TCU is back in Fort Worth coming off their worst loss of the season in Morgantown, and now they prepare to play at Amon G. Carter Stadium for the first time in four weeks as they host the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday. Frogs head coach Gary Patterson and players spoke with the media Tuesday, giving us the latest scoop on a team that is now searching for answers after posting a lackluster 4-3 record through seven games.
Time for a surge power
When you play in one of the fastest conferences in all of college football, energy is critical, and Patterson is none too pleased with what he has seen from his squad in that department this season. Patterson said in particular that the special teams unit has been playing with extremely low energy by TCU standards.
“I think the energy of special teams is how you judge your football team,” Patterson said. “You have to take your own energy. The stadium energy is just a supplement.”
Saturday’s special team struggles for the Frogs were nothing short of blatant, highlighted by wide-receiver Deante Gray fumbling two kick-off returns, the first on the opening kick of the game. Patterson added that the absence of WR KaVontae Turpin has likely contributed to decline in energy.
Special teams are just one part of the equation though. While Patterson said he feels the defense has done a lot of growing up, he said the offense needs to regain its swagger that it once carried.
“Kenny needs more people to throw to,” Patterson said. “Just because things don’t go right doesn’t mean you put your head down and stop doing things. Here’s when you know you’re a good offense: when they put more in the box than you can block and you still gain yardage with the football.”
As the Frogs face a Texas Tech squad that recorded an extraordinary 854 yards of offense last Saturday, they can only hope they find that swagger sooner than later.
The Frogs gained some depth back last Saturday with the return of center Austin Schlottman, and after not playing as a game time decision in Morgantown, Patterson said we can expect WR KaVontae Turpin to return this week against the Red Raiders.
He was between 80 and 90 percent on Saturday when we decided not to play him. At this point you have to make decisions for the long haul, not just for what’s right in front of you,” Patterson said.
Patterson noted that he is not certain as to whether Turpin will play only as a receiver or if he will see action as a kick-returner as well. Turpin has not played since he suffered a knee injury during a kick return on September 17 against Iowa State.
With Schlottman back in action and Turpin soon to follow, another recent addition that has been put in the spotlight is senior wide-receiver Daniel Walsh, a walk-on who made his first start as a Horned Frog Saturday as he caught 4 passes for a career high 32 yards.
Walsh’s entire story is a long story for another time, but the San Diego native had no intentions of playing football when he first came to TCU in 2013. Now, he has gone from a scout team player to a starting wide-receiver in his final season.
“I didn’t expect to start Saturday, but when your number is called, you have to make the most of your opportunities,” Walsh said. I’m grateful that I could contribute to the team doing whatever we can to win.”
Looking ahead to Texas Tech
The Frogs are looking forward to their first home game in four weeks this Saturday, but they’ll have their hands full once again as they take on the high-flying offense of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas Tech made headlines last weekend when quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for an FBS record 88 times in Saturday’s 66-59 loss to Oklahoma, throwing for 734 yards and 5 touchdowns. The game set an all-time record for combined offensive yardage in a single game, with 1,708 on the night between the Sooners and Red Raiders.
“Welcome to the Big 12,” Patterson said. “We’ve seen a few 60 pass games before, but I’ve never seen anything like that. Give credit to Mahomes. He’s been playing banged up and he has a great skill set.
The Frogs and Red Radiers themselves have a history of playing in shootouts. Last season, the Frogs prevailed in Lubbock by a score of 55-52 after former running-back Aaron Green put the Frogs ahead in the final minute on a miracle touchdown catch. Two years ago, it was all TCU, as the Frogs put up 82 points in front of their home crowd against Texas Tech.
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Expect more fireworks Saturday, because I’m sure this time around the pyrotechnics crew at Amon G. Carter Stadium won’t run out of them halfway through the contest.