Defensive Rollercoaster Sends TCU for a Loop

TCU's defense has hit a few speed bumps on their road to a national title.

The sports nation is well versed in TCU’s offensive firepower. However, as of late, the attention is not focused on Trevonne Boykin lighting up the scoreboard with Gary Patterson’s blitzkrieg offense. No, the attention has been drawn to the Jekyll and Hyde defense and rightly so.

This is a young defense despite Mike Tuaua (ankle) coming back against Texas, and Terrell Lathan (undisclosed) and Davion Pierson (concussion) coming back this past Saturday against Kansas State. But why is a defense that returned 5 key starters struggling and allowing a little over 386 yards per game? The simple answer is the well documented injury bug plaguing the TCU camp this year.

Terrell Lathan, Ranthony Texada, Mike Freeze, Sammy Douglas, Davion Pierson, and even Mike Tuaua have all been affected. These injuries, some season ending, have forced young guys such as sophomores Chris Bradley, and Travin Howard into roles they may not have been completely mentally prepared for. That is something that is bound to happen when you are thrown from the role of supplemental player to the role of starter. Those are two completely different scenarios. As a supplemental guy, you are getting thrown in when the starters need a breather and after you have seen what the opposing team can throw at you. As a starter you have got to know what the opposing team has, how they are going to attack you, and where they are going to attack you all right from the first kickoff.

Now if this Jekyll and Hyde appearance had gone on for two or three games, then it could just be chalked up to the youth of the Horned Frogs defense. However, it has not. The defense has been a roller coaster ever since the injury bug bit. I have, in recent weeks, said this young defense has shown signs of maturity. And they have, but seemingly in spurts every other week.

The game against Texas was a sight for weary eyes. The Frogs’ defense held the elusive duo of Jerrod Heard and D’Onta Foreman in check almost the entire game while limiting the Longhorns to a dismal seven points. All of this coming after giving up 607 yards and 52 points in an absolute miracle last second victory against Texas Tech.

Now I know, it is hard to keep pace with this nitrous powered offense of TCU, or at least should be. But if this Frog team wants to win all the marbles, this defense is going to need to rally itself in order to keep pace with the offense seeing as defense is one-third of the game.

As things stand right now, if the season ended today and the NY6 were at our doorsteps, TCU would face Baylor. This would be yet another mouth-watering edition of the Revivalry with two atom bombs for offenses dueling it out on one of college football’s biggest stages. However, I would favor Baylor in such a matchup because of what I have seen from their defense. The Bears from Waco are averaging 64 points per game while only giving up an average of 22 points per game. The only two common opponents so far this season have been the SMU Mustangs, who were shut out in the second half en route to a 56-21 win back in week one, and Baylor was able to hold the same Texas Tech team, that nearly ended TCU’s run to perfection, to 35 points while cruising to victory at AT&T Stadium.

Now,this is not a call to abandon ship. The Frogs are still sitting pretty at number three in the rankings. That gets you a ticket to the dance. All this team needs is to get in. After that, nobody cares how you win; all they care about is that you DO win in the end.

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