2018 Preseason Preview: TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs are next on the schedule.

1. Quick Facts

MASCOT: Horned Frogs
2017 RECORD: 11-3 (7-2)
HEAD COACH: Gary Patterson
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Sonny Cumbie & Curtis Luper
STARTERS LOST: Offense 7; Defense 5
STARTERS RETURNING: Offense 4; Defense 6
LOCATION: Amon G. Carter Stadium; Ft. Worth, Texas
GAME ON TEXAS TECH’S SCHEDULE: Sixth game on October 11th

2. Difference Makers

RB Darius Anderson (5-11/204): I think most people thought that Kyle Hicks would be “the guy” last year, but Darius Anderson was truthfully better last year. Anderson ran for 768 yards on 128 carries for 6 yards per carry, and 8 touchdowns. Anderson only caught 9 passes out of the backfield last year, but I’d expect that number to go up.

WR Jalen Reagor (5-11/195): This one hurts. As a true freshman, Reagor had 41 catches for 576 yards, 8 touchdowns for about 18 yards per catch. Reagor hat a catch rate of about 58% and that’s pretty decent for a true freshman. I should also acknowledge that KaVontae Turpin could have been one of the difference makers, but went with Reagor because I think he has a better chance of being a more significant difference maker next year.

DE Ben Banogu (6-4/249): Banogu is predicted to be the preseason defensive player of the year for the Big 12, largely based off of his 16.5 tackles for a loss last year and 8.5 sacks, which was second on the team behind graduating senior Mat Boesen. Banogu also had 12 run stuffs, 1 pass break-up and 3 forced fumbles last year. Very productive from the defensive end spot.

LB Ty Summers (6-2/235): Expect Summers to have the normal uptick of success as a linebacker in Patterson’s system. Summers had 64 tackles last year, 16 run stuffs, 8 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 5 passes broken up, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. Lots of splash plays and you can expect the tackles to go up.

3. Coaches Corner

To clarify, I took the returning starters from the two-deep found here (PDF) and I simply just counted. I’m sure I got those numbers not entirely accurate, but that is what I used because TCU didn’t put out a spring prospectus that I could find. And, according to these game notes from the Oklahoma game, the starting left tackle, center, right guard, tight end, running back, quarterback, X-receiver, and Y-receiver have to be replaced. On the defensive side of the ball, a defensive tackle, right defensive end, strongside linebacker, weak safety, and cornerback all graduated.

That’s some pretty big shoes to fill, especially at offensive line and the skill positions. I think TCU will be fine, I’m not wringing my hands over it but the offensive line will probably be a bigger challenge than the skill spots because guys like Anderson and Turpin weren’t starting, but played plenty last year and could have been considered starters. I’d also maybe guess that Jaelan Austin or Reagor get put opposite each other, one at the X and one at the Y, that’s another starter.

The big question for TCU will be who will be quarterbacking for TCU, Robinson only started 1 game, the game where the TCU defense ripped out the heart of Texas Tech and stomped on it, while Robinson completed 48% of his passes, but threw 3 touchdowns. It was a win, but that’s a pretty low completion percentage and was obviously good enough to beat Texas Tech by 3 touchdowns. Kinda depressing. Anyway, Justin Rogers from Louisiana is the next big thing, athletically very talented, athletic in the same mold as Patrick Mahomes, maybe a better runner and a big kid like Mahomes too. Also in the equation will be Grayson Muehlstein and Penn transfer Michael Collins

On offense, I’m guessing that Cumbie is the main signal caller, but Curtis Luper was named as co-offensive coordinator in February of 2017. I’m not sure how much they split duties, but I guess Patterson likes having co-offensive coordinators since Cumbie and Doug Meacham split those duties as well.

And who would have thought that our buddy Chad Glasgow is the defensive coordinator, formerly the defensive coordinator at Texas Tech. It was a complete disaster and could bet you $10 that I’m sure that Tuberville probably had a hand in making a diaster of the situation. I thought the TCU defense might suffer a bit of a drop without Bumpas there, but they’ve sorta just cruised along just fine.

4. Advanced Stats

Offense Defense
S&P+ 39th 16th
Efficiency 23rd 8th
Explosiveness 44th 128th
Field Position 18th 27th
Finishing Drives 54th 8th

5. Game Thoughts

The thing for me here is will the Texas Tech offense have enough of a grasp of how to attack the TCU defense to be somewhat effective and score some points. TCU tends to have the effect of “stifling” when you’re a first year signal caller and Texas Tech faces that again. Last year, Nic Shimonek was 17 of 33 for 137 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception. By far his worst game and it got him benched for the Texas game. The question will be if whoever replaces Shimonek can be better. I obviously have my doubts and you probably should too when this game eventually rolls around.

The question will be if Texas Tech has a good enough defense to hold down what should be a TCU offense that might not be as good as they have been in previous years. Yes, they probably have guys that will be just fine in replacing some of their graduating talent, but replacing that offensive line will probably be a tough task. Playing them for the 6th game will most likely mean that they’ve either gotten their groove or they haven’t. Oh, and coaching the offensive line . . . Chris Thomsen, yes, that same one that was most recently at TCU, but also previously at Texas Tech where he was also the offensive line coach.

Disclaimer: To any TCU fans, I’m not a TCU expert, just trying to learn and educate myself as much as I can over the course of writing this post.


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