TCU at Texas Primer

TCU heads to Austin for a matchup with Texas on Friday.

TCU’s 31-6 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday was a reminder to Frog fans – Gary Patterson has a young inconsistent team.

The good news?

TCU hit the practice field on Sunday with plenty of urgency to practice and play, understanding preparation would be shortened due to a Friday game. 

“Expectations are high at TCU,” said head coach Gary Patterson. “In the fourth quarter, I think we missed 20 tackles…that can happen to you if you want to win ball games. http://www.scout.com/college/texas/story/1731136-can-a-win-over-tcu-save...

“They practiced well on Sunday. That is one thing about our kids. They understand it is a short week. So we will get ready to play.” 

Next up - the University of Texas, who has had what you might call an interesting week up this point. Reports started to surface on Sunday night Charlie Strong was out of a job. The only problem? Strong didn’t get any memo from his bosses about it.  Instead Texas announced that all staff evaluations would happen after the regular season.

Both teams might only have five wins, but the college football world will be paying paying attention. 

“This is a normal Texas team, every time you play Texas you know they are going to be talented,” said Patterson. “That has not changed.

“I can’t worry about it (Strong rumors)…I don’t think it’s personal. It’s part of our business. It’s the sad part, because I’ve said publically, I think Charlie is a good man. A good football coach.”

The series: Texas leads the overall series 62-23-1, but since joining the Big 12 the Frogs are 3-1 against the Longhorns. Last season, TCU cruised to a 50-7 victory, after scoring 37 points in the first half. Wide receiver KaVontae Turpin scored a career-high four touchdowns, racking up 138 receiving yards.

In 1961, then No. 1, Texas was knocked off 6-0 by TCU. 

What a win for Texas means: The Longhorns would be bowl eligible, but a win could mean so much more for the program. Would a six win save Charlie Strong’s job? It’s a Hail Mary, but some are suggesting it might.

What a win for TCU means: Plain and simple the Frogs get bowl eligible, which has to be the ultimate goal at this point. It would be TCU’s 14th bowl appearance in 16 years under Patterson. A win over Texas is always big in recruiting as well. The Longhorns don’t have the same juice as five years ago, but are still a team that is going to be in the top 25 when it comes to recruiting – no matter the coach. 

Reasons for concern: Will Texas players play inspired football in an effort to “Save Charlie.” “Sometimes that plays to your advantage,” Patterson said, “and sometimes it plays to your disadvantage.”

TCU players to watch on offense and defense:

WR.) Taj Williams – Texas currently ranks No. 106 in passing defense in the country, despite playing better in the category the last few weeks. Last year the Frogs were able to manage 376 yards thru the air and will likely have success again. Most would point to Turpin after the slot receiver’s success last season, but something tells us defensive coordinator Charlie Strong (he took over midseason) will be paying extra attention to the sophomore. This opens the door for junior college transfer Taj Williams who is due for a big game.   

LB.) Travin Howard – At 10.8 tackles a game, Howard is leading the Big 12 and is fifth nationally in the category. Texas running back D’Oanta Foreman is putting up some yards and Howard will need to be at his best to try to slow down the Longhorn running game. In last year’s matchup, the junior had 12 stops – including 1.5 tackles for loss.

Prediction:

I’m really struggling with this one. You never know how a team is going to bounce back after a loss this late in the year. As a reporter who has covered programs before dealing with coaches on the hot seat, I know it can be tough on the players. It can be even tougher for the assistants. I just have to wonder how much the atmosphere in Austin this week will play a factor in this one – good or bad? Not taking any of that in to account, I will say the Frogs in a close one. But I won’t be surprised to see the Texas players win this one for Charlie.  


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