In The Shadows

In 2008-2010, TCU led the nation in total defense, but this year the Horned Frogs offense has gotten all the ink. The 2014 defense, minus the Baylor game, has been sneaky good, despite playing in the shadows.

In recent years past, the hallmark of TCU's football team under Coach Gary Patterson was defense.

This year, the Horn Frog offense has gone berserk, scoring at a 46 points per game clip and putting the TCU defense in the shadows.

But make no mistake about it, the TCU defense is still stellar and Patterson's program is still built to last via the defense put together by Defensive Coordinator Dick Bumpas.

Through the 11-1 regular season, TCU's defense is 16th in the nation in scoring defense and that's including the Baylor nightmare that pops up every time anyone asks Bumpas about his group.

The Horn Frogs gave up 61 points to Baylor in a 61-58 loss, their only blemish of the year.

"It still stings," said Bumpas. "It was a very emotional loss for us because we had all kinds of chances to get off the field, but just couldn't do it. I think by the end of the game, our guys were just too fatigued to make it happen.

"Their hearts and minds were in it, but I feel their legs were shot. Too many plays. Too many plays."

After that game, the TCU defense got back to playing more like the Horn Frogs are used to, holding #7 Kansas State to 20 points, Texas at Texas to 10, offensive-minded Texas Tech to 27 and Iowa State to 12.

"The kids just regrouped and got re-energized. They were hurt, embarrassed and determined to turn things around on our side of the ball," Bumpas noted.

Now the challenge is to finish out the year against Ole Miss.

In Bumpas' mind, the Rebel offense presents a myriad of problems for "any defense."

"Bo Wallace is one of the toughest guys I have seen on film. He's aggressive and he plays to win," said Bumpas. "He sees the whole field and he's dangerous because he's always looking to throw, even when things break down. He will stand in the pocket and take a hit to make a completion and he's a competent runner.

"Bo also doesn't get the credit he deserves for checking down and going through his progressions. He's as good as we have seen and I don't think he gets the credit he deserves."

Bumpas didn't stop with Wallace in his admiration of the Rebel offense.

"Their OL is talented and very big, they have elusive backs who can break tackles and their wideouts are rangy guys who can make plays on jump balls and can run," he continued. "They present a heckuva challenge for us.

"Good players, good coaches and a great scheme means a great challenge."

Bumpas likens the Rebel scheme to an NFL team.

"All the shifts and motions and formations - they give you a lot to prepare for and think about," Bumpas noted. "They remind me of an NFL team in that regard. They are balanced too and it makes you, as a defensive coordinator, play a cat and mouse game.

"If you crowd the box, they go over the top. If you drop back, they run it. There will be a lot of strategy and some guessing against them."

One of the bigger "problems" Bumpas has to deal with, he says, is TE Evan Engram.

"He's not a tight end. He's a wideout playing TE. He presents so many matchup problems to defenses because he matches up with linebackers who can't run with him," Bumpas noted. "You have to know where he is at all times."

But Bumpas is confident his troops can hang with Ole Miss.

"We don't get the attention the offense gets, but that's OK. I am very happy for our offense," he closed. "They take pressure off of us, but we've got to do our part. We have to keep playing like we have played since the Baylor game and we will be OK."


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