Friday, December 28, 2012

TCU vs MSU For All The Wings - Bowl Game Predicitions

Happy holidays to all of you out there in Spit Blood land! The last game of this crazy season is upon us, and it's time for the last prediction post of the year. This was a crazy year for TCU football obviously, and closing it out with a win will be huge for the program going forward. I am sure we are all ready to put 2012 to bed, in light of everything, but looking back, all things considered, not a bad entry into big time college football for the Frogs.

So what can we expect from the boys tomorrow verses Michigan State? The Spartans had a similar year to TCU in a lot of ways, record-wise, new QB (though for different reasons), and a solid defense. They rely on their running game as well, but their lead back stayed healthy, as Le'Veon Bell rushed for 1648 yards and 11 TDs. And by lead back, I mean battering ram, as this is a big boy - who is still capable of some unbelievably athletic plays as you saw if you watched him hurdle a Boise State defender in MSU's opening game of the season. The key to beating Sparty is shutting down Bell, and it's going to fall on Kenny Cain and the rest of the linebackers to contain him to short gains and not force the Frogs to way overload the box and give QB Andrew Maxwell too many easy opportunities, as he improved over the course of the season. MSU doesn't feature the dominating passing game that TCU's secondary saw all season in the Big 12, so Verrett and co can probably handle things if Patterson and Bumpas decide to load the box to shut down the run. Maxwell is a capable thrower, who racked up over 2500 yards, but only 13 TDs vs 9 picks. And with Stansley Maponga healthy, and Devonte Fields having some extra practice time under his belt, he won't want to spend much time dropping back. MSU has a solid offensive line, but Maxwell was sacked 19 times and I would expect that number to be added to tomorrow night, with both our big d-ends getting the job done. I also expect big numbers from Cain, in the 10-12 tackle range.

On offense, the Frogs will go against a formidable MSU defense, one that ranked 9th in the country for points against (16.3) and features an elite linebacking core. The Spartans are great against the pass, but may very well be the best in the country against the run. The exception to their dominance was against Ohio State and Nebraska, where they allowed over 500 yards rushing in those two games. The common factor? A running QB. Enter Trevone Boykin. If "Wheels/Deuce Boogie" can wreak havoc with his legs, he can find some holes in the secondary and let his awesome receiving core make plays. In other words, if we get four quarters of fourth quarter Boykin, it won't matter how great the MSU D is, TCU will put points on the board. Boykin will get a long bomb to Carter, and make up for Boyce getting shutout against OU by hitting him for 5 completions and a TD. I think TCU racks up over 170 yards rushing, despite the stout D, and Boykin adds another 150 through the air. 

As per usual, special teams can make or break a low scoring game, and I trust the Frogs here. I hope we see lots of Deante Gray in the return game, and the return of the confident Oberkrom that dominated the early part of the schedule. Ethan Perry will be counted on to be a weapon and control field position in what should be a game with lots of punts.

Everyone is predicting a low scoring game, which during Bowl season, means it will probably be 49-45. But, I think it lands somewhere in the middle, along the lines of 24-21. I've been predicting an Oberkrom game winner in just about every game, but this time I mean it. Boykin will have another great drive late, and Jaden will boot one through with just seconds left on the board. I think there will be either a defense or a special teams TD that will swing momentum as well. Ultimately, TCU finishes the season on winning note, keeps the Big 12 Bowl winning streak alive, and sets the tone for 2013.

What about your thoughts, Spit Blood nation? Final score? Who puts the TDs on the board? How many wings will you eat during the game? Will Dantonio put in the call for a trick play, something he has been known for? And how many times will Kirk Cousins/that old Baylor QB be brought up during the broadcast? 

Morning Dump: 12/28

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Morning Dump: 12/27



BWWB:
MSU football's outside linebackers will be on the spot against TCU - MLive.com
TCU Visits Sun Devil Stadium - AZCentral.com
TCU Living it up ahead of bowl game in Arizona - Star-Telegram


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Morning Dump: 12/26


BWWB:


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Morning Dump: 12/20

Women's Basketball:
#6 Georgia Capitalizes on mistakes to beat TCU - Star-Telegram
#6 Georgia tops TCU - espn.com

BWWB:
Put that Purple Pride to work at these Tempe Hotspots - Star-Telegram

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Morning Dump: 12-18



Football:
Film study sheds light on defense - Detroit Free Press

Men's Basketball:
First year coach's impact more than just cosmetic - Star-Telegram

Women's Basketball:
Women beat the Bearkats - gofrogs.com
Insiders deliver win - Star-Telegram

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Most Stable Program in Texas.



In the midst of Tommy Tuberville's "It's baffling only if you've never been to Lubbock, Texas" bolt to Cincinnati, he dropped a bit of knowledge on us that, while true in most instances, doesn't necessarily have to be the rule. In case you missed it, he said something to the effect of Coaches being hired guns, that there is no 'Mr. (insert school name) and that a football Coach doesn't last forever.  Coming from the guy that reportedly bailed on a recruiting dinner the night before bailing on his school, this shouldn't come as any surprise.  Now, I don't disagree with what he's saying in theory.  After all, folks who choose to ply their trades outside of the football realm change jobs to improve their situation each and every day.  And while I may disagree with the WAY Tuberville handled his exit - basically, he didn't tell anyone until he hit the row of liquor stores on the outskirts of town - in the long run, a guy who will treat you the way Tubbs treated Tech probably needs to move on sooner than later and if I'm a Tech fan I say good riddance, Mr. 20-17.

However, where Ears and I's philosophies begin to divulge is where he seemingly suggests that no Coach inhabits the identity of their place of occupation.  Now, if he's speaking in the context of TODAY, then that's mostly true.  College football has become a multi-multi hundreds of millions of dollars business which means that Coaches are given an incredibly short leash.  That, combined with rabid fan behavior, not to mention potential fan apathy when you consider the myriad distractions available to the average American, has made college football the profession of hired guns Tubbs describes.  This is why Mack Brown, perhaps the closest we've got to the "face of a program" in college football, is probably going to be forced into retirement after this season despite playing for 2 national titles within the last 7 years.  This is why Oklahoma fans constantly want to fire Bob Stoops despite his being the most consistently successful Coach of the BCS era.  Everyone wants to find the next Nick Saban juggernaut and, when they don't, they simply kick that Coach to the curb; Ironically, Saban is still overshadowed at his own school by Bear Bryant.  Nobody wins.  So no, the days of Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Frank Broyles, Darrell Royal, etc roaming the sidelines well into old-er age are probably gone for good... unless you live in Fort Worth, Texas.

I mean, Thank God for Gary Patterson, right?

In an era where Coaches' are always looking for something new and different, he's been about the only one - along with Chris Petersen - to stick it out at his current gig to build a legacy rather than take what, at the time, were better job offers from bigger schools.  Never say never, I suppose, but it's getting more and more difficult to envision a situation where GP skips town outside of a major falling out with the administration.  The same administration that basically answers to him.  So, yeah.  And, while outsiders from inside our state borders will always call Patterson a nutcase for believe TCU is a top tier job - apparently the 9th highest salary in the country and Big 12 status doesn't do much for them - I ask you this:  Name a more stable Division 1 program in the State of Texas at this very moment?

Let's take a look, alphabetically:

Baylor - The fact that Art Briles is still in Waco as of this writing has to lead you to believe that he's planning on sticking around for a little while.  As much as we hate to admit it, based on getting the Bears to their third straight bowl and an impressive recent recruiting tear, the Bears will be passable so long as he is there.  Briles' deep Texas high school football ties pretty much assure he will be able to keep the Bears relevant in the minds of HS coaches.  Despite TCU's American History X'ing of the Bears mid-season, Baylor really got their act together to finish out the year with wins over Kansas State, Tech and OSU, even playing a little defense to boot.  But still... this is Baylor we're talking about, a school whose greatest achievement of the past few decades came in women's basektball.  If Briles is still there making the same strides in 5 years, we'll chat.

Houston - Would be a decent little program were Sumlin still around.  As it stands, though, Sumlin is gone, they just completed a bowlless 5-7 season and are joining a Big East Conference that was just effectively relegated to the equivalent of non-AQ status.  Oh, and the basketball schools - translation:  The reason the Big East receives funding for broadcasts in the first place - are talking about finally making good on their promise to form their own Conference.  So, uh, yeah.

Rice - HA! Don't make me laugh.  "BUT!" you say, "THEY ARE BOWL ELIGIBLE!"  Hahahaha Seriously, STOP!

SMU - See Houston re: Big East.  SMU folk secretly believe they should be in the Big 12.  No seriously, they do, there's a Facebook page and everything.   SMU folk also do lots of drugs.  These two facts are interconnected.  Drugs are a helluva drug.  The front office is also reportedly talking about throwing in the towel on football improvement and attempting to becomes "the basketball school of Texas," so that's not exactly good for local business.  Oh and they kept June Jones around despite him publicly taking the Arizona State gig before having the offer revoked after their donors revolted.  NEXT!

Texas - The flagship!  Except Bryan Harsin just left to take a job at Arkansas State, Manny Diaz - who is TERRIBLE at his job - is reportedly in line to take over at Florida International and Mack might decide to heed the fanbase and bail out at the end of the year rather than face another rebuild.  Not exactly the definition of stability.  SUPPOSEDLY GP made the comment that he wouldn't take the UT job should it come open because, "they are too soft" and "it would take at least 3-4 years to build it back up."  Ouch.  In other news, Bobby Petrino and Manny Diaz could both be Coaches in the Sun Belt come 2013.  That probably wasn't an option on their jump to conclusions mats.

aggy - This is the only one you can argue with me about because, as things stand, with the infrastructure, affiliation, momentum, coaching staff and monetary/fan support they have, the ags are poised to absolutely destroy the State of Texas in recruiting from now to eternity.  HOWEVA, OC Kliff Kingsbury was just announced as the new HC at Texas Tech, which could possibly leave a bit of a play calling/recruiting void.  Truthfully, like GP, Sumlin is the tail that wags that dog, but never underestimate staff turmoil with a young QB.  See:  Fuente, Justin.

Tetch - WAY up in the air right now with the hiring of Kingsbury, but the fact that they ran off the most relevant coach in school history and lost their previous coach to Cincinnati - CINCINNATI!!! A place that Andy Dalton will not even live during the off-season and he is from KATY!!! - I think it's safe to assume things are tenuous at best out on the plains.  Kingsbury is a completely binary hire by anyone's opinion; He is either the next hot shot up and coming Coach, or he's going to be a complete failure.  In Tech's defense they really HAD to hire him to re-juice the fanbase after the Tuberville debacle, so I understand the reasoning, but a 33 year old HC with only 3 total years of Co-Ordinating experience running a multi-million dollar program in a major Conference?  That's the definition of "rolling the dice" there.  It should be an interesting situation to monitor.

Not receving votes re: Sun Belt/Wac/CUSA/Whatever:

North Texas - Too much Denton hipster apathy.
UTSA - Too much Coker.
Texas State - Too much FRAN!  The OG when it comes to positioning yourself for the next job, loyalty be damned.
UTEP - Too much Juarez.

So, I mean... is there really any doubt that TCU is, from a stablity standpoint, the best thing going in Texas Football right now?  Hell, outside of Oklahoma who would you say is more stable in the Big 12?  Bill Snyder, god bless him, has one foot in the grave, Mike Gundy almost left for Arkansas AND Tennessee, Iowa State can't seem to get it together and Paul Rhoads will presumably leave one day if his name keeps getting raised for job openings.  I think Holgorsen is going to be in West Virginia for a while because there's no way that man could politically maneuver his way around a program in a normal state, so there's stability there, or as much stability as you can have in the Wonderful State of West Virginia.  But, when it comes down to it, if the decision is between Holgo and GP, let's be honest about who has the upper hand.

The Frogs may not have the national brand of UT or the up and coming excitement of aggy, but by god we've got a well paid Coach who is as much an integral part of the TCU identity as the City of Fort and the Frog itself.  Doesn't that count for anything?  So no, Tommy Tuberville, I disagree - there IS such a thing as a non-mercenary Head Coach and he resides in Fort Worth, Texas.  Hired guns?  Sounds like the bitter words of a man splitting his pre-retirement years between Lubbock and the Queen City.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Morning Dump: 12/12



Football:
Varrett a 3-team AP All-American - College Confidential
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Preview - Yahoo! Sports
Patterson Grows Players on and off the field - TCU360
BWWB going to be a low scoring game - Michigan Live

Armed Forces Bowl:
Coaches love the carter - College Confidential

Swimmers:
Crespo prepares for world championships - gofrogs.com

News you already Knew:
TCU above average in eating disorders - TCU360

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Morning Dump: 12/11



Women's Basketball:
Frogs down UTSA - TCU360

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mid-Morning Dump: 12/10


Football:
Freshman's new role at fullback will geive TCU offense more options - Star-Telegram
DMN honoring Big 12 best - Dallas Morning News

Men's Basketball:
TCU loses at Tulsa - Star-Telegram

Women's Basketball:
TCU loses to Aggie - Star-Telegram

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Great Week For TCU Football


Instead of dwelling on the negative that was the OU game and some of the worst officiating I've seen in years, I thought I'd bring a few positive news nuggets to Spitblood instead with regards to our football program.

On Monday, TCU received its 15th football commitment for the year and arguably the biggest name of the bunch, Arlington Martin RB Kyle Hicks.  He's rated as a 4 star recruit by rivals, the 21st best RB in the country, and the 34th best player in the state of Texas for 2013.  He's also a good friend and former teammate of current TCU great Devonte Fields, so perhaps we have Mr. Fields to thank a little bit for this one as well.  At 5'10 190, he looks to have potential to add bulk to his frame and become a serious force in the TCU backfield in the not so distant future.  He had surgery on a torn ACL Tuesday, so we wish Kyle a speedy recovery and can't wait to see him in purple.

Perhaps the most exciting part about this get for TCU, however, is the fact that he decommitted from Texas to join the Frogs.  Beating them on the field is always priority #1, but after the crotch kick that was the Daje Johnson recruitment last year and amongst several other high profile recruiting battles we've lost to that mediocre squad in Austin, this one sure feels good.  Hicks, perhaps smarter than many of his fellow former future teammates, may see the writing on the wall in Austin and would rather spend 4-5 years winning and around a stable program.  Great call, Kyle.  Here are some highlights for y'all to drool over now.


In other news, there's been plenty of speculation as well that Coach Patterson is in talks to extend his contract and undoubtedly receive a hefty pay bump.  Not only is this much deserved, but it should put a muzzle on all the silly rumors flying around about him going to Austin.  Mack Brown will probably coach that team into the ground for at least one more season anyways, so there really was nothing to fear that at all.  Stefan Stevenson broke the news via the twitter and said raises and extensions are expected for the staff, but nothing has been finalized yet.

Also, of those 3 remaining middle tier SEC jobs that had Frog fans uneasy, only one remains.  Arkansas made a big splash today, albeit not as big of a splash as they wanted to make, by stealing former super butt hurt crybaby TCU opponent and all-around cocky asshole Midwesterner Bret Bielema away from a very average Wisconsin team.  From Rose Bowl bound with 5 losses to boarding a sinking ship in Arkansas, I'd say he made a pretty lateral move with the exception of the substantial pay raise he'll get at Arky.  After hearing the names Gary Patterson, Les Miles, Chris Petersen, and Mike Gundy as potential candidates for that job, I think it's safe to say Arky didn't get their top choice there.  They tried to get the 2011 Rose Bowl champion coach, but had to settle for the runner up.  Tough break there.  Also, Auburn hired former OC Gus Malzahn, so they're clearly intent on going back to their spread offense/pay the hell out of our QB ways that led them to a national title with sCam Newton.  The only job left now is Tennessee, and if I had to guess I'd bet Charlie Strong heads that way pretty soon.

Finally, there could be potentially good (or bad) recruiting news coming within the next couple of days as well.  With all due respect for those pay sites out there, that's all I'll say on the topic until info either does or does not become public.  It's already been a great week for TCU, and it could possibly get better.  Stay tuned...


Frogs in the NFL - Week 13


Andy Dalton - QB Bengals - Defeated the Chargers 20-13 - Dalton was solid outside of an ugly pick 6 Sunday, as he threw for 211 yards and a touchdown on 25/39 passing. Not spectacular, but an important win for Cincy as they try and keep pace in the Wild Card race.

Jeremy Kerley - WR Jets - Beat the Cardinals 7-6 - The Sanchize was finally benched for... Greg McElroy? The former Bama QB started the second half and immediately led NY to the winning score. Kerley had 3 catches for 37 yards and 2 punt returns for 17 yards.

David Hawthorne - LB Saints - lost to Atlanta 23-13 - So coaching does matter in the NFL apparently.  Hawthorne had three tackles in the loss.

Jerry Hughes - LB Colts - Defeated the Lions 35-33 - Hughes had two tackles as Andrew Luck let Indy on a furious comeback late and threw the game winning TD as time expired. The surprising Colts have 8 wins and a shot at the playoffs.

Marcus Cannon - OT Patriots - Defeated the Dolphins 23-16-  Brady was sacked 4 times as the NE offense was somewhat pedestrian, but good enough to win on the road.

Colin Jones - S Panthers- Lost to KC 27-21 - no stats.

Jason Phillips - LB Panthers Lost to KC 27-21 - Phillips had 3 tackles in the loss, as the Chiefs rallied together after the devastating events that occurred the day before to defeat the Panthers.

Clint Gresham - LS Seahawks - Defeated the Bears 23-17- I still can't figure the 'Hawks out, but nice win on the road in Chicago.

Tank Carder - LB Browns - beat Oakland 20-17 - Tank had a tackle in the win and apparently didn't say anything dumb on Twitter this week, so that's a successful week I guess!

Daryl Washington - LB Cardinals - lost to the Jets 7-6 - Hawthorne had nine tackles in the loss, but Arizona can no longer score apparently, and he and his defense might be in for a rough couple of weeks. Washington has already eclipsed the 100 tackle mark on the season.

Marshall Newhouse - OT Packers - Defeated the Vikings 23-14 - The Pack got back in the win column and the o-line performed much better, as Rodgers was only sacked twice for -3 yards and GB rushed for 152 yards.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Varsity Swag for OU Game.



There are a lot of negative things about preparing yourself for an 11AM kickoff, perhaps the biggest of which is casting aside your demons from the evening before and cracking a beer before Corso begins stuttering for 2 solid hours because ESPN won't put him out of his misery and seriously ESPN the man had a stroke and his crew mates can barely tolerate him anymore and it's making Herbstreit visibly age by the week and seriously what are you going to do when your goldenboy is solid grey with crows feet?  Fortunately, our friends at the Varsity have branded koozies specific to tomorrow's game that, while they may not make that hooch slide down your gullet and stay there, will at least cause you to chuckle at the apex of each 12 oz curl.  Go get your very own today before its too late!

Daily Discussion Question: El Retorno De La Manga.



Gary Patterson has said all along that, should he get his act together, Casey Pachall would be welcome back in the spring and given every opportunity to reclaim his role as QB1.  Patterson's intentions were unquestionably honorable:  If you truly care about Casey Pachall beyond his role on the team, you have to give him hope and a reason to correct his myriad issues.  Straight up turning your back on him, while the popular opinion of the Mac Engel's of the world, would solve the issue of removing him as your own problem but would do very little towards putting him on the path to a better life. Making your problem someone else's problem does not eliminate said problem, kind of like how shaving your head doesn't make you a better sportswriter.

But still... did anyone 100% think we'd ever see CP4 suit up in purple again once he hit the trail back in October?  I know I was by no means sure.  But, according to the latest message board chatter, it seems that Casey has completed rehab, gotten rid of the poor influences he used to surround himself with, and fully intends to re-enroll this spring.

The question is, as a fan, do you even WANT him back?  The problem with Casey is that answering that question isn't as simple as yes or no.

I can see both sides.  On the one hand, GP promised the guy he could come back and what good is he as a Coach if he can't be trusted?  On the other, what guarantee do we have that he's on the straight and narrow?    With all of his receivers returning, an older, presumably better offensive line and a healthy Waymon James, ifPachall returns to form, you absolutely have a better shot at winning a Big 12 Title and beyond with him under center.  Trevone Boykin has performed admirably this season and has actually been a better QB option for this team considering our offensive line, or lack thereof, but Pachall is in a different stratosphere when it comes to throwing the ball.  True, Andy Dalton wasn't exactly a passer that put fear into defenses when he first came to TCU, but Boykin's combination of height and delivery will make it tough for him to ever be a dominate gunslinger.  Just ask Vince Young, and he's got 6 inches on TB.

However Boykin, until Tyler Matthews or some newcomer says otherwise, is the future of TCU Football at the position.  TCU has lost 4 games this year, but outside of Iowa State - a game in which Boykin was drastically underprepared - can you blame him for any of the losses?  Oklahoma State was a major defensive fail, Kansas State beat us into submission and I'm not sure where the blame should be placed for Tech, but it certainly isn't at Trevone's fleet feet.  All things equal, no way Casey scrambles to make the play TB did to hit Boyce against West Virginia, nor does he keep UT's defense off balance with his scrambling ability.  Considering what Baylor just did to Kansas State, the fact that TB put 49 on them certainly holds more merit than it did at the time as well.  All I'm saying is, since that Iowa State game, Boykin has come along much faster than just about anyone could've hoped and gotten a team that everyone gave up on to 7 wins.  Do you stunt that development in hopes that Casey really has cleaned up his act?  I think we can all agree that the team seems to be playing harder for Boykin than they did for Casey, probably because they know they can trust him to be around.  With all the second chances given to Casey by this coaching staff, will he ever be able to earn back the trust of his team, and will they even want to give it to him?  I'm not so sure.

Of course, Boykin could render this conversation moot by beating out Pachall in the spring, but I suppose the fact that he should even have to is the real issue here.

What do you guys think?

OU Preview



First off, I'd like to apologize for my absence this week from the Spitblood.  Sometimes grown up stuff takes precedent.  Second of all, I'd like everyone to please take note of the greatest fan of all time in the photo above.  I tried for a while to come up with a clever caption for that picture, but sometimes actions speak louder than words.  This guy's actions consist of tube socks, mesh shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt, and what appears to be some sort of old school helmet, although judging by the rest of his attire he might be legally required to wear that.  Thank you sir for going out in public.  This has to be the kind of guy that makes other OU fans cringe.  Let's hope for the sake of humanity that this creature has never procreated.  This guy deserved an entire paragraph to himself.  Now I'll try to regain focus and actually draft up some sort of preview.

As hard as it may be to take Superfan up there seriously, the same can't be said about their football team.  I'd gladly argue anyone that wants to that the OU team we will play tomorrow will be the best team we play to date.  Yes, K State was ranked #2 and beat OU, but that was not the same K State team that took down the Sooners a couple months ago, and this is far from the same OU team.  Not to mention Klein was hurt, and I don't care what you think.  OU is firing on all cylinders right now...offensively.  Defensively, not so much.  However, is it their defense that has really struggled or is it that they went against the best offenses in the Big 12 and don't deal well with the up tempo play that most of our conference foes employ?  I guess we will have to wait and see bright and early on Saturday.

There's plenty of reason for everyone to get off their asses and head over to the stadium (and stay in there) Saturday morning, so please no more empty seats.  We don't have a ton of seniors, but this will be the last time many of us get to see the likes of Matthew Tucker, Kenny Cain, and yes, Skye Dawson, in person.  Consider what they and all the other Seniors have accomplished at TCU, it behooves you to show them the respect and support they've earned over the years.  So get to your seats early and cheer these guys on when they are announced one by one and take the field at The Carter for the final time.

Also, we haven't won a home Big 12 game yet this year, and I'll say a good part of the reason why is because the home-field advantage has been abysmal.  Do you really want our team to not win a single conference game at home in their inaugural season?  Think of how great this season could have been if we had made our brand new, state of the art stadium a semi-tough venue to play in.  Let's at least try to make it happen once this year.  I'm tired of wasting my breath pleading to the fans to show much needed and deserved support, so I'll get off my high horse now and try to break down a little football instead.

Offense

We've seen some great QB play this year in the Big 12 (Klein, Smith, Doege, Florence), and we've seen some miserable QB play as well (The University of Texas).  Landry Jones is playing better right now than any we have seen.  The addition of Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders has provided quite a security blanket in the slot for Jones, and he's the main reason I think the OU offense is on fire right now.  Even in the loss to Notre Dame, Saunders hauled in 15 catches for 181 yards.  Not too shabby for a guy who was playing in his 2nd game ever in an OU uniform.  Since that Notre Dame loss, OU has put up 35 points or more in their last 4 games, including topping 50 in the last 2.  The fear in Norman all offseason was that they had no receivers other than Kenny Stills, but the emergence of transfers Saunders and Justin Brown from Penn State, as well as the emergence of Sterling Shephard have really eased the tension and made life easier for Landry Jones.  While Stills is the big name in the receiving corps, he likes to cross-dress and Jason Verrett has gone on record saying he will cover him all day, so I don't fear Stills much on Saturday.  The same can't be said about Saunders.

Similar to TCU, OU doesn't lean heavily on 1 or 2 backs, but they have an abundance of guys who will carry the ball.  Damien Williams leads the way with 790 yards, but carries will also go to Brennan Clay, Roy Finch and Trey Millard.  However, everyone knows that when it's a short yardage or red zone situation that OU will call on Blake Bell a/k/a The Belldozer.  Bell, the 6'6, 255 lb. backup QB, has scored 11 rushing TD's this year and is the only person in the nation who can claim a rushing TD against the vaunted Notre Dame defense.  Spoiler alert:  he's not going to throw it, and he's still hard as shit to stop.  At 6'6 254, he's basically bigger than anyone we play on defense that isn't a DT, so that's not gonna be fun.  Hit him low and pray I guess.

I won't spend too much time addressing the TCU offense, since after reading about 5 of these from me now and seeing every game we've played, you guys know what our offense has to offer.  If Boykin is healthy enough to throw and keep the OU defense off balance then we have a chance.  We may not have thrown much at all last week against Texas, but the first play was about a 40 yard play-action that kept Texas's secondary honest the whole game.  Hopefully the additional rest has given TB and the others some time to get healthy, because the game plan from UT won't beat OU.  Matthew Tucker appears to be back to full strength which is a huge plus in the run game, because now we have the thunder to Catalon's lightning that I was hoping for in last week's preview.  Last week, Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter combined for 2 offensive touches, and one of those was an incomplete pass.  That will not get it done this week.  Those are probably our 2 biggest playmakers, so let's figure out a way to get them the ball more.  I've said it once and I'll say it again- screen passes please, especially if TB is too banged up to throw downfield.

Edge:  Oklahoma by a wide margin.

Defense

Remember when OU's defense was destroying David Ash and UT to the tune of 36-2 in the first half of the Red River Rivalry and everyone thought the Sooner defense was amazing?  Well, what they didn't take into consideration was the horrendous offensive product that UT puts on the field.  In the last 3 games, OU has surrendered almost 1,700 yards of offense while allowing Baylor to score 34, WVU to score 49 (and completely gash them on the ground with Tavon Austin, a WR), and 48 to Oklahoma State (and their 3rd string QB).  I know the Big 12 has some phenomenal offenses and those are 3 of the best I just mentioned, but OU has shown the ability to stop nobody in about a month.  The good thing for OU is that we clearly don't possess a high powered offense like that and we are far from up-tempo like the previous 3 opponents are.  The bad news for OU is that their weakness over the course of the season (especially recently) has been their inability to stop the run, which is obviously our strength.  Baylor and WVU are air raid offenses that put up 252 and 458 yards rushing  on them respectively.  Not a great matchup defensively for the Sooners.

For TCU, you know what we get defensively.  When we are good TCU, we are getting constant pressure with our DL and not having to dial up many blitzes.  Jason Verrett and Kevin White lock down the outside receivers while our talented safeties and LB's cover the slots and backs.  We create turnovers based on pressure and ball hawking defensive backs.  When we are bad TCU, we can get any push, are forced to bring pressure from elsewhere which creates matchup problems with our LB's and teams are able to find WR's running free in space.  Tech would be the best example of this.  Lots of open targets for Doege.  Fortunately for TCU, we haven't seen that defense in quite a while.  Unfortunately as I mentioned earlier, Landry Jones is pretty damn good and he's on an incredible hot streak right now.  Defensively I see two keys for us:  1) Get pressure with the front 4.  the new found health of Maponga to bookend Fields has been a godsend, but so has the ability of Chucky Hunter to get push up the middle and get right in the face of QB's.  It's a bitch to throw when a 300 pounder is shoving your own lineman into your face.  2) Find someone to lock down Jalen Saunders in the slot.  I'd suggest Olabode, but I love him having the ability to roam the middle and make instinctual plays.  Sam Carter or Derrick Kindred are going to have to be that guy.  If we see a LB covering him at any time, consider us fucked on that play.

Edge:  TCU, by a pretty good margin.

Special Teams

OU has had both Jalen Saunders and Justin Brown take a punt return back for a touchdown.  Roy Finch has taken a kickoff return back for a TD as well.  Frankly, their 27.5 ypr on kickoffs and 16.5 ypr on punts is downright frightening, so they've got us there.  Also, we tend to have the shakiest hands ever on punts no matter who returns them.  I am loving the duo of Boyce and Carter on kickoff returns now, and we almost had Boyce house one for an early dagger against UT.  We are more than capable of making something happen in the return game, but OU has already done so a few times.  OU's kicker, Mike Hunnicutt, is 14-17 on the year with a long of 45, so he's consistent but not necessarily a bomber.  Jaden Oberkrom is 18-25 with a long of 50, but is a much better kicker at home than he is on the road.  Tres Way averages 42.6 per punt with 17 of his 41 punts going inside of the 20, however he has had 1 blocked.  Ethan Perry averages 44.5 per punt with 14 of his 48 going inside of the 20.  I'll quit boring everyone with special teams stats now.

Edge:  OU, barely.

Coaching

Big Game Bob isn't exactly Big Game Bob anymore, but he's still one of the best coaches in the country.  Gary Patterson is the greatest coach in the history of sports.  Ghosts of Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant and John Wooden would probably all attend a coaching clinic put on by GMFP.

Edge:  TCU, barely. 

The Pick:  On paper, it looks to me like OU is an overwhelming favorite.  Vegas thinks they are a 6 point favorite.  I have a hard time seeing this Senior class going out without a single home conference win in the Big 12, and we all know what GP can do with a few extra days to prepare.  I think he's able to neutralize the potent Oklahoma offensive attack, and I think the extra rest gave our offensive players some much needed time to heal.  Not to mention the confidence gained by winning on the road in Austin.  We finish the regular season with a W.  TCU 27 - Oklahoma 23.


Morning Dump: 11/30


Football:
Sooners must contain TCU's backs to keep Big 12 title within reach - The Oklahoma Daily
Humbling start leads TCU's Verrett into spotlight - San Antonio Express-News
TCU Neighborhoods grapple over parking cars in yards during football games - Star-Telegram
Writers break down TCU-OU game - Star-Telegram
TCU won't surprise OU this time - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
Keys to the game - Frogs O' War
Did TCU's Johnny Crouch really give back a touchdown in 1954? - Daily Oklahoman
Leach vs. Anti-Leach on the line - College Confidential

Men's Basketball:
Short-handed frogs step up against southern utah - Star-Telegram

Swimming:
TCU's Rasch shines on first day of swimming - Star-Telegram

Volleyball:
Young Girls flock to TCU games to admire players - TCU360.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Keep GP Normal.


YOU GET THAT LONGHORN NETWORK PAID VIXEN AWAY FROM OUR MAN!!

Told you I'd be back.

While this doesn't necessarily signify a regular return to posting for SWW, in the wake of the Frogs straight up ass beating of the University of Texas, I felt there were some things that needed to be addressed. First off, in terms of the "most satisfying" wins of the GP Era, this has to be #1 with a bullet, right?  Now, don't take that to mean that I believe this is the "biggest" win because, until GP is hoisting that little Waterford football over his enormous brain, the Rose Bowl is going to be Exhibit A in that department.  But that victory, no matter how great it felt and how many tears it brought to the eyes of our fanbase the world over, still lacks a little in the satisfaction department because we weren't able to reach the ultimate prize.  It's going to become even more of a "what if" scenario once the NCAA vacates Auburn's purchasing of said prize.

(Ok, I'll go ahead and call bullshit on myself because not being able to compete for the title was the furthest thing from my mind that chilly evening in Pasadena, but just go with me for the sake of the post...)

But beating UT?  In Austin?  In year one of the Big 12?  With a bunch of freshmen?  On Thanksgiving night the week that the Big 12 basically awarded UT a home game on Thanksgiving night from here to eternity?  Like a 15 year old scotch after a long day at the office, that's pretty damned satisfying.  Not to say that beating UT should be the stick by which all future Big 12 seasons should be measured because, based on what's going on down in College Station it sure looks like there could be a new top dog in the state of Texas, at least on paper.  But given all the shit we've had to go through since the SWC disbanded between getting left out of the Big 12 and belittled by the Fighting Deloss' and their ilk at every turn, 20-13 is a pretty swell cherry on top of what has otherwise been a roller coaster of a season.

The real story, though, is the WAY the game was won - with a power running game, which TCU hasn't had all season, and a shutdown defense, which we have.  Despite some of the UT faithful crying foul on the Frogs for "playing dirty," any unbiased observer with half a brain knew what they were seeing was just a methodical beating by a superior team.  No trick plays, no momentum shifting special teams breakthroughs, just 11 guys lining up on offense another 11 lining up on defense knocking the hell out of the team in Orange for 60 minutes.  It was TCU playing "old man SEC Football," which is pretty ironic when you consider that, post-Colt, Texas has been building their team to do EXACTLY that and come up short each time.  To put it in perspective, including Thursday, TCU averages 161 rushing yards per game; On Thursday evening, the Frogs rushed for 217.  Johnathan Gray - you might remember him? - was out-gained by Trevone Boykin, BJ Catalon AND Matthew Tucker and his one working leg.  We won't be able to judge whether or not he made the correct college decision for another few years, but at least for one evening it appears he might have sold himself short by going to Austin.

But, as Newton's Laws of Motion have taught us, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, thus it went in Austin.  There was the usual - UT fans discrediting the win and saying UT lost the game more than TCU won it - the unusual - a UT player reportedly telling Jason Verrett, he of the 6 INTs and guaranteed spot on the All Big 12 team if not All America, that he "didn't belong in the Big 12" and then, of course, there was the maddening.   Now, if you're a TCU fan and you haven't developed a thick skin by this point, then you clearly have not been paying attention to how outsiders feel about our success.  It's not just envy, it's oftentimes outright disdain, and underlying it all is the sentiment that we don't deserve it and, more directly, we don't deserve our coach.  So when lyle told me as he was walking out of the stadium he heard someone say, "Patterson is going to look GREAT in Burnt Orange next season," I know I shouldn't have let it bother me, but by god it does.  It really does, and for a couple of reasons.  For one, it's because, honestly, a job opening in Austin is the only one that scares the absolute hell out of me.  Not that GP is an automatic goner should Mack be ushered out to pasture this year or the next, but it goes without saying he'd be their top candidate and, as it is with most things, the Horns typically don't stop until they get what they want.

Which brings me to the other reason why that particular fan reaction bothered me so much: It's the arrogance of UT and their mentality that the world is theirs.  They've been getting their way for so long, they think its their right to pillage an athletic department that does things the right way - placing equal importance on wins, integrity and money -  and has been doing so for a long time in order to further their success.  As suggested above, you'd be crazy to say there's zero chance GP would look at UT should they come calling.  Again, I'm not saying he'd leave, but he'd be nuts to not at least listen to the most valuable athletic program in the nation, especially as they seemingly have a bottomless printing press for money despite doing nothing to earn it on the field in recent years.  But for UT to just assume that if they say "jump" Patterson will say, "how high?" rubs me wrong in a severe way.

But is UT's mindset - and, for that matter, the mindsets of Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky - a product of arrogance or ignorance?  It's a lot of one and a little of the other, of course, but while pondering this question, I couldn't help but come back to one thought regarding why everyone just assumes Patterson is dying to get out of Fort Worth:  Due to the overwhelming amount of Conference realignment over the past year and it's continuation just this past week, I'm not so sure other athletic program realize we are in the Big 12.  I say that without a trace of sarcasm.  I genuinely believe there are self-proclaimed smart and plugged in people that, if not ignorant of our affiliation, still view TCU as a "mid major" program.  That no coach in his right mind would view TCU as a permanent career solution instead of a stepping stone to something "bigger."  And that's what makes me angry.

Taking UT out of the equation for a minute, let's focus on the here and now.  By all accounts, Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee believe that, because they are SEC, they can have any Coach in the country.  Tennessee is 100% sold that Jon Gruden, despite no affiliation with the school, will be the head man in Knoxville come spring camp, Arkansas sites have been offering up names like Chip Kelly and Mike Gundy with Patterson as a SAFE choice, and Auburn... well, I haven't done much investigating, but after purchasing a title, I think it's safe to assume they're pretty high on themselves and would view Patterson as an easy hire.  However, the fact that Saban's shadow is getting more and more pronounced leads me to believe they'll be in the delusional, "LET'S HIRE BILL BELLICHICK!!" camp and would view Patterson as a safe hire at best.  And Kentucky, God Bless 'em, at least they have basketball because that football program is worse than Baylor. Seriously, Baylor's last coach, Guy Morriss, left Kentucky for Waco once upon a time.  That really happened.  Unless he's the clear cut #1 choice, there's no chance Patterson even entertains overtures from another school.  And if he decides to join forces with one of the two schools finishing at the bottom of the SEC West, otherwise known as the best division in college football?  Well then I guess we weren't mean to be.

Admittedly, had these particular off-season openings been in play after the Rose Bowl year, I would've been terrified considering back then we had no hope of ever gaining entry into the Big 12; Back then we were still excited to have accepted a Big East invite a few months earlier.  But we've weathered Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas before so I expect we'll do it again.  Of course, maybe I'm wrong and GP, to quote The Austin Statesman's Cedric Golden,"has career aspirations that extend outside of Fort Worth," but to those teams who think GP is just chomping at the bit to join their clubs, here are 8 foodstuffs for thought:


  1. GP just spearheaded a campaign to renovate a stadium that will one day bear his name in some capacity, possibly whether he leaves or not.  You can give Chris Del Conte all the credit in the world, but let's be honest, without GP we'd be asking Allen High School to share the field next time we wanted to play in a state of the art stadium.  After putting so much time in effort into the biggest fundraising campaign our fair school has ever seen, would he just walk away?  
  2. GP is about to complete his first season in the Big 12 and go 7-5 at worst, this despite losing over 20 players he expected to have when the calendar turned 2012.  Said players included two starting running backs and a potential All-Conference Quarterback.  TCU has played 16 true freshmen this season and still beaten presumptive Conference favorites Texas and West Virginia, both on the road.  Presuming an off-season at least relatively quiet compared to this past one, TCU probably enters the 2013 as a Top 20 team and Big 12 favorite alongside Oklahoma State and, yes, Texas.  He's going to walk away from that to take over a team that just completed the biggest negative turnaround for a national champion in NCAA history? Or to live in Knoxville, Tennessee?  Child please.
  3. GP just built a "modest" home in the vicinity of the stadium.  This isn't a deal breaker, but you have to feel like he at least wants to put his feet up in the place a time or two before skipping town, no?
  4. GP may not have iPhone money, but he's not a poor man by any stretch (tongue firmly in cheek).  Being a private school, TCU does not publicize what they pay the face of the University, but by all accounts his total compensation package is over $3 million annually, and probably in the $3.5 million range, making him one of the top ten paid Coaches in the game.  On top of that, many presume that one of the reasons it has been so hard to money whip Patterson out of Fort Worth is his "behind the scenes" compensation in the form of investments and other opportunities through some of our plugged in boosters, compensation that would have to be made up should he take another gig.  Presuming these speculations are accurate, that would keep all but the most highly funded athletic departments out of the running.
  5. GP is never getting fired.  Seriously, think of what he's weathered just this past year with the drug bust and the Pachall Fiasco.  Lots of stones were flung at the program during that time, but at no point was the prospect of GP losing his job raised.  Keep in mind that Jim Tressel was fired because his players were getting tatted up using nefarious payment methods.  TCU  players were selling drugs out of their homes.  I'm by no means saying GP should've been put on the chopping block for this, but the fact is that coaches have been fired for far more menial reasons.  Short of taking the Frogs decided advantage of being the only Metroplex area NCAA program not to have received the Death Penalty away, he's not going anywhere unless he says so.  Few other major programs would give their Coach that much leeway.  
  6. GP has been at TCU for over fifteen years.  Much like the the house situation, I doubt this is a deal breaker... but it kind of is, isn't it?  Since coming to town as a relative unknown Defensive Coordinator in 1997, GP has all but become the face of Fort Worth.  It used to be said that if Mack Brown ever wanted to run for Governor, he'd be a shoo-in.  I'm not so sure about that now, but if Patterson ever set his sights on running for Mayor, god help whoever challenges him.  He's become as much ingrained in the landscape of the FW Community as barbeque and cowboy boots.  In an era where football stalwarts such as Michigan, Notre Dame and USC have turned over multiple coaches in the past decade, GP has stayed true to TCU and TCU has rewarded his commitment.  You really can't put a price on that kind of reciprocity, can you?
  7. GP believes he can win a national title at TCU.  And why shouldn't he?  TCU has the money, has the facilities, has the cachet and is in a recruiting hotbed.  The Big 12 is bar none one of the top 2 Conferences on a yearly basis, thus providing enough leeway for one loss to not completely doom your season.  The only knock on the Big 12 is the lack of a Conference title game - the only of the 5 majors to not have one - but you have to imagine that this will be rectified in the near future as the Conference tectonic plates continue to shift.  On the flipside, though, had Kansas State just beaten Baylor - BAYLOR! - they're playing Texas this weekend for a guaranteed slot in the title game without having to play a Championship.  Would you rather be at TCU knowing that if you handle your 9 Conference games you're probably in, or Tennessee where you get to play Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in your division, Alabama as a cross division rival, and either aggy, LSU or Bama again in a Championship game to punch your ticket?  I'm taking the former.  
  8. GP cares too much about football to Coach at UT.  And this is where I think the decision gets made, should it need to be, because I honestly think UT is the only job that should truly give us reason for panic.  As the Head Coach at TCU, Patterson has been able to live in at least relative obscurity.  He doesn't go unnoticed, but he can pretty comfortably have his weekly dinners at Del Frisco's without getting bombarded by fans and non-fans alike.  But being the head coach at UT?  That's like being the most under the microscope Politician in existence.  At TCU, GP can be football football football and then, time permitting, do the glad handing and baby kissing, but at UT the job is 1A Football and 1B letting the athletic department stick their hand up your ass so you can be their puppet. Think about Mack Brown, the PERFECT Coach for the UT mold.  No one would ever mistake him for a brilliant tactician, which is why UT consistently gave him carte blanche to hire the top coordinators in the country to run the football side of things so he could continue to go out, woo the crowds to generate money and woo the mothers to generate top ranked recruiting classes.  Patterson is pretty much the exact opposite.  Despite having a solid defensive coordinator in Dick Bumpas, GP is ankle deep in that play calling each and every game.  This isn't a knock on Bump, but you have to ask yourself, if he's running the show, why hasn't he ever had UT-type money thrown at him from another program to come run their defense?  Again, Bumpas is a great Coach and has the accolades to back it up, but the defense is the GP show, no matter who else is on board.  As far as the glad handing thing goes,  this isn't to say that GP can't be the Mack Brown type politician.  After all, when he first became the head man, he was surly to the media and geared 100% towards football whereas now, as mentioned, he's still 100% football, but he also just helped spearhead a $160 million stadium renovation, a process which required LOTS of backslapping and baby kissing.  But do you honestly see him taking time away from his stringent planning to give bullshit interviews to the Longhorn Network?  Or, and this is a big one, do you think the most secretive man in the Big 12 is going to allow CAMERAS into his practices?  It's worn Mack thin in year 2 and he lives for that stuff, just imagine what that would do to Patterson.  All the money in the world wouldn't cause him to alter the strategy he's gone to war with year in, year out or, if it did, you wouldn't be getting the same Coach you paid for.  Call me crazy, but unless the Longhorns are willing to COMPLETELY overhaul the culture they've so carefully cultivated all of these years, they may not want to order too many burnt orange mock turtles, size double X.    


I could be wrong about all this and GP could be out of FW as soon as next Monday; Arkansas has reportedly agreed to terms with a current HC, and the only argument between their fans is if his name starts with a Pat or a Pet. But I just don't think this is the year.  If there even is a year.  The only reason he ever leaves Fort Worth is if he truly believes he's done all that he can do and it's time for a new challenge.  Gary's getting on the other side of 50 now, so if he were to make a move I suppose it better happen soon, but he's had plenty of logical chances to do so in the past and hasn't taken them.  Why would he decide to leave now when he has every advantage he's ever wanted right there in Fort Worth?LONG LIVE GP!

**UPDATE** So I typed this up and had it scheduled to post well before last night's rumors started circulating, so there may be some discrepancies.  For those who missed it, rumor is that Arkansas offered Patterson the same 5 year/$27.5 million deal they are currently pitching to Les Miles, only to have GP tell them, "Nah, I'm going to stay in Fort Worth, instead."  Naturally, our fans are going to fall into 2 camps on this.  The half full camp is going to say, "Wow, he must really be committed to TCU, and apparently they're committed to him."  According to Stefan Stephenson, he was informed that TCU was willing to match any offer tossed out Patterson's way, no matter how ridiculous, so perhaps there's something to that theory.  However, we're naturally going to have the half empty camp saying that he only turned it down because he has his eye on a bigger prize, say Texas or maybe even LSU.  Given, there's no concrete evidence that Arkansas actually made this offer, and no one outside of a tight knit group of folks will likely ever know, but usually where there's smoke there's fire so, at least for now, it looks like our man is sticking around.  Stay tuned.

Morning Dump: 11/28



Football:
Does the Sooner defense catch a break this week? - Crimson and Cream Machine
TCU has chance to take another step against OU - Fox Sports SW
Patterson could change tradition to help TCU at home - Star-Telegram
TCU's defense has improved steadily to finish strong - Star-Telegram
GMFP still listening, but TCU has a lot to offer - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
K-State's Snyder still favors a Big 12 championship game - SI.com
How TCU gashed Texas on a simple zone read - Burnt Orange Nation
How GP keeps building elite defenses: Recruiting Perspective - SBNation

Sillyness:
Auburn list expands to include GMFP - al.com

Women's Basketball:
Women to face SMU tonight - gofrogs.com
Basketball faces SMU Wednesday - TCU360.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Frogs in the NFL - Week 12


Andy Dalton - QB Bengals - Defeated the Raiders 34-10 - Dalton had an outstanding game Sunday as the Bengals crushed Oakland in Cincinnati. The Bengals, who benefitted from a very questionable/terrible call on a special teams fumble, still controlled the game from the opening drive as Andy threw for 210 yards and three TDs.

Jeremy Kerley - WR Jets - Lost to NE 49-19 - The Jets season has disintegrated into QB controversies and locker room drama. Kerley had a solid game though, catching seven balls for 86 yards, but did fumble once.

David Hawthorne - LB Saints - lost to 49ers 31-21 - Hawthorne had six tackles for NO in the loss.

Jerry Hughes - LB Colts - Defeated the Bills 20-13 - Jerry had three tackles in the win and continues to be a feel good story on the feel good team of the year.

Marcus Cannon - OT Patriots - Defeated the Bills 37-31. I didn't watch this game, so I'm not sure if Cannon played much, but Brady was 22-38 and was only sacked once. They also produced 117 yards on the ground. 

Colin Jones - S Panthers- Beat the Eagles 30-22 - Jones had two tackles in the win over the dumpster fire that is the Iggles. 

Jason Phillips - LB Panthers - Beat the Eagles 30-22 - Phillips had 1 tackle.

Clint Gresham - LS Seahawks - lost to the Dolphins 24-21- I can't figure out this Seahawks team at all. 

Malcolm Williams - DB Patriots - Defeated the Jets 49-19 - Williams is no longer on the Pats roster - back to the practice squad maybe?


Tank Carder - LB Browns - beat Pittsburgh 20-14 - unfortunately, Tank made the wrong kind of news this week, as he was all over the blogs for some questionable tweets. He did record two tackles in the game, and apologized for his remarks online after OutSports forced the issue.

Daryl Washington - LB Cardinals - lost to the Rams 31-17 - Hawthorne had nine tackles and a sack in the loss, but at this point, unless he can play QB, it's not going to matter much.

Marshall Newhouse - OT Packers - lost to the Giants 38-10 - I looked up at this game from the airport restaurant and they were highlighting Marshall as he got owned by Osi on a strip sack of Aaron Rodgers. You don't generally want to see your o-linemen highlighted during a broadcast. Rodgers was sacked five times in the game, and the inconsistent line play has contributed to the Pack's struggles.