TCU Pregame Report

Saturday's gridiron conflict between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the TCU Horned Frogs presents a psychological mystery that would cause Sigmund Freud to lie down on his own couch. On the one hand, you have the Red Raiders who have the number one passing offense and the number one total yardage offense in the country, yet are averaging only twenty-five points per game. A classic case of fear of success?

Saturday's gridiron conflict between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the TCU Horned Frogs presents a psychological mystery that would cause Sigmund Freud to lie down on his own couch. On the one hand, you have the Red Raiders who have the number one passing offense and the number one total yardage offense in the country, yet are averaging only twenty-five points per game. A classic case of fear of success?

On the other, we see the Horned Frogs who gave up forty-five points to perennial Big Ten cellar-dweller, Northwestern, only to turn around and blank the SMU Mustangs the very time they hit the field. Would that be classified as schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, Dr. Freud?

The greatest question of all is what will transpire when these two enigmas collide in Jones SBC Stadium this weekend. Happily, fade patterns and zone blitzes rather than Prozac and Rorschach will provide the answer.

Although TCU's defense has been boom-and-bust, its offense has been steadily superb, trailing only Tech in NCAA passing yardage statistics. The prime mover of the Frogs is quarterback Tye Gunn, a 6' 3" 215 pound junior from LaGrange. After two games, he has completed 28 of 50 passes for 492 yards and 4 touchdowns with only 1 interception. Gunn was silenced by a minor rib injury in the second quarter of the SMU game, but his replacement Brandon Hassell was impressive in relief going 17 of 22 with 2 touchdowns.

Reggie Harrell, a 6' 3" 215 pound senior from Arlington, is the main target of TCU's two-barreled attack, having hauled in 15 catches for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns and averaging 17.8 yards per catch. It is worth recalling the damage that another lanky receiver, New Mexico's Hank Baskett, did to the Tech secondary last week.

The Frog ground attack has been less productive, but is still worthy of respect. Clarksville sophomore Lonta Hobbs is the TCU bellcow, rushing for 229 yards on the season thus far at 5.5 yards a tote.

If the Horned Frogs have an offensive weakness, it could be in the kicking game, where sophomore Peter LoCoco is only 3-6 on field goals and 9-11 in extra point conversion attempts.

Regardless of productivity, the Red Raiders defense will have to be prepared for a balanced attack. TCU has rushed the ball 87 times and attempted 73 passes.

As noted above, the Frog defense has blown hot and cold so far. The unit that allowed Northwestern to rack up 637 total yards is the same one that stifled SMU, giving up only 170 clicks.

The front seven is TCU's stronger suit and is led by linebacker Martin Patterson, a 6' 2" 230 pound senior from DeSoto who has logged 17 tackles with 1 tackle for a loss, half a sack, 2 pass breakups and a forced fumble. 6' 3" 275 pound defensive end Ranorris Ray has notched 6 tackles with 2 behind the line of scrimmage and 1 sack.

A name Tech fans may remember is Quincy Butler, who originally signed with the Raiders out of San Antonio Roosevelt high school but failed to meet academic requirements. He now starts at cornerback for TCU. Speaking of Butler, Horned Frog head coach Gary Patterson stated, "We need a bigger corner that can press the boundaries against Tech. We allowed Northwestern to get out of holes because we had smaller guys."

Against the Raiders, TCU's primary concern will be not be about which Tech team will show up, but will the "real" Red Raiders finally make their grand entrance. Given Tech's history of outrageous offensive productivity under Mike Leach, and the tremendous yardage if not points that the 2004 Raiders have gobbled up, the general consensus is that the Tech offense is a daisy-cutter on the verge of detonating. The Frogs can only hope that the explosion doesn't occur against them.

The leader of the Tech bomb-squad is quarterback Sonny Cumbie. The senior from Snyder has completed 84 of 136 passes for an astonishing 919 yards, with 2 interceptions and 5 touchdowns. His primary receiver has been sophomore Jarrett Hicks who has caught 17 aerials for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Houston native is averaging 17.6 yards per catch.

The Tech ground attack, it must be said, has been less than scintillating. Taurean Henderson, a junior from Gatesville, leads the way with only 91 yards on 23 carries.

The Red Raider defense appears to be much improved over last years unit, which finished 106th in the nation.

Free safety Vincent Meeks of Rockwall has been a nemesis to opposing ball-carriers. He has 20 tackles on the year. All American candidate Adell Duckett heads up the Raider front seven with 9 tackles, 4 tackles for losses, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble from his defensive end position.

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