Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spitblood Discussion Question: Change.

Chris Del Conte

As vikingfrog pointed out to me in a non-spitblood setting earlier today, it's kind of interesting how little attention the whole Texas Cartel University situation received when compared to the onslaught of opinions from commenters old and new regarding the proposed mascot reconfiguration. Your school and football team being dragged through the mud by over zealous police officers with questionable agendas in a manner so hasty that they misidentified a key suspect so eager were they to bring the "accusations" to light? Meh, what're you gonna do? But Phil Knight's crew trying to take an already weak representation of your mascot and make it slightly more threatening all in the name of recruiting and shitton of new uniform combinations intended to paint the blank canvases of high school recruits minds purple? OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!! I'm not sure what that says about everyone's priorities, but we probably shouldn't think too hard about it if we want to keep our collective sense of self worth high.

Fortunately for you guys, though, it appears TCU heard your cries of "help! police! murder!" regarding the proposed mascoticide as CDC directly addressed the situation in his Notes on a Scorecard. Copy/Paste ENGAGE:

TCU is fulfilling its ambitious vision for the future through our long-term relationship with the world's most innovative brand, Nike. We have enlisted their branding, product and design talent to help us achieve our goals to continue to transform TCU into a world-class institution. One piece of this is powerful and unique branding that's consistent across all athletics and allows us to respect the past and represent the bright future of TCU. Much like we saw a few weeks ago when a "leaked" version of our football schedule made the rounds and wound up being different than our actual slate, we are in ongoing discussions with Nike and nothing has been finalized in regards to a new logo.

So, at least for now, it would appear you can put the torches and pitchforks away and return to your regularly scheduled afternoon lack of doing real, actual work. But before you do so, re-read that last sentence again.

I'm not using this post as a vehicle to suggest that Spitblood as a singularly entity is important or widespread enough to warrant change regarding anything on campus. In fact, I HIGHLY doubt any TCU administrators visit the site regularly, if at all; CDC once stated he had heard of SB but had never visited, an assertion I would deem to be true. We can all agree that if the powers that be paid attention to what was written on the message boards and heeded the advice contained therein, AGC would never be undergoing a facelift that would cause re-seating for, heaven forbid, the sake of progress. Not to mention Casey Pachall would be kicked off the team for running the largest drug smuggling ring this side of the border and every single Coach in the University system would've been fired at one point or another. The University has plenty of properly informed decision makers controlling the purse strings and wielding an ax when it comes to big time, University rebranding scenarios such as this one.

But... it can't be a coincidence that he addressed the issue and denied anything being final ONE DAY AFTER Spitblood created an uproar, right?
Spitblood isn't the most heavily trafficked of the major TCU fan sites, but we are the ones who published the "leaked" schedule first. Sure, it turned out to be incorrect, but at the time we had no reason to believe that, and it at least generated some fun, harmless discussion. We're also the ones who generated the most pageviews for the "leaked" mascot, an image which most of us had seen over a week ago but one that we chose to keep under wraps until receiving enough assurances that it was accurate so as not to jump the gun again. Clearly we may have done so, but, again, we had no reason to believe that we were receiving false information. We may not have well connected golf course sources, but the few we do have proven reliable in the past. And who can forget the Rose Bowl uniform fiasco?

Personally, I believe the schedule leak was speculation on the part of someone in the know and, in the age of instant information, a private email was circulated to an entire fanbase, causing no harm except for the permanent damage my circulatory system received at the proposed SMU/Tech/Baylor circuit. And rectifying the Rose Bowl uniform situation more than likely had everything to do with the coaching staff, the team and the major players in the athletic department. The average fan such as ourselves may have agreed with the decision, but we're kidding ourselves if we think we had anything to do with it.

But I find I find it EXTREMELY convenient that SB posts a rumored change, the readership revolts, and TCU makes a swift announcement that "nothing has been finalized" and "discussions with Nike are ongoing." It's just too perfect. Again, I don't genuinely think that major decisions are made based solely on message board chatter, but with the vast majority of your fanbase having the ability to give their opinions instantaneously in a public forum, I'd be stunned if our kind didn't at least have SOME influence.

Could we have been the force driving the head honchos back to the table? Is SB finally relevant in the real world? All I know is, if CDC is secretly using the Spitblood comment section as a secret focus group, at least he goes with an award winning group such as yourselves. And if the final version of the new mascot comes back as a disembodied head with blood shooting from its eyes? We certainly have a case for copyrighting that sucker. So give yourselves a big ole pat on the back, Spitblood, and have a drink to celebrate a job well done.

Now that I've properly buried the discussion question - Since we are now activists for University change, how else can we use our power for good? Make the band stop jingling their keys in blowout games? Enact a, "If you can physically stand and cheer but won't, not even in game-altering situations where the crowd noise could legitimately swing the outcome in TCU's favor, get the hell out!!" policy for season ticket holders? Petition the football team to train a horse to kick field goals next year because they have strong legs and can be locked in pens without fear of retribution, or at least put ankle monitors on our real life human kickers to assure legal compliance? The sky is seriously the limit, guys. Get to it!

Top Questions for Spring Practice: #2

One of the most difficult- and most beautiful- things about the TCU defense is that, in the 4-2-5 scheme, the linebackers and safeties are each asked to essentially perform the duties of a player and a half. When things are going right, it can seem at times like there are 12 or 13 players on the field because of how swiftly the Frog defenders close the open spaces that opposing offenses seek. When things are going as well, the intricacies of the scheme can seem to overwhelm inexperienced defenders, delaying reaction time and resulting in extra yardage gained and points scored by opponents. That's why, with such a young group of safeties, this position is second my list of questions facing the Frogs heading into spring practice.

Coming into spring as tentative starters are junior Elisha Olabode at free, sophomore Sam Carter at strong and sophomore Jonathan Anderson at weak safety. Olabode, who played well at corner as a true freshman out of Cedar Hill in 2010, totaled 15 tackles as well as 2 pass break-ups and a fumble recovery last year while playing in all 13 games as Johnny Fobbs' backup at free safety. Carter, a converted quarterback, had 8 tackles in 11 games last year to go along with a pass break-up. Anderson, seen as many by the safety with the most star potential, had 49 tackles a year ago while making one start. He opened many eyes with his performance in the win over BYU, when he had 11 tackles (6 of them solo) and an interception.

The only other safeties on the roster with game experience are junior Trent Thomas and sophomore Geoff Hooker. Thomas started four games early in the season, and ended the year with 18 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss. He opens spring as the third-team weak safety. Hooker, a walk-on from Sherman, earned himself some special teams playing time late in the 2011 season and registered 3 tackles. He is the third team option at free safety.

A trio of redshirt freshmen open the spring as second-stringers at each of the safety positions. Chris Hackett, out of Tyler, will be gunning for Olabode's job at free. James Bailey, a speedster from Everman, will be working to unseat Carter at strong and Quincy Aldridge, out of Whitehouse (the same high school as Luke Shivers) will be chasing Anderson's role as starting weak safety. A fourth redshirt freshman, the hard-hitting Florida native Jamie Byrd, comes into spring as the third option at strong safety.

If there is one position at which Patterson isn't hesitant to make a quick switch, it is safety. He will change his depth chart multiple times while he figures out which combination of athletes will make the most plays, and that is especially true now that Chad Glasgow is back to coach the safeties after spending one year in the barren wasteland they call "Lubbock". If starting and second-team positions are not set in stone by the end of spring drills, look for a talented trio of true freshman (the Georgia duo of Zach Jackson and Jordan Moore as well as Derrick Kindred out of San Antonio) to be given their own chance to break into the rotation.

Who do you predict will step up this spring to claim starting roles at each of the three safety positions? Which of the redshirt freshman will impress the most? The posts about the rumored new logo showed that you guys are wanting to have your voice heard in the comments section, so let's hear your opinions!

Chris Del Conte live chat

AD Chris Del Conte will be hosting another of his live web chats today at 3:30 CT. We'll put a little something special together for anyone who can get SpitBlood some airtime.

Reverse Jinxes are Cool.

TCU is Bob Wiley and the Postseason is Dr. Leo Marvin.

Yeah, so about that whole, "TCU is totally losing to Air Force" thing... GOTCHA, SUCKERS!!! A BRILLIANTLY orchestrated reverse jinx by THIS guy was clearly the impetus behind TCU's come from behind, three point win over the Air Forces last night. Right, Bill Simmons? (wanking motion). The win by no means washes off the stigma of the recent road losses to SMU and Boise, but it certainly allows the team to breathe a sigh of relief knowing they have Conference road win #1 under their belts.

(Ignores the sadness in the fact the win didn't come until the second to last roadie)

However, the biggest takeaway from this game comes in the oh-so-important RPI boost it gave the Frogs. Heading into last night's game, TCU was ranked 106th and in danger of slipping outside of lyle's carefully measured 129 spot window for the postseason with a loss. But as of this morning the Frogs have clambered up to 95th and, with a few well placed wins to close out the season, could threaten a coveted - at least around these parts - NIT bid. Falling short of that, though, you'd have to think that TCU has become a big enough name nationally to at least gain an invite to one of the ever-increasing shit tournament littering the month of March, a milestone for a program as destitute as ours.

But, to play homer for a second, the NCAA Tournament isn't ENTIRELY out of the picture. Of course, it would likely take the Frogs running the table to close out the season and a deep run in the post-season tournament, likely to the Championship game, which is a pretty unfathomable situation. But, consider this - the Frogs close out Conference play against late-blooming favorite UNM and season-long front runner SDSU at home where they are riding a 7 game win streak, with their road game coming against a fading Wyoming team. Those two home games give TCU what is likely one of the toughest season ending stretches in the country, not to mention the biggest chance to make a last minute statement which is incredibly important to the selection committee. Lose both of them and the Frogs drop spots, but it wouldn't be fatal to their post season hopes. Split them, and the Frogs probably gain ground but are still NIT bound at best. Win both? The NCAA is not in focus and a deep tourney run would still be in order, but having those two pelts alongside those from tourney bound UNLV and Virginia isn't exactly a bad resume. It still might not be enough, but nevertheless it would make for the most anticipated Conference tourney of the Jim Christian era and would leave no team wanting to face the suddenly dangerous Frogs.

Of course, the Frogs would probably sandwich those wins with a loss at Wyoming in between cancelling out all goodwill, so yeah, the NCAA Tournament is out of the picture. But a fan can enjoy the ride and have his delusional dreams anyway, right?

(reverse jinx, reverse jinx, reverse jinx).

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?

Morning Dump



Taking aim at an old debate Wall Street Journal

Athletic Department: