2004 Season Preview
Coming off a memorable 2003 season, the Horned Frogs look to avenge their losses to Southern Miss and the thriller with Boise State in the Fort Worth Bowl as well as make another legitimate run at a highly acclaimed BCS bowl.
2003 Record: 11-2 (.846) 7-1 in conference USA
2003 Final Ranking: 17
Returning Offensive Starters: 8, including quarterbacks Brandon Hassell and Tye Gunn, who has recovered from his injuries. Also returning: Lonta Hobbs, who looks like a strong all-conference candidate.
Returning Defensive Starters: 5, including Brandon Johnson
Head Coach: Gary Patterson, who is 27-11 both in his career and at TCU
Crucial Games for 2004: At Texas Tech and against Southern Miss
After capturing America's attention by nearly breaking the BCS barrier into the Rose Bowl, TCU looks to return as an even better contender this year, returning most of their weapons on offense and rebuilding on defense. Head coach Gary Patterson returns with a new contract (through 2008) and an improved game plan as TCU prepares for another 10-win season. TCU's final season in the ever-changing Conference USA will hopefully prepare them for the much stronger Mountain West conference.
The Horned Frogs only real challenge looks to be against Big 12 member Texas Tech. Always dangerous Southern Mississippi will try for a repeat of their defeat of the frogs, but with home field advantage this time, TCU will have even more motivation to exact revenge on their BCS campaign. Big 10 doormats Northwestern will not be potent in any aspect of the game, but the early season exposure on national TV (ESPN 2) will almost certainly assist the frogs. To date, TCU has managed to topple teams from nearly every major conference, and is poised to make strong moves nationally, especially as they draw better talent out of the loaded state of Texas.
Offense: Returning both of their quarterbacks, 4 out of 5 the offensive lineman and a pair of potent tailbacks, the offense looks to be the strongest point on the TCU roster. RB Lonta Hobbs was able to run for 3.9 yards per carry and score nine touchdowns in 2003 while sophomore Ryan Merrill averaged over 5 yards per carry and rushed for over 1000 yards. Tye Gunn, while injury prone, is perfect as a starter and is likely to improve with some much needed rest in the off-season. The dual air attack of Gunn and Hassell is part of the balanced strategy of the Horned Frog's offense, although their strength lies mainly in the running game. The offensive line program at TCU managed to help out outstanding NFL back Ladainian Tomlinson of San Diego, and 2004 appears to be no different. With nearly all of the line returning, they will be able to effectively protect in order to create pocket passing opportunities as well as plow holes for the already talented backs.
Defense: The defense has a bit more rebuilding this year, although they do return WS Marvin Godbolt, who was injured after four game last season. With 4 interceptions, Godbolt is poised for a big season, barring any new injuries. The defensive line while young, has lots of speed and swarms to the football. Zarnell Fitch hopes to lead the line, which has been traditionally strong. While Brandon Johnson is out with knee surgery, Newby and Ray seem more than capable of taking on the 4-2-5 defense. LB Martin Patterson comes back for a third season, and is the only linebacker with any real experience. Senior Logo Tevaseu will likely start, but he has only limited experience on special teams.
Special Teams: New kicker Mike Wynn replaces all C-USA player Nick Browne (who earned special teams player of the year), but returns inconsistent punter John Braziel. The kick returning squad appear in good shape, but the strength lies mainly in the offense.
The Horned Frogs will reach the BCS this year if: They stay undefeated and put on a convincing show at Louisville and Texas Tech.
TCU 2004 Preview
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