Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MWC playing favorites

Well, it's official. TCU's previously scheduled home game against the Broncos will now be played in Boise. While I get their reasoning I certainly don't agree with it. In addition to our three open spots on the schedule we are now down an additional home game. Let's just hopes this serves as a little extra motivation to disgrace the Donks on the blue turf.

Pilfered Senior Bowl Observations: Day 1.

I've always wondered why they hold the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama... then I think of the times I've furiously passed through Mobile on the way to Florida and recall that all there is in Mobile is a Battleship and a tunnel that goes under the bay that's pretty bad ass when you're 10 and have been in the car with your family for 8 solid hours, but isn't much to build an economy on. In other words, in the football mad south, Alabama is quite possibly the most afflicted state, so what better way to garner attention for the game than to hold it in the most landmark and entertainment devoid city in that state?

And with that poorly constructed intro, I'll segue into the heart of this post and the ones that will follow: Keeping track of Andy Dalton, Jake Kirkpatrick and Jeremy Kerley at the Senior Bowl. Like many of you, I'm not sure I've ever watched a Senior Bowl, so Saturday will likely be my first one. Also like many of you, even though this year's version holds special interest for Frogs' fans, I'm still not going to go to the extreme of DVR'ing the practices every afternoon and making my own observations. So I'll do what lyle pointed out earlier that we're very good at - stealing others' ideas and turning them into a post!

Away we go...

Interesting observations about the weigh ins, which I'll keep here to Dalton and Kerley, but is a pretty funny read, intentionally or not.

Dalton came in at 6'3", 213 pounds and was described as "very ordinary build and lacked definition." Clearly the author is unfamiliar with gingers because, to be honest, that's just kind of how they look. He was the lightest of all the QBs at the Senior Bowl and kind of has carny hands, but not as bad as Greg McElroy, although since he won a title with said hands, I'm not sure this is a deal breaker. Dalton also didn't have huge arms by comparison, but to be honest, I thought he was kind of a big guy, at least compared to when he came to campus, and if his arms are considered small, then my self esteem just went down by about 500 notches.

Kerley arrived in Mobile at 5'9 3/4" and 188, but suffers from the same carny hand, lanky arm syndrome that apparently afflicts Dalton. However, he's described as having a "V shaped torso and ripped with a six pack" which may have actually been an except from an Anne Rice novel. /literarybitchslap. Apparently this type of physique is what they're going for when evaluating a skill position player.

And Kirkpatrick is officially 6'2 1/4" and 301 pounds with good sized hands, mediocre arm size, and is descriped as being "barrel chested and stumpy"... In other words, pretty much what you want in a center prospect, no?

One of the most fun things about seeing these "official" weigh ins is to see where the athletic department fudged on their own official rosters, kind of like how the Mavericks list JJ Barea at 6'0", 175 when he's maybe 5'8". As for TCU? We didn't do so bad - Dalton is off by one inch and seven pounds, Kerley is off by one inch and 4 pounds, and Kirkpatrick is an inch and four pounds. Guess we're running an honest program after all.

Here's a video recap from Todd McShay, but he won't let you embed, probably because he has on no pants during any of the interviews just in case someone asks a question about Jake Locker and he needs to "get his mind right." Unfortunately, if you care to check out any of ESPN's coverage you must be an insider, and if I wanted to pay to have a Snooki-coifed gentleman tell me why some team is going to draft Blaine Gabbert about 25 picks too high while salivating profusely... well, I don't know what I'd do, but sorry Mel Kiper, you're just not worth it.

Draftnsider.net seemed to have the most up to date information as far as Day 1 performances, and they had this to say about Andy:

Started out shaky, but the TCU product improved throughout the day. Dalton showed inconsistency with the RPM’s on his passes. He showed a tight spiral then a wobbly pass came out of his grasp. He showed some signs of throwing too much with his upper body. By the end of the practice, he was starting to get his timing down hitting a couple nice deep completions.

And then this about Kerley:

His comfort levels with teammate Andy Dalton was apparent early. Kerley did drop a pass early and was bodied off at least one catch, but he also beat defender deep on multiple occasions.

And Kirkpatrick:

The pivot looked good his short areas with precise power steps, but he fired out too high out of his stance.

That's all I have for now as practices didn't really kick into high gear until today. If you're really into it, you can always check any of those sites I listed for current updates, or take the lazy man's way out and come back and see what I copy/pasted. It's your choice, but we need to pageviews.

Meet the Future Frogs: Davion Pierson

While the TCU coaching staff was guiding the team through a second consecutive 12-0 regular season, their progress in building the recruiting class of 2011 slowed a bit. They did seem interested enough, however, to find some future warriors of the trenches during the season. Following Jamelle Naff's commitment on October 9th, they again looked up north to find a big man in Oklahoma City Millwood defensive tackle Davion Pearson.

If the Horned Frogs fulfill their massive potential as a program over the next couple of years, you'll have to remember that Pierson was the first player to commit to TCU following the announcement that the school would be moving to the Big East- he pledged to TCU just a day after the shift was made public.

He also filled a major area of need- defensive tackle. Knowing that Cory Grant and Kelly Griffin would be graduating, Patterson & his staff really needed to find some big guys to help plug holes once #57 and #69 were gone. Pierson, at 6'2" 298lbs, definitely fits that bill. Rivals has him listed as the #24 overall player in Oklahoma, where he helped lead Millwood to a 13-1 record this past fall.

As usual, you're probably skimming over what I'm writing here and just skipping straight to the highlight video, so here you go:

Recruiting Season Mania

BYU recruits 24/7/365

I've always been somewhat amused by the college football fans who get way too into recruiting. Don't get me wrong, here- I'm definitely the type of fan who gets really into it. Recruiting season is like spring training in baseball, where every program gets a fresh start and every prospect is a future Hall of Famer. It's exciting.

But there are definitely those that take it too far. There are folks out there, I kid you not, that would've considered the day of the Rose Bowl to be ruined if a potential recruit had picked, say, Oklahoma State or Texas Tech over TCU. Watching what GP calls "paper tigers" match up against other schools' classes based solely on potential is actually more important to some people than what actually happens on the field once the kids get to campus. Sounds crazy, I know.

If you've been enjoying the "Meet the Future Frogs" posts here on Spitblood, you'll enjoy the next week or so because I'll be trying to hammer out two of those a day leading up to Signing Day. If you're already a recruiting junkie, as described quite humorously by SaturdayDownSouth.com, I realize those posts probably aren't teaching you anything new. But who knows, we might just make a junkie out of someone else out there, and isn't that the whole point?

Dalton interview at Senior Bowl practice

We may not be in Mobile to report from the Senior Bowl, but we sure can copy & paste links to other people's reporting! Here's an interview of Andy Dalton at the Senior Bowl with Stacey Dales of the NFL Network:

Dalton interview

The Best Defender in the Country is... Ronnie Moss?

Of course he is... assuming you abide by the logic that by holding the top ranked scorer in the country to his lowest point total of the year when playing full minutes, he's the best by default. I don't think that's what Luke Winn of SI.com was going for here, but it's pretty telling that he devoted the entirety of his BYU allotted space in his weekly power rankings to praise Tuffy's efforts against Jimmer Fredette, aka the Ragin' Pagan... or at least that's what I call him. For those of you who do not want to sift through the basketball-ese that Winn espouses from every pore in his body, I'll sum it up:

TCU basically said, "Here, Tuffy, you guard the best white guy on the floor, and we'll hopefully take care of the rest of them" by implementing the box and 1 defense, otherwise known as "Defending a one man team." In other words, it's Moss' job to keep Fredette from destroying us on offense, especially from the outside, and if he gets past him and drives inside, there are 4 guys who are going to immediately collapse on him like a bunch of grandfathers on the 4 year old granddaughter at a Mormon family reunion. It's kind of a high school defense since so many high school programs feature one outstanding player and some scrubs, but in this case it was entirely necessary. It opens the door for the other four guys on the floor to go all bombs away on you, and makes you terrifyingly susceptible to skip passes, but as long as you don't get owned by Fredette you'll take your chances. Because being owned by a grown ass man named Jimmer certainly casts doubt on your own orientation by proxy.

And, shockingly enough, it worked. Sort of. Yes, the Cougars got the win and yes Fredette still scored 21, but it was his lowest point total of the season when playing over 30 minutes. And, if you dig deeper into the numbers, Fredette was 1-8 in the first half when being guarded by Moss, and the one FG he gave up was that absolutely silly 30 footer that Jimmer has been known to pull out from time to time. And in the second? Two FG's, only one of which came on Moss, and 7 free throws. The seven free throws are the clear drawback to the box and 1 when being implemented against a solid free throw shooter because our slow footed defenders are going to foul him every single time he cuts inside, but the clear point Winn was trying to make is that Moss did as good of a job guarding Fredette as anyone likely will all year.

And while I know that in the wake of that loss and Saturday's to Utah this sort of praise rings hollow, in a season that's looking as gloomy as this one, you have to grasp for all the straws you can. If only we had a few more guys who played defense like Tuffy - and, whoo boy we do not. I watched Saturday's game. Our defense makes every offense look like the Phoenix Suns of yesteryear - we might not be talking about another year of sitting at home in the post season.

Meet the Future Frogs: Jamelle Naff

Following the commitment of Chald Hedlund on July 27th, the TCU coaching staff turned their attention to the task at hand: repeating as Mountain West Champs and getting back to the BCS. The Recruiting Class of 2011 remained at 16 members for about two and a half months before #17 joined up: Del City, Oklahoma offensive lineman Jamelle Naff.

For those of you that have been paying attention, you'll recognize that Naff is a high school teammate of fellow future Frog Chazten Gonzales. The Del City duo are the third set of high school teammates in this class, along with Cameron White & David Porter of DeSoto and David Bush & Chris Hackett of Tyler John Tyler.

TCU has taken in some offensive linemen in the past that you could classify as 'projects' based on their need to add some bulk to their frame. Naff...is not one of those. At 6'4" 311 lbs, he's big enough for the college game right now. His 71 pancake blocks as a senior helped him earn All-State honors in Oklahoma, as well as scholarship offers from multiple Pac 10 and Big 12 schools. Rivals ranks him as the #21 offensive guard in the country and the #4 overall player in Oklahoma. So much for recruiting across the Red River being a one-way operation!

I couldn't find a free highlight video of Naff, but I did find an interview with him that you can watch by clicking HERE.

Morning Dump

Dalton trying to improve draft stock stock Fox Sports Houston

Senior Bowl Day 1 recap

Non-AQ storylines in Senior Bowl

Ready to lead
Tulsa World

Q&A with Chris Del Conte
Daily Skiff