Five For TCU

Jeremy Clark, the publisher of Scout's TCU site, was kind enough to answer five questions we posed to him about the Horned Frogs and the Peach Bowl match with Ole Miss.

What are TCU's concerns in playing Ole Miss?

Well, it starts on defense where many around the program believe the Rebels will be the toughest defense they face all season. The Rebels have very good speed on defense and it's not a team that you have a lot of success running wide on. The run game will be key for the Frogs because the Rebels will undoubtedly force Trevone Boykin to make plays. B.J. Catalon will miss the game so the success of the running game will be on Aaron Green's shoulders once again.

For the defense, Gary Patterson knows when he's on, Bo Wallace is a good quarterback that can hurt you with his arm or legs. Fortunately for the Frogs, Ole Miss will be without their top two receivers but Patterson has gone on record saying the Rebels best offensive player in his opinion is Evan Engram. They've got to eliminate big plays from him.

What impact have the new co-offensive coordinators had on the TCU team?

It's been a tremendous impact and really the story of college football. TCU went from one of the worst offenses in the nation in 2013 to a top 4 offense in 2014. They've improved their scoring by 22 points per game and are averaging over 200 more yards per game. Sonnie Cumbie has worked wonders with Trevone Boykin, who is a legitimate Heisman candidate heading into next season. The players have always been on the roster to have a successful offense, but it just took the right ingredients. And the players are having a ton of fun.

Even though the offense gets most of the ink, how good is TCU's defense? It's always been a Patterson trademark in the past.

Looking at that question, I don't think anyone would've ever asked that question with a Patterson coached team. But, it's a great question nonetheless because the defense in my opinion has been overlooked somewhat. They actually had another great season on defense and I feel it's one of the top defenses in the Patterson era. They finished second in the Big 12 in total defense (they've finished no worse than 2nd in three seasons in the Big 12) and led the nation in forced turnovers. All-American linebacker Paul Dawson leads the way, but it's been a combination of good players at each position. No unit outshines another. The Frogs are still very successful at stopping the run and have played exception in their last two ball games against Texas and Iowa State, giving up just one touchdown in those two games.

How does the dynamic of SEC versus Big 12 play in this game to TCU?

I think a lot of eyes will be on this game because it's the best match-up outside of the playoff games. Ole Miss beat two top four teams this season while TCU was on the cusp of making the playoffs all the way until the last weekend of the playoff rankings. TCU will have plenty to prove in this game; were they a top four team as many felt they should've been? This is the perfect avenue for them to prove a lot of people right and wrong at the same time. Patterson has said that they're not only carrying the banner for TCU, they're carrying it for the entire Big 12. A win over a team like Ole Miss, who many respect, will go a long way for the Frogs.

What are TCU's keys to winning?

Make quick plays on offense. This will be the best defense the Frogs have seen all season so if they can get a couple of early scores like they have all year, it could help them tremendously simply because Ole Miss doesn't have great success throwing the ball. If the Frogs fail to score early, they have to get Bo Wallace out of his comfort zone and don't let him make plays with his feet. Lastly, keep creating turnovers and turn them into points. The Frogs did a tremendous job against Texas forcing turnovers and turning those opportunities into points. They'll need to do the same against a very athletic Ole Miss squad.


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