Connect with us

Football

State of the Big 12: Talented Defense, RB’s Will Carry TCU to Contention this Season

Published

on

There’s never a wrong time to talk about college football, which means the summer is a perfect time to look at each Big 12 team to see where they stand ahead of the fall.

We’ve already broken down the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This week, we’re taking a 4.5 hour drive east to Fort Worth, Texas to look at the TCU Horned Frogs.

Offense

As with Texas Tech and many other Big 12 teams this season, the Horned Frogs will have a good amount to replace this season after losing 56 percent of their offensive production from 2017. And it will all begin at quarterback, where true sophomore Shawn Robinson is expected to be the man.

Last season, Robinson went 13 of 27 for 184 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 159 yards on the ground on 23 carries. Those stats include his one start against Texas Tech where he threw for 85 yards and one touchdown and ran for 84 yards and had TCU’s only turnover of the game on a fumble.

During the spring scrimmage, Robinson made some major errors including an intercepted pass, multiple sacks taken, and a sloppy exchange in the backfield that resulted in a lost fumble.

All that said, he’s still the assumed starter. Though, don’t count out Penn transfer Michael Collins, who could make things interesting.

The Frogs also lost a lot of receivers, including three of their top five from last season. Though, they do return two seniors in Jaelan Austin and KaVontae Turpin, and top touchdown catcher Jalen Reagor.

RETURNING WRS 2017 RECEPTIONS 2017 YARDS 2017 TDS
JALEN REAGOR 28 407 7
KAVONTAE TURPIN 38 382 1
JAELAN AUSTIN 815 242 0

The bigger thing, is that TCU returns three of their top five rushers including No. 1 back Darius Anderson, who you might recall racked up a total of 201 yards and three touchdowns against Oklahoma State last season.

RETURNING RBS 2017 CARRIES 2017 YARDS 2017 TDS
DARIUS ANDERSON 128 768 8
SEWO OLONILUA 59 272 7
SHAWN ROBINSON 23 159 0

 

The big thing for the Horned Frogs is that they lost three starting offensive lineman. In fact, if there is a major concern for the Horned Frog offense, it’s on the line, according to Melissa Triebwasser of Frogs of War.

“The talent is there, but until these guys get on the field and play and develop some chemistry, there’s just a lot of question marks there,” said Triebwasser.

If they can gel, this could be a solid unit for TCU next season. If not, the offense could be in some big trouble.

Defense

Nine of the 11 projected starters on defense are upperclassmen, which means a lot of experience. Add to that multiple talented recruiting classes, this might be one of Gary Patterson’s most talented defensive teams.

“This group is the highest rated groups of recruits TCU has ever had on campus together,” said Melissa Triebwasser. “A lot of them are going to be red-shirt freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.”

The real strength of the defense will be the defensive line. Defensive end Ben Banogu, who had 8.5 sacks last season, is a potential first-round talent, who opted not to declare for the NFL draft and return for his senior season. Also returning is senior end L.J. Collier who had an impressive performance in the Alamo Bowl. Finally, the defensive tackle duo of sophomores Ross Blacklock (14 games, 3.5 tackles for loss, 5 QB hurries, Big 12 co-defensive freshman of the year) and Corey Bethley (6.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks) is expected to be one of the best in the Big 12 this season.

On the flip side, there is some concern in the backfield, at least when it comes to depth at cornerback. Junior cornerback Jeff Gladney was honorable mention All-Big 12 last season. But beyond that, there’s not a lot of experience.

They do have some depth (and talent) at the safety position and the staff is reportedly very high on defensive backs Innis Gaines and Ridwan Issahaku.

By the end of the season, barring injuries, this could be a scary Gary Patterson defense.

Versus Oklahoma State

Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, Oklahoma State leads the series 4-2, and none of the games have been close. In fact, the closest final margin was last year’s 13-point margin.

More importantly, both teams have pulled of big upsets; for TCU it was last season in Stillwater. For the Cowboys it was in 2015 in Stillwater. The point is, history isn’t going to tell us much about this season.

ESPN gives Oklahoma State a 54.2% chance to beat TCU, which is generous than I am right now. where I’m at. If this game were earlier in the season, I’d call it more of a 50-50 game. But being late in November, in Fort Worth, I think this game is going to be a real test for Oklahoma State.

Most Read