Quantum Leap

ATLANTA, Ga. - In 2013, TCU averaged 25.1 points per game, anemic in the score-happy Big 12. Enter Co-Offensive Coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie. In 2014, the Horned Frogs averaged 46.8 points per outing. It was the largest improvement margin in Big 12 history.

The high-flying Horned Frogs offense of 2014 was anything but that until Meacham and Cumbie took over the reins.

In their first year as co-offensive coordinators, the TCU offense has set school single-season records in points (562), total yards (6,506) and passing yards (3,994).

"We caught lightning in a bottle," said Meacham. "Sonny and I inherited a good group of athletes who have character and wanted to come off the 4-8 record of 2013 to do something special."

It was prolific, to say the least, but what's behind that one-year quantum leap in production?

"A change was needed and we brought in some fresh ideas that the players bought into. We were lucky to come into a situation where the players were already bonded, already had character and had been through some adversity," noted Cumbie. "They worked hard to learn the offense and to make sure 2013 didn't happen again.

"We had good players, real good players, we just had to put it all together and they believed in us to help them do that."

Start with Quarterback Trevone Boykin, who led the Big 12 in total offense, accounting for 363.0 yards per game. His efficiency rating of 146.6 was earned by throwing for 30 TDs and only 7 interceptions.

"Trevone has great arm skill, he's able to extend plays, he has good anticipation and he has a feel for the game," Meacham, a Mike Leach disciple, said. "I knew real quickly that he fit our offense, but what I didn't know was how quickly he'd pick up the offense. He picked it up very quickly. He has patience in the pocket and he does a great job of reading and going through his progressions. His vision is very good."

It also helps to have balance. The Horned Frogs have averaged rushing 209..3 yards per game.

"It's been important to this offense that we have been able to run the football and keep defenses honest," Cumbie added. "We believe in balance and have been successful with that."

Josh Doctson leads the TCU receivers with 59 catches for 959 yards and 9 TDs.

"He's my number one guy. The numbers show that, but we have other great receivers too," Boykin noted, "and it's important I've had time to throw. Our OL has protected me well all year."

Despite those gaudy numbers, Meacham knows going against the nation's number two scoring defense will be an all day job.

"I was at Oklahoma State and we played some SEC teams. I have seen that kind of size before, but Ole Miss has guys who are super, super quick who can hit gaps and counter up front," Meacham said. "They are super athletic and twitchy. They don't stick on blocks.

"It's going to be a real challenge for our offensive line and protection packages. Protection beats coverage. If you can protect long enough, someone will come open, so that's the challenge for us. Can we protect against that great defensive line?"

Meacham is also impressed with the coverage schemes.

"They have abstract schemes and really, really good players up front, in the middle of their defense and in the secondary," Meacham added. "Look in their secondary - Prewitt and Golson are both First-Team All-Americans, consensus guys. That's impressive."

But when all is said and done, according to Meacham, it will be trench work that will make the difference.

"There's no question, Ole Miss' defense will be our biggest challenge. We'll see how it comes out," he closed.

The nation's second leading scoring offense versus the nation's number one scoring defense.

"It doesn't get any better than that," Boykin smiled. "Strength against strength. It's what both teams want."

And it wouldn't have been possible without a quantum leap by the TCU offense.


OM Spirit Top Stories