TCU Spring Football Primer: Can They Be Even Better Then Last Year

TCU is looking to improve off of last years Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State.  The Horned Frogs kick off spring practice today with an emphasis on attempting to replace All-American defensive end Jerry Hughes as well as Daryl Washington; both should be drafted no later then round three in the upcoming NFL draft.

At first glance replacing either of those will be difficult for any team, but head coach Gary Patterson just seems to be able to reload.  A few years back the defense was in a similar situation with Chase Ortiz who was an All-American defensive end, and then came along Jerry Hughes who was even better.  The defense should be just fine as it returns seven starters, and that coach Gary Patterson puts the best athletes on defense.

One under the radar issue is who is going to be Andy Dalton's back up and take over the quarterback spot in 2011?  Dalton is a four year starter and the heir apparent looks to be Casey Pachall who is a redshirt freshman and was a four star Rivals recruit.  The only reason the position is up for grabs is because Pachall did not play last year while redshirting.  The other option is sophomore Yogi Gallegos.

The Horned Frogs did lose their starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse is gone, but the line does return four returning starters and the replacement at left tackle looks to be JUCO Zach Roth who missed last year with a shoulder injury.  One last thought is to move right tackle Marcus Cannon to man the left tackle spot.

The running back will again be a split carry situation with Ed Wesley and Joseph Turner, so the only competition there is for mop up reps.

This team has the chance to duplicate if not exceed last years expectations, because of nearly all of the starters are back from last years Fiesta Bowl squad.  This spring will focus on being injury free, shoring up an expected defense that is to be good, and find a left tackle.

Coach: Gary Patterson
Last season: 12-1 overall, 8-0 in the Mountain West. Lost 17-10 to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Spring dates: March 23-April 15.

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense (8): T Marcus Cannon, QB Andy Dalton, G Kyle Dooley, WR Antoine Hicks, WR Jeremy Kerley, C Jake Kirkpatrick, G Josh Vernon, WR Jimmy Young.
Defense (7): LB Tank Carder, E Wayne Daniels, T Cory Grant, T Kelly Griffin, S Alex Ibiloye, FS Tejay Johnson, SS Tyler Luttrell.
Special teams (2): K Ross Evans, P Anson Kelton.

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