Know Your Foe: TCU

Jeremy Clark, Managing Editor of HornedFrogBlitz.com, answers five questions about TCU that will help you prepare for the game.

1. What’s been the biggest difference in Trevone Boykin’s play this season that’s allowed him to break out like he has?

JC: “Non-football wise it's been his maturity; he's obviously older and with that he's become more of a team leader. His teammates look up to him and have full trust. On the field, he's become better in many aspects. First, he's become more of a polished passer and has great pocket awareness. The previous two seasons Boykin would rely heavily on his arm strength to complete tough passes that he really had no business throwing. Now, you don't see him throwing into double or sometimes even triple coverage as he did in the past. His pocket awareness is night and day; he does an excellent job of going through all of progressions and if he does have to escape the pocket he’s done a great job of keeping his eyes downfield. A lot of his improvement stems from the great coaching he’s received from Sonny Cumbie but overall I think this particular offense just fits his style much better.”

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2. Do you think B.J. Catalon will be able to play in this game despite his injury? If not can Aaron Green carry the load against a very stout Longhorns run defense?

JC: “Catalon is still questionable for the game as of Tuesday but if he’s unable to go Green will answer the call once again. He’s had two consecutive 100-yard games in Catalon’s absence and rushed for two touchdowns last week in the comeback win over Kansas. Green doesn’t have the pure breakaway speed that Catalon has, but he is very quick to the line of scrimmage and has very good moves in the open field.”

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3. TCU has out-scored its opponents 151-59 in the third quarter this season, easily the Frogs’ best quarter this season. On the flip side, Texas has yet to score an offensive TD in the Big 12 during the third quarter this season. What’s allowed TCU to be so dominant in the third quarter?

JC: “Credit must be given to the coaches as they make halftime adjustments both offensively and defensively. TCU actually has had trouble in the first half of ball games with the exception of the Kansas State game the last few weeks; particularly against West Virginia and Kansas. Even Texas Tech had the Frogs on the ropes early. Along with the adjustments the coaches make, the Frogs have done a great job of creating big plays on defense by getting a turnover or coming up with a big special teams play and that’s when they’ve limited most of their turnovers. TCU leads the Big 12 in takeaways and I would bet half of those have come in the third quarter.”

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4. What was the turning point in this season when you knew that TCU was in line to do something special?

JC: “A lot of people would say the win over Oklahoma was the turning point and while there’s not much arguing that, I think the turning point was their win over Oklahoma State; a week after losing the heartbreaker to Baylor. There were a ton of questions whether or not TCU would be able to come off such an emotional loss to Baylor and honestly had this been last year’s team Oklahoma State would’ve won going away. But, the way the Frogs came out and played and beat a then No.15 Oklahoma State convincingly with a 42-9 win, proved to many doubters, including myself, that this team is much more mature and has learned from those close games they experienced last year. The game against OSU was a pivotal point of the season and the way they handled that game ultimately proved to me that this team was something special.”

5. What are the top few keys to the game for TCU?

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JC: “Don’t let Texas start fast. If Texas starts fast that’s going to give the offense a lot of confidence moving forward; especially a young quarterback in Tyrone Swoopes. On the flip side, TCU needs to start fast and take Texas out of their offensive game plan. TCU was able to do this a few weeks ago against Kansas State when they forced the Wildcats to escape their slow-paced offense built around a strong run game and made them pass. Jake Waters threw for a lot of yards, but by then the Frogs had already built a comfortable lead. If the Frogs clamp down on the Horns’ rushing attack, that could force Swoopes into throwing the ball more than what the coaches are probably comfortable with him doing. Although Swoopes is much improved, he still hasn’t shown a lot of consistency when it comes to throwing the football.

“If TCU can start fast and control the early lead, they stand a much better chance of winning the ball game.

“Limit big plays. Notice I didn’t say “don’t give up big plays” because every week teams have had success making a big play against the defense. If the Longhorns do get a big play, TCU needs to make it happen before the red-zone. Although the Frogs are prone to give up big plays, they’ve actually played very well in the red-zone this season.”

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