FIVE QUESTIONS: TCU

THERE'S NO DOUBT that Oregon State faces a stiff test in TCU. In an effort to dig deeper into what the Men in Black will be facing Sept. 4 BF.C recently asked Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Stefan Stevenson five questions about the Horned Frogs.

1.

Name four players to watch - two on defense and two on offense - and why they are ones Oregon State fans should keep their eyes on.
OFFENSE

RB Matthew Tucker - He's quick and can shake tackles. He'll split time with Ed Wesley and both will be eager to start the season with some flash.

WR Jimmy Young -- Although Jeremy Kerley is the obvious player to watch, Young can be just as potent and could have a big year.

BF.C NOTES:

  • The Horned Frogs have won 31 straight games when rushing for more yards than passing.
  • QB Andy Dalton has a 29-7 record as a starter and has thrown just 24 interceptions, and 44 touchdowns, in 1,001 passing attempts.
  • Young ranks seventh and eighth on TCU's all-time lists for receptions (115) and yards (1,830) respectively.

 

DEFENSE
LB Tank Carder - He's a relentless ball hawk that has to show he can fill the shoes of Daryl Washington. He has something to prove.

FS Tejay Johnson -- He often gets lost in the shuffle but he's the QB of the defense and is often the unsung hero to the Frogs' 4-2-5 defense.

BF.C NOTES:

  • Both Carder and Johnson are preseason All-Americans.
  • TCU averaged 2.5 sacks a game in 2009.
  • Only 16 of TCU’s last 26 opponents have scored in double figures.

 

 

2.

What are the strengths of the TCU offense? What are its weaknesses?

Experience. Size and experience up front and a 4-year starting QB to go along with a crop of talented, experienced receivers.

The right tackle spot is the only question mark and it will be interesting to see how Zach Roth does Saturday.

BF.C NOTES:

  • TCU returns nine starters on offense that ranked seventh in the nation in total offense (456.7 ypg).
  • Two of its five starting offensive lineman - OT Marcus Cannon and C Jake Kirkpatrick - are preseason All-Americans. The offensive line yielded just 12 sacks last season.
  • Over the last five seasons, TCU is 45-1 when ahead (32-1) or even (13-0) in turnover margin and 8-10 when on the negative side.

 

 

3.

What are the strengths of the TCU defense? What are its weaknesses?

The defensive line has three returning senior starters, but the left DE replacing All-American Jerry Hughes is new in redshirt freshman Stansly Maponga.

BF.C NOTES:

  • The Horned Frogs led the nation in total defense a year ago (239.7) - the second straight year they accomplished that feat and the fourth time in the last 10 years.
  • TCU allowed just 12.4 first downs a game in 2009 - the least amount in the nation.
  • The Frogs finished second in the nation in holding opponents to a 26.8 percent (52-of-194) success rate on third-down conversions.

 

 

4.

Coming into this game where would you rank your team on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the team playing at peak performance) and why?

That's hard to say being the opener. If forced to put them on a number scale I'd probably give them a 9.

TCU has no major injury problems and there is a sense on the team that they laid an egg in the Fiesta Bowl and they'd very much like to show the nation that was an aberration against Boise State last January.

BF.C NOTES:

  • The Frogs have 27 seniors on its roster - the second most in the nation
  • Just four times in the last 27 contests has TCU surrendered more than 17 points.
  • TCU is 60-8 with Gary Patterson when holding its opponent under 100 yards rushing.

 

 

5.

A prediction.

This is really hard in an opener against two teams that have never played. I respect Oregon State and I know Gary Patterson and the Frogs certainly do.

But I see TCU pulling away late and winning 35-10. Of course, nothing would shock me.

BF.C NOTES:

  • TCU's last seven victories have been by at least 27 points.
  • The Frogs led the nation in 2009 with its average of forcing 6.5 three-and-outs per game.
  • During his 113-game tenure as head coach, Patterson has seen only 20 100-yard rushing games by opposing players.

 

***

 

Thank you to Mr. Stevenson for taking the time out of his busy day to answer the questions.  Please head over to Star-Telegram.com to read his work.


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