1. What has Doug Meacham brought to the TCU offense that was missing in past years? Does Meacham have something to prove Saturday?
The question really should be, what hasn't Meacham brought? To simply put it, the offense has completely changed expectations for TCU's season. Not only have the Frogs' improved dramatically in total yards (up 171 yards per game from 2013), the players are having a blast running the wide open style of offense. When players are having fun, you're going to get the best results.
I feel through the first five games, you can see an improvement from the receivers, running backs, offensive line and the biggest improvement has been the play of quarterback Trevone Boykin, who's averaging 359 total yards per game. The tempo of the offense is the fastest I've ever seen at TCU, especially under Patterson.
On Meacham, I think you could say he might have a little something to prove. He was on staff for eight years at Oklahoma State and thought he would be next in line for the OC position. When he wasn't given that opportunity he bolted for Houston. Now he coaches one of the most improved offenses in the nation. You won't get him to say it, but I think there's just a little part of him that would take great satisfaction if he's able to rattle off 40-plus points and get the win.
2. Has the development of Trevone Boykin been a surprise to Horned Frog fans or did everyone see this coming?
Well, depends who you ask. It’s really split up in two groups; those who feel Boykin should've been receiver and those who felt with a new coach and system that fits his strength that he could excel. But, I don't feel anyone could've predicted the type of season he's had thus far. As previously mentioned, he's averaging 359 yards per game which ranks him seventh nationally.
Meacham and quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie have obviously had a big part in his improvement, but Boykin is also a junior now so the game has really slowed down for him. He's better at making reads now, he's not forcing throws into a crowd and he's still making plays with his feet. The biggest improvement is he's not turning the ball over; he's fumbled once and only thrown two interceptions. So, to answer your question, I don't think anyone could've foreseen what Boykin was going to accomplish through five games.
3. How will TCU bounce back after last week's fourth quarter collapse against Baylor?
It's going to be a very tough game this week against Oklahoma State. Under Patterson, TCU has done a good job of playing on a week to week basis; meaning they typically don't look ahead and they don't let losses linger too long. But, in my opinion this just wasn't any loss. They were up by 21 points to the No. 5 team in the country on the road and let it slip away. The players knew they let it slip away.
It was the most emotional I've seen Sam Carter following a loss in his three years of talking to the media. However, Coach Patterson said Sunday's practice after the Baylor loss was actually better than the Sunday a day after they beat Oklahoma. The players know they still have plenty to play for; they're still a top 15 team and still have a shot at competing for the Big 12 title.
4. What changes do you see, if any, for a TCU defense that has allowed 1,243 yards and 94 points in the last two games?
We asked Patterson earlier this week if he planned to make any changes scheme-wise and he said he isn't. They know they're going to get tested through the air, especially on vertical throws, but he doesn't plan to change anything.
I think if anything they need to get defensive calls in sooner as there were a few occasions where the secondary didn't get a call until the ball was snapped by Baylor last week. They may send more pressure on Daxx Garman since he hasn't proved to be as effective a runner as Walsh, but that's a minor change. It's all about players executing and that's what Patterson expects.
5. What are the keys for the Horned Frogs on Saturday?
Stop the vertical pass; especially against Tyreek Hill. OSU has just as talented group of receivers that the Frogs have faced in recent weeks against Oklahoma and Baylor, but they're bigger. Without a doubt OSU will attack the Frogs vertically.
Pressure Daxx Garman into bad decisions. Garman only has five starts under his belt and up to this point I don't believe he's seen a defensive line or set of linebackers as talented as TCU's. The Frogs did a good job of getting pressure on Bryce Petty early on but late in the game they were ineffective. With all day to throw, Petty shredded the secondary. The Frogs can't do that for two weeks in a row; they have to get pressure early and don't allow Garman, who throws a good deep ball, time to throw.
Keep grinding on offense and finish. The Frogs offense hasn't been the problem this season; it's been a complete reversal from last season. Boykin needs to continue his strong play and make good decisions. TCU has played OSU close in the previous two meetings all the way until the fourth quarter. But the offense goes stagnant and it has been the primary reason for the past two losses. If the Frogs can sustain long scoring drives, they will be in for a good day. If not, I think the whole nation knows by now how the defense performs when they are tired.