By: Dean Straka
Coming off a scare against South Dakota State last Saturday, TCU now braces themselves for an SEC opponent this weekend as the Arkansas Razorbacks roll into town.
Head coach Gary Patterson addressed members of the media Tuesday afternoon as the team tries to correct itself from Saturday’s miscues and return to form for this week’s contest under the lights.
The Frogs defense was nothing short of disastrous against SDSU, surrendering 333 passing yards and allowing 41 points. For a unit that was supposed to be the strength of the TCU 2016 squad, serious concerns loom as the Frogs face an SEC team in just four days.
“We only saw about 10 percent of what we worked on for the past three weeks during the game,” Patterson said. “I really wasn’t happy with the defense in any way.”
Patterson said that missed tackles were the biggest caveat in Saturday’s victory, and that the defense “looked surprised.” Patterson noted several defensive players who did not play up to par.
“I put Travin Howard in a bad spot because he hadn’t played much,” Patterson said. “Sammy Douglas and Ty Summers need to level up. Ranthony (Texada) also really didn’t do too much. Josh Carraway and James McFarland (video above) came alive late, but that was it from them.”
Patterson said we can expect Ty Summers to start at linebacker this week.
“We’ll have a few more surprises up our sleeve,” Patterson said.
After not playing in an NCAA football game for nearly two years, Kenny Hill threw for 439 yards with two passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns Saturday night, and Patterson was impressed.
“You can’t dwell on mistakes, and Kenny handled that great,” Patterson said. “For not having played in over a year and half, I think he’ll do great this year.
Patterson was quick to point out that Hill immediately synced with the high tempo offense, finding all nine receivers at least once throughout the night.
“When you can’t use the deep ball, you have to move chains,” Patterson said. “We were able to go up tempo even with a new quarterback on the first drive.”
NEXT UP: ARKANSAS
A meeting over six years in the making, the Horned Frogs and Razorbacks finally hit the gridiron this weekend for the first game of a home and home series between to the two schools. As an SEC opponent rolls into Amon G. Carter Stadium for the first time in recent memory, the Frogs are expecting a physical battle.
“They’ve matured as a program and they come right at you,” Patterson said. “We’re going to have a lot more of an athletic opponent this weekend.”
Patterson said handling Arkansas’ defense, who returns six starters in 2016, could be quite the hurdle.
“They’re bigger than what we are and there is a lot of Southwest Conference thought process. They make you play football, so get ready to enter the trenches,” Patterson said.
Even with the Razorbacks’ ugly 21-20 victory over Louisiana Tech last weekend, Patterson said he expects Arkansas to be back in full functioning form when they arrive in Fort Worth.
“I expect them, like us, to be much improved between weeks one and two. They’re physical up front, and you have got to be able to handle the rush,” Patterson said.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema coached Wisconsin when the Badgers played TCU in the Rose Bowl.
* TCU moved up to No. 12 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll after appearing at No. 14 last week. One of the biggest jumps would have come from Texas, who went form unranked to No. 20. Head coach Gary Patterson said on Tuesday he was cheering for the Longhorns, citing the conference’s need for ranked teams to get into the playoff.
* Senior running back Deante Gray would have probably received more touches on Saturday, but Gray had concussion like symptoms after a hit. Look for Gray to be more involved against Arkansas State.
* Junior college transfer Taj Williams shined on Saturday, catching 11 balls for 158 yards and a score. Patterson said Williams was a benefactor of enrolling in the spring compared to the summer. During spring football, Williams struggled to get off press coverage. Now 20 pounds heavier after a strong offseason in the TCU strength and conditioning program, Williams looks like a different receiver.
* Saturday’s matchup with Arkansas will have some fans reminiscing the good old Southwest Conference days. The fact of the matter, these TCU players weren’t even alive when the two team shared conference affiliation. The home-and-home matchup was the Razorbacks was setup prior to TCU’s Rose Bowl run during the 2010 season. It has been pushed back once.
* Michigan running back transfer Derrick Green gives the Frogs a bigger back according to Patterson and he was happy with the performance in week one – 5 carries for 25 yards.
* Here is a quote to note: "The key is if you want to be great, there is no such thing as, okay!" Patterson was responding to a reporter that asked how his player’s psyches handle being told they need to improve or Arkansas might score 1,000 on them. “The bottom line is you are going to say when things are good. Things weren’t good.”