Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Q&A with Sooners Illustrated's Bob Przybylo

Sooner Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo answers our questions on TCU's upcoming matchup against Oklahoma.

Brad Hardcastle: A lot of TCU fans are familiar with Samaje Perine, Baker Mayfield and Sterling Shepard, who are some other names on offense that Frog fans should know about? 
 
Bob Przybylo: Joe Mixon has lived up to the billing so far after being suspended last season. He’s a threat as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. Coaches are pretty quick to say Mixon most likely has the best hands on the team.
 
When OU gets in the red zone (especially), watch for redshirt freshman tight end Mark Andrews. He has six touchdowns this season. OU tried to get him involved against Baylor, and he was “this close” to two big-time receptions. You know he’s going to want to bounce back after that subpar performance.
With Shepard leaving after this season, it looks more and more likely that Dede Westbrook is going to be the guy for OU. A juco product, Westbrook has shown signs of greatness and is starting to develop that trust and consistency that is so crucial at that spot.
 
Brad: Oklahoma has been on a tear lately, but its defense has looked vulnerable at times against good offensive teams, do you think TCU can have success against the Sooner's defense, or do you think they'll get shutdown without Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson on the field? 
 
Bob: OU’s defense has been outstanding in the last five games, now up to No. 21 overall defense in the nation. Held teams like Texas Tech and Baylor to 200 yards below their season average.
 
It’s across the board. The defensive line, anchored by Charles Tapper, has been more disruptive than ever before. The linebackers, like Eric Striker, are being a factor in both the run game and the pass rush game.
 
But the biggest difference is in the secondary with the improvement of guys like Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas. Both sophomores now, they’ve made the leap so much that Zack Sanchez said flat out Thomas is the best cornerback in the Big 12. With the way Thomas has played in conference, it’s hard to argue, especially coming off shutting down Corey Coleman in Waco.
 
Brad: Mayfield is having as good of a season as anyone this year, but there were times when he's struggled against Tennessee and Texas. What did those teams do to force him into mistakes, and do you think TCU's defense has a shot of limiting him in the passing game? 
 
Bob: Two things have changed since then. No. 1 is the offensive line has gotten better. This was/is an incredibly young group trying to keep Mayfield healthy. OU lost three starters from last year’s group, and it’s hard to make that adjustment at such key positions.
 
This group is still not 2013-14 level yet, but it’s getting the job done and earning more and more confidence with each game. Guys like Orlando Brown and Dru Samia do not feel like freshmen at this point of the season.
 
The other is all about Lincoln Riley feeling comfortable with the pieces he has to work with on offense. The first month was like a trial run where he was getting a feel of where he needed to put guys to be successful.
 
That’s not the case anymore. OU knows its identity and has embraced it. The tempo is back where it needs to be, and OU has scored more than 44 points in each of the last five games.
 
Brad: Both of these teams run variations of the air raid offense, how do you think TCU's system stacks up against Oklahoma? 
 
Bob: TCU with Boykin is one heck of a task because of what Boykin brings to the table. Stand by my pick of Boykin as Heisman winner because we’re actually now seeing just how dang valuable he really has been in the last two years.
 
A true dual-threat, the epitome of a run/pass threat, not sure the Frogs can muster up a real charge if Boykin can’t be who he is and what makes him so special.
 
Brad: With all of the injuries TCU has suffered coming into this game, it's clear that they're the going to be the underdog in this game. In your opinion, what would TCU have to do come out of Norman with a win? 
 
Bob: Going to need some help, that’s for sure. Luckily OU has been one to do that, especially in Norman. Interceptions haven’t been a real factor (five for Mayfield), but fumbles have been.
 
OU has lost nine fumbles this season and most of them have come at home when OU is looking to try to make a statement and end the game early. OU had major second-quarter fumbles against Tulsa, Texas Tech and Iowa State.
 
Sooners play clean and they win. Give TCU some free points and some confidence and becomes a dogfight real quickly.
 
Brad: What is your prediction for this game? 
Bob: TCU has been “my baby” for the last two years, but not convinced the Horned Frogs have anything left in the tank right now.
All the injuries on defense to now go with Doctson and Boykin – I mean every team has its breaking point. Think the Frogs have reached it, especially since it’s abundantly clear the college football playoff committee has zero respect for what Gary Patterson has done.
Starting at No. 8 was wrong, moving down seven after the loss didn’t compute and neither did dropping three spots for a win. It’s hard to stay motivated when it feels like no matter what you do, no credit is going to be given.
Provided there are no wacky turnover/defensive scores, OU cruises like 41-20 on senior night.

Horned Frog Insider Top Stories