Five questions: TCU

Breaking down OU's game against TCU with some assistance from HornedFrogBlitz.com managing editor Jeremy Clark.

1. How comfortable is Trevone Boykin right now with the offense? How different is the offense with Boykin instead of Casey Pachall?

Boykin is comfortable with the offense, the problem is he's trying to do too much by himself which has been pointed out on multiple occasions by Gary Patterson. What he means in saying that is simple, don't try to carry the load of the offense on your shoulders. Boykin is still developing as a passer, but he definitely needs to improve on making his progressions and not telegraphing his throws. Against SMU last week he was fortunate not to throw two interceptions after telegraphing his throws. He also needs to work on keeping his eyes downfield in what's been referred to as the Manziel scramble by Patterson. We've all seen how Johnny Manziel when rushed from the pocket he manages to keep his eyes downfield and finds open receivers. Whereas with Boykin, once he's out of the pocket, he's running. He missed a couple of big opportunities with this against SMU. They've been working on keeping his eyes downfield this week and making sure the receivers are also coming back to the ball. As for the differences in offense, Pachall is more of a drop back passer but they still called plenty of zone reads with him as well. But, when he's on point, there's no denying that the passing game is better when Pachall is under center.

2. What's missing, if anything, from the defense with Devonte Fields out? Who has stepped up in his absence?

Honestly, even when Fields has played this season he's been ineffective. He hardly made his presence known against Southeastern Louisiana and against Texas Tech he didn't put pressure on Baker Mayfield. Now, from a spectators point of view, it looked like Fields was just shadowing Mayfield but according to Patterson, Fields just didn't get any pressure and said that was due to the lack of playing time. In Fields' absence you could certainly see a drop off the first two games. However, the last two games against Tech and SMU, the defensive line has recorded 8 sacks and as a team the Frogs have recorded 11 sacks. Surprisingly, the Frogs actually lead the Big 12 with 15 sacks on the year. A big factor to the pass rush success according to Patterson has been the Frogs play in the secondary.

3. TCU scored 31 points in the fourth quarter Saturday. Do you see that as a turning point for the season and something we'll all remember come the end of the season?

Well, a lot of bounces had to go their way to put up that kind of scoring. They had an onside kick return and an interception return in the fourth quarter and if you take those plays away it could've been a 17-point game. The offense still struggled, especially in the first half as they were only able to score 7 points and amass 104 total yards. This coming against one of the worst defenses in FBS football. I will say this though, you could see a confidence brewing over the team. They had seemingly lost all confidence after their loss to Texas Tech; it was a loss they did not expect to have. Patterson went as far as saying that his team felt sorry for themselves. While they still have a lot of areas to improve, you could definitely see some of the swagger come back in the second half against SMU. Will it be enough to turn the season around, that's the question that will certainly be answered this Saturday against a tough opponent like Oklahoma.

4. Who is poised for a breakout game against the Sooners?

I look for two players that have to get more touches; Ty Slanina and Ja'Juan Story. We've been waiting on Slanina to have a breakout game after hearing how well the true freshman was doing in two-a-days which he finally did against SMU hauling in 3 catches for 63 yards and 1 touchdown. He definitely gave the Frogs a spark in the third quarter when they needed it most. With his speed, he needs to be more involved the rest of the season and I feel we'll start to see more of that this week against Oklahoma. Story has been hampered by a slight injury most of the season but it looks like he's now 100%. Now, he's not one that has a lot of touches so far, but you have to find a way to get a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder the ball. Which, TCU finally did against SMU on a quick screen which Story proceeded to break a tackle and race 56 yards for a score. The play showed Story's explosiveness and it's a must for the Frogs to get him more involved starting with their game against the Sooners.

5. This is shaping up to be the biggest recruiting weekend of the year for OU because TCU has appeared to be OU's most attractive home game of the season since the schedule was released. Many were thinking it could be a battle of two top 15 teams. Obviously TCU has two losses and has dealt with questionable officiating and key injuries. How has Gary Patterson kept this club together? How good of a job has he done so far to not make this a lost season?

Patterson's teams have faced adversity plenty of times, most recently last season when the Frogs lost four players due to the drug bust, lost their starting quarterback and running back by the fourth game of the season, countless injuries and the fact that they played with the youngest team in college football last year (28 true and redshirt freshmen on two-deep). This season they've played tough games against LSU and Texas Tech. They've lost both of those games by a combined 20 points so you can take away some positives despite the loss. That's one of the best characteristics about Patterson is his ability to find the positives in situations where you may not see any. He relays that to his team and his team feeds off of that.


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