Who Holds The Advantage?

TCU finally opens the 2012 season this Saturday at home against Grambling.

It's time to take a look at this week'smatch-ups, where we break down which team has an advantage on both sides of the running game, the passing game and in the trenches.

The Tigers weren't tested much through the air last week against Alcorn State, surrendering only 101 yards and no touchdowns through the air. Of course, the running game for Alcorn amassed 224 yards so going through the air wasn't a big need. The Tigers are led in the secondary by Naquan Smith who picked up 5 tackles and 1 TFL against Alcorn State. One notable on Grambling's roster is Edward Patterson, who orignally signed with TCU in 2008. This could be a field day for Casey Pachall and his receivers. The receivers are the most talented corp of players on the Frogs roster and junior Josh Boyce should see a nice start on his quest to 1,000 yards. Also watch for Ladarius Brown to haul in his first career TD. The tight ends should be open over the middle and is could be a big day for either Corey Fuller or Griffin Gilbert.

Things didn't get started in the right direction last week in the Tigers opener defending the rush; giving up 224 yards and allowing nearly 5 yards per rush. Junior middle linebacker Jacarde Carter provided a spark for the Tigers' defense, racking up 5 tackles, 1 TFL and forced a fumble. Sophomore Wade Julian led the way last week collecting 8 tackles for the defense.

Much like the receivers, the runningbacks return a stable full of talented backs led by Waymon James who rushed for 875 yards in 2011. While he's been dinged up a little during fall camp, the reps have gone to Matthew Tucker, who head coach Gary Patterson says has had the best camp of all of the backs.

Aside from surrendering 224 yards on the ground at nearly 5 yards per carry, the defensive line didn't record a sack against Alcorn St. The defense did collect 8 tackles for loss on the day however. The line is led by sophomore defensive tackle Devon Carter, who goes 6-3, 270-pounds, recorded 3 tackles and 1 TFL in the opener. Grambling gave up a big chunk of yardage up the middle and if they have even the slightest chance to stop the Frogs, they better get a push up the middle.

This about the only question mark for the Frogs on offense with just two returning starters; James Fry and Blaize Foltz. The Frogs will start sophomore Tayo Fabuluje at left tackle, junior Eric Tausch at left guard and true freshman Aviante Collins at right tackle. Even though the unit doesn't have much experience, what it does have is size and strength and should be able to get a push against the smaller Grambling line.
Grambling's passing game was completely obsolete against Alcorn St., completing only 10-of-19 passes for 66 yards and no scores. Sophomore quarterback D.J. Williams is a big dual-threat quarterback at 6-5, 200 who also added 26 yards on the ground. Grambling averaged just over 6 yards per completion last week. Leading the way on the receiving end for the Tigers last week was sophomore Musa Mahmud, who hauled in three catches and is 6-3, 200 pounds. If the name sounds familiar, it should as the Frogs showed heavy interest in the receiver for the 2011 class. The secondary likely won't get a big test in their opener, especially after Grambling only threw for 66 yards against Alcorn State. Jason Verrett and Elisha Olabode are the leaders of the secondary. All eyes will be on Jonathan Anderson, who had a good redshirt freshman season at weak safety. Sam Carter has taken the reigns at strong safety and if he struggles, true freshman Derrick Kindred gets the call. Eyes will also be on Kevin White, who gets the nod as the replacement for Greg McCoy. White played in spot duty in 2011 but has drawn praise from Patterson this fall.
This is by far the strongest unit on Grambling's roster. The Tigers rushed for a whopping 356 yards on the ground against Alcorn St. True freshman Jeremy Runner (appropriate name) led the way with 166 yards on just 13 carries. One of his carries went for a 75-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, junior Dawrence Roberts also eclipsed the 100-yard mark with 121 yards on 11 carries. He also scored on a 54-yard touchdown run. Runner is the bigger of the two backs at 205-pounds while Roberts weighs 185-pounds. Altogether the Tigers averaged 10 yards per carry on the day. This is yet another inexperienced group on the defense with only Kenny Cain having any experience. Alongside Cain against Grambling will likely be sophomore Paul Dawson, who arrived in June from junior college. The return of Joel Hasley and Antonio Graves is a big plus for a unit that wasn't very deep early in fall camp. They'll be asked to provide plenty of run support, especially after the Tigers' strong performance on the ground against Alcorn St. How good will the linebackers be? They'll be the most tested group on Saturday.
You're doing something right when you open running lanes big enough to allow your team to rush for 356 yards and 3 scores. The Tigers has success because they're running behind a very experienced offensive line led by center Julian Wyndon, and mammoth left tackle Sanford Banks, who goes 6-6, 319-pounds. Clint Marsh is another lineman who gives the Tigers experience along the offensive line at guard.
This group will be busy as Grambling's bread and butter is within their running game. The defensive line for the Frogs should be ready and Patterson has said most of fall camp that he hopes to have a 10-11 man rotation along the line. While Stansly Maponga is a well-known Frog, true freshman Devonte Fields isn't and many Frogs can't wait to see how he does in his first college game. The same can be said for tackle Davion Pierson, who is also expected to make his first collegiate start.
GRAMBLING Special Teams
TCU Special Teams
Grambling lost to Alcorn State 22-21 last week. Probably the lonliest player in the locker room afterward was kicker Fabian Carter who missed two field goals. Carter also handles the punting duties and only averaged 34 yards per punt last week. Caleb George also punted once last week and his punt landed inside the 20. Anthony McGhee and Justin Fortson handle kickoff and punt return duties. Fortson returned two punts for 21 yards last week against Alcorn. The return game for the Frogs will be in good hands with Josh Boyce and Waymon James returining kicks and Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter returning punts. The big concern is how well two true frehmen will do in their first game. Kicker Jaden Oberkrom is expected to do big things, especially after booming a 61-yard field goal during one practice. Ethan Perry will get the call at punter and is another player Patterson has been high on in fall camp.

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