Thursday, February 23, 2012

Top Questions for Spring Practice: #3

The area that needed the most improvement at the beginning of the 2011 season, pass defense, ended up indeed being the area that the Frogs improved upon the most by the end of the fall. They never did get all the way to where TCU defense of the past have been, though, and this fall the secondary will face a whole new wave of challenges in the pass-happy Big 12. That's why, along with graduation and out-going transfers, cornerback registers as the #3 question facing the Frogs heading into spring practice- and (SPOILER ALERT!) why safety registers in the next slot at #2.

Despite his recurring ability to be beaten by the long play, Greg McCoy was a mostly reliable corner whose speed will be sorely missed now that he's graduated. Travaras Battle was seen as an up & comer at the cornerback position, who had paid his dues in the special teams realm (remember his fantastic play downing a punt near the goal line in the Rose Bowl?) and was looking to transfer his talents to the defense. His departure from the program after the 2011 season has depleted the depth at bit at a position where the Frogs have historically had trouble finding quality backups.

Jason Verrett, who perhaps personified the Frogs' defensive improvement last year more than anyone as he ended up with 58 tackles, and interception and 4 other passes deflected, is likely to hold on to his starting job as a junior this fall. Coming into the spring, sophomore Kevin White is the leading candidate to start opposite Verrett. White played in 12 games last fall, and had 18 tackles.

Pressing White for that other starting job (and really, even pressing Verrett for his- I wouldn't consider him a lock) will be three guys we haven't seen on the field yet. Keivon Gamble, who transferred in this semester after a stellar two years at Trinity Valley CC, is probably the most likely to crash the starting lineup. Travoskey Garrett, a 6'1" redshirt freshman from Lufkin who many felt would make an impact last year before being injured in fall camp, may have something to say about that, though. Fellow redshirt freshman Kolby Griffin was also highly regarded coming out of high school in the Houston area, so he is another candidate. Rounding out the pre-spring depth chart is senior walk-on Brian Alexis, who hasn't played much over the years but did perform admirably in an emergency fill-in role in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State as a redshirt freshman.

Unlike at many other positions, there isn't the looming threat of an uber-talented true freshman that will arrive in the fall, threatening to take incumbents' hard-earned jobs. While there are a few members of the incoming recruiting class that could play corner, none of them have been specifically tabbed as a future CB. That's why it will be up the to the guys listed above to find, amongst themselves, two suitable starters and a couple of sufficient backups.

What are your thoughts on the Frog CBs heading into the spring? Who do you will think end up starting, and who do you look for to have a strong showing in the weeks ahead?


J. Thaddeus Toad said...

what happened to battle?

J. Thaddeus Toad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TCU_ALUM said...

New TCU Logo

shortnkerley's said...

I wanna see Garrett. Battle got the boot. Don't know why.

EdK said...

Verrett had a lot of tackles last year because he got picked on so much. I am not optimistic about having him back there next season.

Gamble, hopefully, will be a much bigger improvement from the juco ranks than Verrett was. TCU doesn't dip into that well very often, unless it is for someone they think will start.

Cowtown Food Junkie said...

Have heard Garrett is a stud, so I'm sure we'll see him quite a bit. Gamble looks like he can play and being here fir the spring will help. Verrett improved as the year went on. I think he will be a guy we can count on back there. I'm honestly more worried about our lack of a consistent pass rush than our ability to cover. Even the best secondary can only cover for 4-5 seconds at the most. Maponga was the only one who was a threat regularly. Hopefully, between Matt Anderson and the incoming freshmen DE's we can get a better pass rush.