Friday, April 13, 2012

TCU-Air Force Preview

I'm just going to come right out and say it: the Frogs need to sweep Air Force in all three games this weekend. The Falcons come to Fort Worth with an overall record of 8-22 and have an RPI ranking of #256. Not only would a single loss severely damage TCU's image in the eye of the computers- but even three straight wins may hurt them a little bit, too. From an RPI perspective, you almost want to root for at least one rain-out. But for the spirit of the game, the potential for fun out at the ballpark and the chances for our young players to develop and gain confidence, we won't actually use voodoo to make rain- the lakes are close enough to full now, anyway.

Sophomore Andrew Mitchell, who looked like his old self fanning 10 batters against UNC-Wilmington last weekend, returns to the Friday night starting slot he held at the beginning of the year. He'll be countered by Air Force sophomore and Grapevine High alum Cameron White, who should not be confused with TCU's own sophomore wide receiver of the same name.

Freshman Preston Morrison, who has been the most pleasant surprise on this year's team, will make his second career start on Saturday. He'll be taking on Midland native Ben Bertleson, who sports an 0-6 record this year to go along with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts.

Sophomore Stefan Cricthon, who pitched four efficient innings against UTA on Wednesday, will start on Sunday- but look for him to be on some kind of a limited pitch count. Crichton will be matched against Air Force's best pitcher, Evan Albrecht. The senior is off to a good start this year, tallying a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 2.69. He also averages more than 7 innings per start, so the Frogs will have their work cut out for them in this one.

One thing to keep an eye on is whether or not Jason Coats will play this weekend. His streak of playing in 135 consecutive games ended when he missed Wednesday night's game against UTA, and it's not clear when he will return. His continued absence would be a tough pill to swallow.

Spring Questions revisited: #5

TCU said good-bye to two four-year starters in the kicking game last fall, as place-kicker Ross Evans and punter Anson Kelton exhausted their eligibility at the end of the 2011 season. The lack of a full-fledged heir apparent to either of them made kicker & punter the #5 question heading into spring practice.

If there was one area in which Coach Patterson let the least amount of information out this spring, it was about the future of the Frogs' kicking game. Maybe that's just his usual secretive nature, maybe it's because nobody particularly impressed him at either position, or maybe it's because he's waiting until two high-profile true freshman arrive on campus this fall.

The only tidbit of info I could find about either position is that sophomore Ryan DeNucci is the #1 kicker for now. It's unclear whether that was straight from the mouth of GP, or if the writer of that particular story just assumed as much because DeNucci is the only returning kicker with any game experience (having kicked off 24 times last fall). That puts him ahead of Hans Ingold, who redshirted last year after playing his high school ball at Nolan Catholic.

Likewise, a quick glance at the roster would tell you that senior Cale Patterson is at least currently your starting punter. He's never appeared in a game for the Frogs, but he's also the only punter on the roster this spring.

There's a good chance that next year's place-kicker will be true freshman Jaden Oberkram, who comes over after a career at Arlington Martin in which he once kicked a 54-yard field goal in a game and reportedly connected from 60+ in practice. At punter, the starter is likely to be Ethan Perry, who was a U.S. Army All American in Smithson Valley in the San Antonio area.

New Uniforms released

Here is a shot of the anthracite (grey) uniforms we thought we saw a couple months ago. Can't tell really what the helmet is but it looks like last years. We'll update if more pictures come.

Get your away game tickets now

I got an email yesterday, as I'm sure many of you did too, letting me know that away game tickets for the coming football season are on sale now. So if you're wanting to go to any of these games...

-September 15th at Kansas*

-September 29th at SMU

-October 13th at Baylor

-October 27th at Oklahoma State

-November 24th at Texas** probably won't want to dilly-dally too much, as TCU's 4,000 allotted tickets to that game will likely sell out fairly quickly. And for a few of those games, you may be SOL for going to the game at all if you don't get a ticket through TCU or are willing to shell out big bucks to scalpers.

You can fill out your away-game ticket request form by clicking here, but be warned that there is a non-refundable $7 fee when you submit it.

*- TCU's first-ever conference game as a Big 12 member

**- There's a good chance this game will get moved to Thursday the 22nd- Thanksgiving Day

Morning Dump

Big 12 spring tour: TCU Horned Frogs Austin American-Statesman