Thursday, February 10, 2011

Looking Ahead: Running Backs

Whereas the Horned Frogs are saying goodbye to a four-year starter and TCU legend at quarterback this year, they will have just about everyone back at running back in 2011. Ed Wesley will return for his junior season after rushing for 1,078 yards and 11 TDs this past fall, as will fellow junior-to-be Matthew Tucker (709 and 7), sophomore Waymon James (513 and 5) and junior Aundre Dean (223 and 1). So with all of the key ball carriers returning next year, we can expect a similiar breakdown of touches and yards, right?

Well, maybe.

The term I've used over and over again describing TCU depth at running back is "embarrassment of riches". Not only do they have the four guys mentioned above, who could all be stand-alone stars at just about any program- they also have two ridiculously talented redshirt freshmen who'll be pushing for playing time, too. We certainly don't want to sound like the Skiff in prematurely moving unproven freshmen past experienced vetereans, but at the same time it's hard to ignore the impressive pedigrees of Ethan Grant and Dwight "The Myth" Smith. Both are talented enough to have played as true freshmen in 2010, but Smith was obviously still coming off an injury and of course there was so much talent in front of them that burning a redshirt kind of seemed silly.

Luke Shivers, the Frogs' starting fullback, will surprisingly be a senior in 2011. Doesn't it seem like he just got here? He's been pretty reliable as a blocking back as well as the occasional option catching swing passes and carrying the ball in goal line situations, such as the winning touchdown against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Behind Shivers on the depth chart is...nobody. Tight end Logan Brock has played a little fullback in relief of Shivers, but with him poised to take over starting duties at his natural position it seems as though the coaching staff may want to find someone else to back up Shivers.

So how do you see the running back position developing in spring practice, this fall and beyond? How will the carries be divided amongst all of the talented backs? Will Wesley maintain his status as the #1 guy or will someone else challenge him for that spot? How will the redshirt freshmen figure into the mix? Will any of them change positions? Who will back up Shivers at fullback? I know you have an opinion, so let's hear it!

Spitblood is Blowin' Up!

Not an actual photo of Stefan Stephenson, but a picture of a Stefan nonetheless.

So you probably thought we were full of crap, didn't you? That we made up Portland State as a football program altogether. That Lousiana-Monroe was "taken care of" by Nick Saban after they took out the Tide in his first season and no longer fields any team other than womens field hockey. Well, you know who DOES believe us? The Star-Telegram, that's who! Shortly following our own rumor mill post yesterday, the ST college confidential blog's Stefan Stephenson - TCU's beat reporter for those unaware - scrambled to post his own in order to keep things relevant. That's right, Spitblood beat the only newspaper in the Metroplex that isn't so broke it has to charge its readers for online content to the punch on the 2011 TCU schedule. Of course, Stephenson did the honorable thing by slipping this in there: "The Star-Telegram’s source for the schedule seems to be in step with a source that told Spitbloodtcu.com, a Frogs’ fan site, the same nonconference schools." thus giving credit where credit is due, but we're still having the lawfirm of Texas Hammer & Buffalo check into matters to make sure we aren't owed some sort of financial reparations for our fact finding efforts.

Of course I'm only kidding - Stephenson clearly has his own, legitimate athletic department sources whereas we're solely at the mercy of our more plugged in readers and/or those who once cornered Danny Morrison in an American Airlines Center bathroom. And we're very appreciative of Stevenson later tweeting about spitblood and telling his followers to check us out. However, this shows how much journalism has changed in even the past 10 years and a good demonstration of what makes old school guys from the Amon Carter era roll over in their graves. Perhaps this will lead to spitblood's big break into the money making sectors of the blogosphere? Probably not, but it's nice to have a relevant, traffic driving moment not involving Scott Nix to stick in our caps.

Morning Dump

Football:
TCU football schedule taking shape
Star-Telegram

TCU declines offer to open 2011 at Wisconsin
Star-Telegram

TCU says no to 2011 rematch with Wisconsin
NBC Sports

TCU turns down Wisconsin rematch
ESPN

No wonder TCU isn't interested in Rose Bowl rematch with Wisconsin
USA Today

TCU assistant one of nation's top recruiters
ESPN

Baseball:
Alumni weekend kicks off Friday
GoFrogs.com

Down on the farm: Bryan Holaday
MotorCityBengals.com

Basketball:
TCU's defense is toast against UNLV heaters
Star-Telegram