Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Questions revisited: #1

There were a few critics of my choice to make offensive line the #1 question facing the Horned Frogs as they prepared for spring practice. I understand where they were coming from, seeing as the O-Line has been a team strength for a long time and I think we all have confidence that Eddie Williamson is going to find some warriors to control the line of scrimmage. But until he's found those warriors, the entire TCU offense- which has enormous potential with all of the returning backs and receivers- hinges on developing the next great set of "big uglies".

The good news is that, of any position group, the offensive line appears to have gelled the most this spring. Center James Fry and right guard Blaize Foltz, both seniors and returning starters, anchor the interior where they'll be joined by junior left guard John Wooldridge. On the outside, sophomore Tayo Fabuluje appears to have earned the starting job at right tackle and junior James Dunbar looks to be the starting left tackle. It should be noted that Dunbar was also the starting left tackle at this time last year before eventually losing that job to Jeff Olson while battling some academic issues- but for the most part, this starting five appears to be solid.

The even better news is that one of the names we heard Patterson praising the most this spring is a back up offensive lineman. Junior Eric Tausch, seen in the photo above playing center, was mentioned frequently for having had an outstanding spring. He was already seen as a quality understudy for Fry in the middle of the line, but also filled in admirably for Fabuluje at right tackle when the BYU transfer missed a few practices due to some travel complications at the end of spring break. That versatility is likely to pay off with significant playing time this fall.

In terms of depth on the line, Patterson stated "We get five starters plus Tausch. That gives us six. I told you we have to get to eight.”

Two strong candidates to fill those other two slots missed at least a portion of the spring-sophomore Michael Thompson and redshirt freshman Bobby Thompson- no relation. Both are big and were recruits that excited the coaching staff upon signing with TCU, and Michael played very well as a freshman last fall before succumbing to a knee injury.

While both of the Thompsons continue to get healthy, guys like senior Trevius Jones, sophomore Nykiren Wellingotn and redshirt freshmen Carter Wall, Brady Foltz and Jamelle Naff got a chance to show their merit. There wasn't much coming out of Patterson in regards to these guys, so the depth of the O-line may remain a question for a bit long- but overall, this was a very productive spring for the guys up front.


SnK said...

Could be wrong, but didn't they flip Tayo to LT and Dunbar to RT?

missiletoad said...