaches during the springs- and fans at the spring game, when he scored a touchdown on an interception return. Austin Terry and Laderice Sanders joined the program this summer and both have the athleticism to excel at linebacker...and the size to perhaps move to the defensive line.

Let's hear your thoughts on the linebacking corps in the comments section. Can Tanner & Tank top their ridiculous 2010 stats? Who else really makes their presence felt this fall? Who are the next stars at linebacker?

Morning Dump


Friday, July 22, 2011

Advanced Scouting: Big East teams and trips

Despite TCU's move to the Big East still being one more season away, there's no doubt that every Frog fan is thinking about the transition and the new rivalries that will be forged once we get there. Because we'll all be paying a little more attention to the eight current members of the Big East a little closer this year than ever before, here are CFN's previews of each of them:

-West Virginia
-South Florida

...and since the new conference will bring a new set of away-game destinations, you're probably already thinking about which games you'll want to fly east to see in person. A Syracuse fan that goes by the internet name of Texan Mark has very dilligently put together a blog detailing the top attractions in Big East cities and includes tips on tailgating at Big East stadiums. Check it out, and bookmark it for future travel plans:

Texan Mark's Tailgate Guides

Rod Gilmore to Announce TCU vs. Baylor, BYU

The Friday Night "C "Team. Fill in your own blanks for what the C stands for.

Isn't this just freaking great? Rod Gilmore, the world's biggest Boise State sack rider and TCU detractor, will be calling our only 2 games on ESPN this year. For those not familiar, I spent about 6 weeks of my life last fall devoted to spreading as much Rod Gilmore related hate around this site as I possibly could. Every single week, he'd show up on various ESPN outlets, whether it be College Football Live, the typical Tuesday night Ohio v. Marshall game (speaking of those, if they still run twitter feeds across the top of the screen during those games, I plan on sending in as many "fuck you Rod Gilmore" and "Craig James is a douche" tweets as I can until one makes it on air), or the bi-weekly Boise State Friday night game and run his mouth for as long as the microphone was in front of him about how much more deserving Boise was than TCU of a BCS bid last year. Then this happened, and the 2nd shittiest ESPN personality behind Senator (HA) James was forced to eat crow and shut his mouth, at least for the rest of the season.

I'll be the first to put my homerisms aside and admit that this season, Boise has to be the MWC frontrunner and more likely candidate to reach a BCS bowl, but do we really need Gilmore and his uber pretentious Stanford dork brain to be there week 1 against Baylor to be ultra critical of every minor mistake we make and go off on rants about how "this team just doesn't look BCS caliber to me."? I am putting the over/under on Boise State references in those 2 games at 80- that's 20 per quarter in each game, but if we fall behind in either one of those, look for that number to skyrocket. We already know ESPN wont be touting us for one final season, and Gilmore is a part of the douche factory that Bristol, CT churns out, but I just want him to shut his mouth and call the game like he should, then let it be decided on the field instead of trying to influence pollsters like they always do.

Another issue to take into consideration now that BYU is independent (in an athletic sense only- it's hard to be independent in real life when you get married @ age 19, Jake Heaps), ESPN and Gilmore will probably be treating them as their new darlings a la Boise State, hoping and praying (to Jesus, not Joseph Smith) that somehow they crack the BCS like they did Boise the past few years. So let's all hope they don't show up undefeated. Also, Baylor is in the Big 12-2=UT, so you know Gilmore will be hyping them up in game 1 like they're going to be a player in the national scene and Robert Griffin will be a Heisman contender (spoiler alert: they wont, and he wont after the TCU game).

So, my challenge to all of you as TCU fans and almost as importantly, Rod Gilmore Haters, is to make sure you buy tickets to both the Baylor game and the BYU game. Trust me, you do not want to be sitting at home on a Friday night listening to Rod Gilmore try to rub one out to the greatness of Boise or the potential of Baylor and BYU on national TV. If you expect any sort of non-biased color commentary in these 2 games and any TCU praise whatsoever, you're going to be disappointed. So make the quick trip to Waco (being the butthole of the state has it's perks- it's not that far from anywhere) and the easy drive to Arlington and watch the Frogs humiliate these perennial doormats in person, because watching Gilmore try and discredit your wins may cause even the gentlest TCU fan consider resorting to animal cruelty, but that's clearly more of Baylor thing.

Scouting the 2011 Opponents: SMU

"Can I write check?"

A lot like we do with Baylor, it's easy to get distracted making fun of SMU- what with their blue-blooded, east-coast, cokehead student body and their mostly-laughable last two decades of football. But they've now been to a bowl game two years in a row, return 17 starters and will be one of the toughest tests of the 2011 season for the Frogs when they come to Fort Worth on September 30th.

While Kyle Padron was fairly pedestrian against TCU last year (169 yards on just 14-35 passing and an INT), he did throw for 3,828 yards as a sophomore and is nearing 6,000 and 5o TDs for his career. He's got 1,000-yard receiver Cole Beasley returning as well as Darius Johnson, a junior out of the Houston area that's so athletic you wonder how the heck he ended up at SMU. There's also four returning starters on the senior-laden offensive line that will protect Padron and pave the way for Zach Line, the junior tailback who lit up TCU for 139 yards on just 17 carries last year on his way to nearly 1,500 for the season.

The defense that returns 8 starters in 2011, you might be surprised, ranked a respectable 40th overall a year ago. Junior linebackers Ja'Gared Davis and Taylor Reed are tackling machines, senior Chris Banjo is a head-hunter at free safety, and both defensive ends (6-6, 287 Taylor Thompson and 6-9, 295 Margus Hunt) have NFL size and potential. I wouldn't rank this unit anywhere near a Patterson defense just yet, but it's light years beyond where the Mustang D was just a few short years ago.

Bottom line: SMU is a team with an extremely dangerous offense and a defense that, for the first time in years, gives them a chance to win ballgames. What hurt them last year was the crippling combination of inconsistency and turnovers...which are two areas that experience (something they have a lot of) goes a long way in reversing.

Keep an eye on their season opener against aggy down in College Station. I'm not calling for the upset, but I think it will be a lot closer to the hard-fought contests between those two programs in the mid-80s than the pile up the stats, get our freshmen some PT-type easy win that most of those maroon-clad fascists are probably expecting. If SMU can stand their ground in Kyle Field, it will give them a measure of confidence for their trip west on I-30 for what you know will be their Super Bowl.

-CFN 2011 SMU Preview
-CFN 2011 SMU Offensive breakdown
-CFN 2011 SMU Defensive breakdown
-CFN 2011 SMU depth chart



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taking Inventory: The Defensive Line

Defensive line has long been a team strength for TCU under coach Gary Patterson. Last year, the D-line accounted for 17.5 of the team's 27 sacks and helped hold opponents to just 99.7 rush yards per game and just 228.5 total yards per contest. Lost to graduation are the very solid Wayne Daniels, Cory Grant and Kelly Griffin, but as usual there is plenty of talent ready to go on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage.

The starting defensive bookends this fall will be sophomore Stansly Maponga (6-2, 265) and senior Braylon Broughton (6-6, 272). As a full-time starter in his redshirt freshman season a year ago, Maponga recorded 32 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble on his way to 2nd Team All-MWC and 2nd Team Freshman All-America honors. Broughton, who is perhaps the most physically intimidating athlete on the Frogs' roster, is finally ready to step into a starting role after three years as a reserve. He had at least one tackle in every game last year, and broke up two passes while also recording his first career sack. If one or both of these guys realize and fulfill their enormous potential this fall, watch out!

Unfortunately, the injury bug has already struck the depth behind Maponga and Broughton. Sophomore Matt Anderson (6-3, 245), who played in 8 games as a true freshman last fall and was being counted on to be a key contributor in his second season, will miss all of 2011 with an injury. Junior Ross Forrest (6-4, 265), a former walk-on who burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2008, started one game last year and is the most experience reserve end. Redshirt freshmen Blake Roberts (6-4, 242) and Cliff Murphy (6-4, 260) both spent last year bulking up after stellar high school careers, and will hopefully provide quality depth. Junior walk-on Jon Koontz (6-2, 230) is also listed on the depth chart.

Inside, juniors DJ Yendrey (6-4, 273) and Jeremy Coleman (6-2, 290) are slated to be the starting defensive tackles. Yendrey, a converted end, has been very impressive, totalling 31 tackles and 5 sacks in his first two seasons. He started the last 5 games of 2010 after Kelly Griffin broke his ankle against Air Force. Coleman, who was a major recruiting victory for TCU has played in 24 games over the past two seasons, is ready to step in as the hole-clogging nose tackle in the Patterson 4-2-5.

Backing up Yendrey and Coleman will be sophomore Ray Burns (6-1, 290) and redshirt freshman David Johnson (6-2, 270). Burns, who has yet to play in a game at TCU, reportedly had a very impressive spring that caught the eye of Coach Patterson. Johnson is a weight-room addict with an incessant motor. Sophomore Bryant House (6-4, 297), who was a high school teammate of Burns and James Dunbar at Maud HS, has also yet to contribute on the field but was part of Dave Campbell's Texas Football's Super Team his senior year.

Three impressive true freshmen will be suiting up for the Frogs this fall, and all are currently listed at tackle. Chuck Hunter (6-1, 305) and Davion Pierson (6-2, 318) both have the size to be able to challenge for playing time right away on the inside. Jon Lewis (6-2, 275) may end up at tackle or end in his time at TCU.

How big of a concern is the defensive line to you? Do you think they can match last year's sack totals, and who do you think will lead the team in that category this fall? Who do you think will step up into stardom this fall, and who do you see dominating on the D-line in future years for the Frogs? The comments section awaits your opinions...