2010 TCU Season Preview: Super-Deluxe Edition

(via Timm Photography)

TCU Preview Outline

1.) Players to Watch
2.) Best Case Scenario
3.) Worst Case Scenario
4.) What Should Happen
5.) The Offense
6.) The Defense
7.) Special Teams
8.) The Schedule
9.) Poll Question

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

1.) QB Andy Dalton
2.) WR/PR Jeremy Kerley
3.) LB Tank Carder
4.) SS Tejay Johnson
5.) WR Antoine Hicks

 


BEST CASE SCENARIO

The most realistic best-case scenario for the Frogs is going undefeated and playing in a BCS Bowl like the Rose or the Sugar against a big-name opponent that they can prove their worth against.  With the biggest challenges on the schedule being Oregon State, Baylor, BYU, and Utah going 12-0 is an ambitious yet realistic goal for the 2010 team.  The absolute best-case scenario is for the Frogs to get a little help and head back to Tempe, AZ, but this time for the BCS National Championship.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

With such lofty goals anything less than winning the Mountain West Conference will be considered a disaster of epic proportions.  But it is entirely likely with the November 6th game against the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City looming large.  A loss against Utah coupled with another loss to a team like Baylor or Oregon State and the air will be totally let out of the TCU balloon.  The true nightmare-scenario for Frog fans would be TCU and Boise State both going undefeated but TCU not receiving an at-large BCS bid and being left out of the BCS party and instead sentenced to the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.


WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN

This team has the talent, experience, and most importantly the schedule to go undefeated in the regular season and to a BCS Bowl for a second straight year.  A lackluster OOC schedule will be the anchor on the Horned Frogs National Championship aspirations unless complete anarchy takes place in the polls.

(Read the rest of the preview after the jump)

THE OFFENSE 

*Returning starters in bold

QB- Andy Dalton (6-3, 220 Sr)
RB-
Ed Wesley (5-9, 200 So) OR Matthew Tucker (6-1, 210 So)
WR- Antoine Hicks (6-2, 212 Jr)
WR- Jimmy Young (6-1, 208 Sr)
WR- Jeremy Kerley (5-10, 192 Sr)
TE- Evan Frosch (6-4, 265 Sr)
LT- Marcus Cannon (6-6, 350 Sr)
LG- Kyle Dooley (6-3, 315 Jr)
C- Jake Kirkpatrick (6-3, 305 Sr)
RG- Josh Vernon (6-2, 300 Sr)
RT-
Jeff Olson (6-4, 282 Jr)

The Skinny:   During the Gary Patterson era at TCU the Horned Frog offense has traditionally been overshadowed by the Frog's dominating 4-2-5 defense, but last season Andy Dalton and company proved that is no longer the case in Fort Worth.  With 9 returning starters from a 2009 unit that ranked 7th nationally in total offense with 456.69 yards per game the offense looks to be the strength of the team in 2010. 

4th year starter and 2009 MWCOffensive Player of the Year, Andy Dalton, looks to poised to lead the most explosive Horned Frog offense in recent memory.  Dalton should have plenty of protection this season with 4 returning starters from an offensive line that allowed less than 1 sack (.92) per game in 2009.  Dalton will also have the luxury of having familiar faces on the recieving endof his spirals as everyone in the receiving core will be back with the exception of Ryan Christian.  Balance will also be a facet of this unit with two-thirds of the 3-man running back rotation returning in Wesley and Tucker, and withthe additions of Aundre Dean, Waymon James, and Dwight Smith the running game looks to have even more pop in 2010. 

Bottom Line:  This offense looks like it's going to cruise in the fast lane all season unless it gets a flat-tire in the form of an injury to Andy Dalton.

Biggest Question Mark:  Right Tackle, who emerges as the starter on September 4th is anybody's guess right now, for the moment Jeff Olson has the edge.

Breakout Candidate:  RB Aundre Dean, the UCLA transfer has been chomping at the bit after sitting out last season and you better believe he is ready to run somebody over.

Strength of the Offense:  Balance and experience, this unit is going to be a nightmare for defensive coordinators to scheme for.

Weakness of the Offense:  Backup Quarterback, should Dalton go down all bets are off.

First to be Drafted:  Left Tackle Marcus Cannon looks to be a first or second rounder in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Biggest Playmaker:  WR Jeremy Kerley breaks more ankles than Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

 

Depth Chart (* denotes returning starter)

Quarterbacks

1.)  Andy Dalton (6-3, 220 Sr)*

Dalton is the "straw that stirs the drink" on an impressive TCU offense that in 2009 finished 8th in total-offense and averaged a remarkable 38 points per game.  The reigning MWC Offensive Player of the Year is as fleet of foot(4.4 ypc in 2009) as he is accurate(60.2 career completion percentage), which is vital to running the spread offense that TCUemploys.  But most importantly he is a winner, with one more "W" Dalton will have written his name in the record books as the winningest QB in TCU history, supplanting the legendary Slingin' Sammy Baugh (29, 1934-36).

2a.)  Casey Pachall (6-5, 208 RS Fr)

Pachall came to TCUin 2009 as a highly touted recruit who garnered offers from impressive football institutions such as Florida, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Michigan.  Pachall redshirted his first season on campus andworked primarily withthe scout team.  He will be competing with Yogi Gallegos for the role of Dalton's backup and presumably will see snaps in 2010 in mop-up duty.

2b.)  Yogi Gallegos (6-1, 208 So)

Although Gallegos has yet to throw a collegiate pass he is still very much considered in the running for the #2 spot.  What Gallegos lacks in physical presence he makes up for with his impressive speed (4.5 40-yd dash).  Look for Gallegos to get the first shot under center if needed in a game situation. 

3a.)  Matt Brown (6-1, 185 Fr)

Dual-threat QB Matt Brown was originally slated to be an Arizona Wildcat, but thanks to a domino effect created by Lane Kiffin's departure from Tennessee(La Tech HC Derek Dooley to UT, UA OC Sonny Dykes to La Tech) the highly regarded Brown essentially fell into Coach Gary Patterson's lap.  Brown was also the subject of an ESPN the Magazine feature on the recruiting process of HS QB's by Bruce Feldman. 

3b.)  Sam Carter (6-0, 205 Fr)

Carter is another dual-threat quarterback from the class of 2010.  Carter is regarded as a supremely gifted athlete so many are under the assumption that he could be in-line for a position change but for now he will try his hand at QB.  Carter also had offers from Miami (Fla), Oklahoma St., Louisville, and Baylor. 

Summary

Quarterback might be the "Achilles' heel" of the 2010 TCU Horned Frogs, as a 4thyear starter Dalton will be the most important piece of the puzzle on offense but if he goes down then all bets are off.  While there is considerable talent behind Dalton not one player has thrown a collegiate pass, and although Dalton has provento be quite durable TCU fans know all to well that a proven backup is a must in this offense due to the big hits that can be sustained while running the option.

Tailbacks

1a.)  Matthew Tucker (6-1, 210 So)

As a true freshman Matthew Tucker burst onto the scene andinto the 3-man rotation with a striking 2009 campaign.  Tucker placed 2ndon the team in rushing with676 yards on 105 attempts (6.4 ypc) and 8 touchdowns.   Tucker is a hard-nosed runner that can be counted on between the tackles but also has deceptive speed once he gets to the 2nd level of the defense.

1b.)  Ed Wesley (5-9, 200 So)

Another back to have a breakout campaign in 2009 was redshirtfreshman Ed Wesley.  Wesley had nearly identical rushing numbers to Matthew Tucker with638 yards on 101 attempts (6.3 ypc) and4 touchdowns.  However Wesley differentiated himself withhis contributionsto the passing game by turning 8 receptions into 170 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Look for Wesley's role in the passing game to be expanded in 2010 and possibly work some at slot in a capacity similar to that of the now departed Ryan Christian.

2.)  Waymon James (5-8, 203 RS Fr)

Waymon James was another big-time signee in the class of 2009, ranked by Rivalsas the second-best running back in Texas and the tenth-best running back in the nation, James had offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Georgia Tech.  He redshirted the 2009 season and apparently made good use of his time in the weight room by putting on 13 lbs of muscle since his senior year of high school.  This Sherman, Texas, back runs like a greased bowling ball and his low center of gravity makes tackling him a tall order.  He figures to work into the rotation right away and become TCU's very own "Sherman Tank."

3.)  Aundre Dean (6-0, 215 So) 

A transfer from UCLA, Dean sat out the 2009 season per NCAA transfer rules and now has 3 years of  remaining eligibility.  A member of the 2008 Rivals 250 and a 2008 Parade All-American, Dean's offer list coming out of high school was a "who's who" of college football programs that included Texas, Alabama, andOhio State.  The Katy, TX, standout played high school football with TCU starting quarterback Andy Dalton who apparently played a role in bringing the heralded back to Fort Worth. Dean is a physical runner with a throw-back running style that resembles that of an Earl Campbell or Eric Dickerson.  With so much talent at the running back position Coach Gary Patterson decided to have Dean try his hand at strong safety in the practices leading up to the Fiesta Bowl, however this experiment was short-lived.  Dean returned to running back in the spring, and after an impressive showing he appears to be locked in at running back.

4.)  Dwight Smith (5-10, 218 Fr)

Dwight Smith at this point in his career is more myththan man, withtall tales being woven about his legendthat would make even Chuck Norris blush.  He is widely regarded as an elite talent that slipped through the cracks due to questionsregarding his NCAA academic qualifying, possibly due in part to complications in the transfer of coursework during a move from California to Carhtage, TX.  If it wasn't for the uncertantysurrounding his eligibility it is likely that Smith would be currently spending his Saturdays in somewhere like LosAngeles or Austin.  Smith, a class of 2009 TCU signee, did not arrive on campus until the Spring of 2010 as he waited for the NCAA to review his case which was eventually ruled in his favor.  Smith was named the Texas 3A Player of the Year by the Associated Press after a herculean senior effort where he rushed for 2,820 yards and 43 touchdowns including an awe-inspiring 272 yards and 5 touchdowns in the state-title game in 2008, Carthage High School's first state championship.  Smith's highly anticipated debut in the 2010 purple and white spring game was bittersweet as he was impressive early but eventually went down with a knee and had to be helped off the field.  The signifigance and status of Smith's inuryis unknown at this point but given the Horned Frogs current depth at running back it would not be surprising for him to redshirt in 2010, giving one more year for his knee to heal andhis legend to grow.

5.) Jercell Fort (5-11, 195 Jr)

This Los Angeles product originally came to TCU as a cornerback and was moved to running back midway through the 2007 season.  Fort had 25 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown in 2009.

6.)  Jai Cavness (5-8, 205 Jr)

What jumps off the page about Jai Cavness is his apparent weight gain the past year, as he was listed at 175 lbs in the 2009 media guide.  So either Cavnesshas been readying himself for a statement-making 2010, or he has discovered a new found love for Cold Stone Creamery.  Cavness was regarded as a speed back so it will be interesting to watch how his running style has evolved now that he has strapped on an extra 30 lbs. 

7.) Ethan Grant (5-10, 175 Fr)

A member of the Rivals 250 in 2010 this Florida speedster had offers to Oregon, Miami (Fla), Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  Grant was chosen to represent the nation in this years innagural "USA vs. The World" game in which he scored a touchdown.  Grant is a shifty speed back who will most likely redshirt in 2010 in order to add some weight to his frame, maybe Jai Cavness can give him some pointers.

Summary

In losing only one key contributor at RB from the 2009 team (Joseph Turner: 147 att, 754 yds, 11 tds) and adding backs like Waymon James, Aundre Dean, andDwight Smith to the fold, TCUhas nothing short of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the running back depth chart.  Young, deep, and immensleytalented, this stable of backs rivals that of any team in the nation.  Mack Brown would trade tailbacks with Gary Patterson in a heartbeat, and he would throw in a crate of fresh-cut Bevosteaks for good measure.  The only downside is that there are only so many carries to go around.

Wide Receivers

WR (X)

1.) Antoine Hicks (6-2, 212 Jr)*

Hicks made his presence known in a big way last season, scoring 10 touchdowns off of 32 touches.  Thanks to this impressive feat he will forever be known as Antoine "Six" to me.  Hicks is also responsible for scoring the go-ahead touchdown against Clemson by making the most absurd catch I have ever witnessed.   Hicks was a QB in high school anda top recruit in Texas who originally signed with the Longhorns, but as fate would have it he ended up at TCU and the rest is history, and lots and lots of touchdowns.

2.) Josh Boyce (6-0, 195 RS Fr)

Hearing nothing but glowing reviews regarding Boyce's practice performances.

3.) Jonathan Jones (6-4, 215 Jr)

Jones has had a career thus far that has been marred by injuries, fully healthy for the first time in years, look for a breakout year from the Fort Worth local. 

WR (Y)

1.) Jeremy Kerley (5-10, 192 Sr)*

Known primarily for his fantastic kick and punt returns that frequently appear on SportsCenter's Top 10 PlaysKerleyalso led the team in receptions (44) and receiving yards (532) in 2009.  Thanks to his supreme athleticism and agility Kerley is a threat to run the ball on sweeps as well, and he also runs the team's "Wild Frog" package.  Like so many players recruited by TCU Kerley was a QB in high school, and was deemed by many as the "crown jewel" of the 2007 recruitng class. He also received offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Baylor, and Arizona.

2.) Skye Dawson (5-10, 175 So)

A MWCchampion indoor sprinter in the 60-meters with a time of 6.69 seconds, Dawson's speed to this point is utilized on sweeps andreverses, leading to 111 yards on 13 attempts(sadly no receptions).  Towards the end of the season Dawson was primarily used as a decoy as the majority of defenses had seen him on film and were forced to respect his speed.

WR (H)

1.) Jimmy Young (6-1, 208 Sr)*

Through Young's career so far he has 115 receptions for 1,830 yards, placing him 8th and 7th respectively on TCU's all-time career receiving lists.  Young could be best described as solid but not spectacular, and he has provento be a steady and consistent possession receiver that Dalton looks to in big spots.  He has also revealed himself to be a selfless reciever in that after his numbers dropped from 59 receptionsfor 988 yards in 2008 to 33 receptions for 517 yards in 2009, he didn't say "boo" about it, letting the media know that the only numbers he cared about were those that reside in the win column.  Look for him to work more from the slot this year to utilize his bigger frame and blocking ability.  Young is from Monroe, Louisiana, and has twice been named honorable-mention All-MWC.

2.) Alonzo Adams (6-0, 190 Sr)

Adams is a Houston native who arrived at TCUin 2008 from Tyler Junior College.

WR (Z)

1a.) Bart Johnson (6-0, 195 Sr)*

Bart Johnson, who originally joined the team as a walk-on, tied with Jimmy Young in 2009 for second on the team in receptions with a career-high 33 snagsJohnson was also a first-team selection to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team in 2008.

1b.) Curtis Clay (6-0, 193 Sr)

Much like Johnson, Clay also began his Horned Frog career as a walk-on and in 2009 had a career-best 18 catches including a 30 yard touchdown reception in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Summary

Are you sensing a theme here?  The 2010 Horned Frog offense is locked and loaded, and the receiving corps is no different.   Losing only one player from the 2009 receiving core (Ryan Christian) the Frogs have 6 seniors and 4 returning starters at wideout.  Good thing TCU utilizes a spread offense that can get them all on the field and a quarterback that can distribute the ball efficiently. 

Tight Ends

1.)  Evan Frosch (6-4, 265 Sr)*

From Midland, TX, Frosch was named honorable-mention All-Mountain West Conference in 2009.

2.)  Logan Brock (6-4, 260 Jr)

Logan Brock led all TCUtight ends in receiving with 5 catches for 67 yards, and can also play fullback in a pinch.  Brock a 2007 recruit, had offers to Kansas, Illinois, and Iowa State.  Logan's brother, Tanner Brock, is expected to start at linebacker for the Frogs this season.

3.)  Corey Fuller (6-6, 255 So)

Originally committed to cross-town rival SMU in 2008, Fuller saw the light and became a Frog.

4.)  Walker Dille (6-4, 242 So)

Voted to the Texas All-State team in 2007 by the Texas Sportswriters Association, Dille also was offered by Boise State.

5.)  Stephen Bryant (6-5, 220 Fr)

A true freshman from Class A New Deal High School, Bryant was a two-way superstar, excelling at both quarterback and safety.  Voted to the All-State team as a defensive back by the Associated Press and the Texas Sportswriters Association, also named MVP of his district as both quarterback and defensive back.  Bryant also had offers to Texas Tech, North Texas, Iowa State, and Tulsa.

Fullback Depth Chart

1.)  Luke Shivers (6-0, 200 Jr)

Originally a linebacker, Shivers was moved to fullback in 2007.  Shivers had 2 touchdowns on 3 touches in 2009.  Had offers to Utah, University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Louisiana Tech.

Summary

Tight end andfullback have become thankless positions at TCU with lots of blocking assignments andvery few looks your way, hopefully 2010 is the year that all changes, but don't hold your breath.  But here's to our unsung hero's, thanks for a job well done.

Offensive Line

Left Tackle

1.) Marcus Cannon (6-6, 350 Sr)*

In 2009 Cannon did not allow a sack all season, andhis dominant performance at right tackle was rewarded with a first-team All-MWC selection.  Cannon will slide over to left tackle in 2010 to take over for Marshall Newhouse, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round.  Cannon is well thought of by the "draft-niks" as well, Mel Kiper of ESPNhas Cannon in his top 5 of draft eligible offensive tackles and ESPN the Magazine's Bruce Feldman ranked Cannon as one of his "Top Workout Warriors," and it's easy to see why.

2.) James Dunbar (6-6, 305 RS Fr)

Dunbar was a first-team all-district selection at defensive end and running back for Maud High School.  Yes, you read that right, RUNNING BACK.

Left Guard

1.) Kyle Dooley (6-3, 315 Jr)*

Nebraska product who started all 13 games in 2009 and 5 in 2008.

2.) Blaize Foltz (6-4, 310 So)

Foltz (Derby, KS) appeared in 12 games last season in a reserve capacity and made two starts (UNLV & BYU) in place of an injured Josh Vernon.  Foltz is a weight room junkie andis expected to set many records before he leaves Fort Worth.  His brother, Brady Foltz, who also plays guard, recently committed to TCU as a member of the 2011 class.

Center

1.) Jake Kirkpatrick (6-3, 305 Sr)*

Kirkpatrick was named a first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated and was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the top center in the country.

2.) James Fry (6-3, 290 So)

Hobbies include playing Guitar Hero, drawing, and fishing.

Right Guard

1.) Josh Vernon (6-2, 300 Sr)*

Vernon returns for his second year as a starter at right guard.

2.) Ty Horn (6-5, 320 RS Fr)

Member of the Rivals Texas Top 100 in 2009.

Right Tackle

1a.) Jeff Olson (6-4, 282 Jr)

Olson began spring practice as an afterthought and ended it as the starting right tackle, beating out Zach Roth for the time being.  Olson arrived at TCU in 2007 as a 240 lb tight end.

1b.) Zach Roth (6-6, 316 Sr)

Roth, a 2008 transfer from Garden City C.C. (KS), was penciled in as the starting tackle going into the spring when he was unseated by Jeff Olson.  It is unclear whether this is a motivational ploy or not, but either way this battle should go down to the wire.

2.) Spencer Thompson (6-4, 305 Jr)

Thompson, a first year letterman from Plainview, TX looks to work his way into the rotation this year.

 Summary

TCU returns four starters on the offensive line from a 2009 unit that ranked 6th nationally in sacks allowed per game (.92), 5th in scoring (38.3 pts per game) and rush yards (239.5 per game), and 7th in total offense (456.7 ydsper game).  There appears to be adequate depth as TCU rotates their lineman quite frequently, however the one question mark on this team is the right tackle position.  Look for this line to continue to keep Dalton's back clean while opening up holes that Mark Mangino could run through.

 

 

THE DEFENSE

*Returning starters in bold

LE- Wayne Daniels (6-2, 250 Sr)
DT- Cory Grant (6-2, 305 Sr)
NT- Kelly Griffin (6-1, 310 Sr)
RE-
Ross Forrest (6-4, 246 So)
MLB- Tank Carder (6-3, 232 Jr)
SLB-
Tanner Brock (6-3, 233 So)
CB- Jason Teague (6-2, 197 Sr)
CB- Greg McCoy (5-10, 181 Jr)
FS- Tejay Johnson (6-1, 212 Sr)
SS-
Jurell Thompson (5-11, 200 So) OR Tyler Luttrell (6-1, 210 Jr)
WS- Alex Ibolye (6-0, 189 Sr)

The Skinny: As per usual under the Gary Patterson regime the TCUdefense was impressive in 2009, ranking #1 nationally in total defense with only 239.69 yards allowed per game.  Gone are defensive standouts defensive end Jerry Hughes, linebacker Daryl Washington, and cornerbacks Rafael Priest, and Nick Sanders.  The losses of Priest and Sanders could turn out to be "addition by subtraction," as their replacements Greg McCoy and Jason Teague are thought to be more athletically gifted than their predecessors, however you cannot replicate the experience Priest and Sanders possessed as 4-year starters.  The players that will be the most difficult to replace are going to be Daryl Washington and Jerry Hughes due to the incredible speed that they each possessed.  Furthermore Jerry Hughes accounted for one-third (11.5) of the teams sack totals (32) in 2009, so if someone doesn't drastically step-up at the defensive end position by bringing a consistent pass rush the defense will take a step back in 2010.  The losses of Hughes andWashington not-withstanding this defense looks to be impressive in 2010, maybe not #1 in the nation impressive, but with7 returning starters anything less than a top 20 defense will be considered a disaster in Fort Worth.

Bottom Line:  The defense isn't going to be quite as fast as in 2009, but it will definetly be bigger and stronger.

Biggest Question Mark:  Who replaces Jerry Hughes?  Ross Forrest, Braylon Broughton, and Stansly Mapongawill all be rotating until someone takes the next step.  My money is on Braylon Broughton who at 6'6" 272 he simply has more to offer from a physical standpoint than the others.

Breakout Candidate: Lost in all of the "Who replaces Jerry Hughes?" hysteria is that defensive end Wayne Daniels is returning and looks prepared for a statement-making campaign now that he is out from under the shadow of Hughes' shadow.

Strength of the Defense:  With all of the returning starters at defensive tackle andsafety run defense will be the unquestioned strength of this unit in 2010.

Weakness of the Defense:  I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record but you just can't emulate the speed that Jerry Hughes brought off of the edge, so a steady pass rush is going to be a big weakness and as a result look for Defensive Coordinator Dick Bumpas to dial up more safety blitzes in 2010. 

First to be Drafted:  Cornerback Jason Teague.  At 6'2'' 197 Teague already has an NFL-ready body.  Now all the former LSU commit has to do is prove he's got the skills, which he does.

Biggest Playmaker: Cornerback Greg McCoy has next-level speed and a ball-hawkers mentality, look for McCoy to be the interception presence that TCU lacked in 2009 and with his blazing speed he should be able to take a few to the house as well

Depth Chart (* denotes returning starter)

Defensive Ends

Right End

1.) Wayne Daniels (6-2, 250 Sr)*

Daniels turned in an impressive season in 2009, in his first-year as a starter he ranked 2nd on the team in sacks (5.5) andearned second-team All-MWC honors.  Unfortunately for Daniels his contributions went largely unnoticed because there was a large shadow cast on him from the other end of the defensive line in the form of TCU's All-American defensive end, Jerry Hughes.  With Hughes now in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, the Frogs will be looking to Daniels to be the star of the defense and wreak havoc in opposing teams backfields.  He appears to be more than capable to provide the Frogs with the pass-rushing presence that they need, but now the spotlight, and the pressure that comes with it will be turned on him.  Daniels was a member of the Rivals Texas 100 in 2006 and also had offers to Texas Tech, Kansas, and Kansas State.

2.) Clarence Leatch (6-4, 257 Sr)

Leatch is a 3-year letterman who appeared in 12 games in 2009 and recorded 2 sacks.  Leatch had offers to Houston, Michigan State, and Louisiana-Lafayette.

3.) Matt Anderson (6-2, 214 Fr)

Anderson was a running back and defensive back in high school, and it was widely assumed that he was going to be a safety in TCU's4-2-5.  But Gary Patterson obviously had other plans as Anderson has been practicing with the defensive ends, and by all accounts has been very impressive, look for Anderson to be the next in the long line of high school running backs turned star TCU defensive ends.

Left End

1.) Ross Forrest (6-4, 246 So)

Forrest came to TCU from Permian High School (of Friday Night Lights fame) as a walk-on in 2008 and quickly earned a scholarship.  Forrest suffered a season-ending injury in the opening game of 2009 against Virgina and received a medical hardship from the NCAA.  Forrest entered last spring as 3rd string on the depth chart and left the spring as the starter.  Forrest is regarded as a heady and technically sound player who doesn't make many mistakes.

2a.) Braylon Broughton (6-6, 272 Jr)

Penciled in as the starter going in the spring, Broughton was usurped by Ross Forrest and if he wants the job he is going to have to fight for it.  Broughton has the freakish size and athleticism to be one of the best defensive ends to ever play in Amon Carter Stadium and become a sure-fire NFL first-rounder.  However it will take more than size and speed to get on the field and TCUfans are all waiting withbaited breath to see if Broughton has what it takes.  Broughton played for Hillcrest High School in Dallas, TX, and had offers to Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Kansas.

2b.) Stansly Maponga (6-2, 260 RS Fr)

Maponga is generating alot of buzz from his camp performances and looks to be a big part of the defensive end rotation in 2009.  He also had offers to Boise State, Fresno State, Iowa State, New Mexico and Louisiana Tech.

SUMMARY

The big question looming over the Horned Frog defense this season is, "How do you replace Jerry Hughes?"  But what many forget is two years earlier the big question in 2008 was, "How do you replace Tommy Blake,"  and then Hughes announced his arrival when the season began.  The question is still valid as Gary Patterson's defense relies on a strong rush from the ends, but the real answer is, "In Gary we trust."  Look for Wayne Daniels to make an immediate impact at left end, while the other spot looks to be a rotation of Forrest, Broughton, Maponga, and Leatch, until someone emerges as a true pass-rushing dynamo. 

 

 

Defensive Tackles

DT

1.) Cory Grant (6-2, 305 Sr)*

Second-team All-MWCin 2009, Grant was a force to be reckoned with on the inside, recording 5.5 tackles for loss including 2 sacks against BYU.  Grant is being counted on in 2010 not only for his disruptive abilities but also in a team-leadership capacity, picking up the torch from guys like Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington, and Rafael Priest.

2.) D.J. Yendrey (6-4, 262 So)

To say that Yendrey came out of the gates hot is a bit of an understatement.  Not many true freshman get on the field in their first game let alone record a sack, but that's exactly what Yendrey did at Virgina by posting a sack for a 10 yard loss.  He went on to play in 12 games in 2009 becoming a mainstay in the defensive line rotation.  Expect more of the same in 2010, and then look for a much expanded role in 2011.

3.) David Johnson (6-2, 270 Fr)

David Johnson of Argyle, TX is sure to be a fan-favorite in the years to come, he was the first verbal commitment in the class of 2010 and had offers to Texas Tech, UCLA, Stanford, and Rice.  He lives in the weight room and is easily the most physically fit defensive tackle on the roster (his father is a former TCU strengthcoach).  Johnson possesses a unique blendof strength and quickness that makes him an absolute tasmanian-devil on the field.  It would be convenient if Johnson could redshirt this year, but I imagine he will play his way into the rotation in 2010.

 4.) Bryant House (6-4, 267 RS Fr)

One of a group of 3 players from Maud High School to sign with TCUin 2009 (along with LT James Dunbar & NT Ray Burns), shockingly these three have been dubbed, "The Maud Squad" by fans.

NT

1.) Kelly Griffin (6-1, 310 Sr)*

Kelly Griffin was the first player to start as a freshman in the Gary Patterson era at TCU, he was also named honorable-mention Freshman All-American by The Sporting News. in 2009 Griffin tied with Cory Grant for fifth on the team in tackles for loss with 5.5. 

2.) Jeremy Coleman (6-2, 290 So)

A member of the Rivals Texas Top 100 in 2008, Coleman was a well thought of prospect and garnered offers from Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Baylor, and Houston.  Coleman has added an impressive 45 lbs to his frame since high school and appears ready to receive significant playing time in 2010, which will be important because after this season he will be counted on to anchor the line.

3.) Ray Burns (6-1, 290 RS Fr)


Named to the Texas Sports Writers Association All-State team as an offensive lineman, also a member of the aforementioned "Maud Squad."


SUMMARY

With returning starters Cory Grant andKelly Griffin back for 2010 the inside of the defensive line looks to be the biggest strengthof the defense.  The depth behindthem is not too shabby either with the likes of Coleman, Johnson, and Yendrey figuring to factor into the rotation a great deal.  Hopefully the strong presence on the defensive interior will help open some lanes to the quarterback for the "green-horn" left defensive ends.

Linebackers

MLB

1.) Tank Carder (6-2, 232 Jr)*

Easily the most fascinating player on the Horned Frog roster, linebacker Tank Carder's life-storywould make one heck of a movie, only the ending hasn't been written yet.  Raised in Sweeny, Texas, Ricky Carder Jr. was such an enormous baby that he was dubbed "Tank" by his parents, Ricky and Marti.  At the age of 2 Tank Carder began riding BMX, and to call him a phenom would be an understatement, a BMX world champion at the age of 9 Carder had the potential to be one of the best ever, but the BMX life proved to be too much for a kid from a small-town in Texas and he quit shortly after. 

In the seventh grade Carder suffered a horrific injury during a car accident in which a rod broke in the vehicle he was riding in, causing it to flip three times.  He was flung from the car and into a tree, breaking his back in two places, and puncturing his lungs and diaphragm, the doctors did not know if he would ever be able to walk again.  But due to great perseverance Carder did walk again, and when he entered high school he had a desire to play football.  However the doctors wouldn't clear him to play so he found a loop hole, he could be a kicker on the team if his parents signed a waiver and agreed that Carder would be required to run towards the sideline after every kick to ensure he avoided contact.  He became the teams starting kicker and punter as a freshman but it was clear he yearned for more when in his sophomore year he picked up a fumbled extra-point snap and ran it in for a touchdown, much to the dismay of his coaches. 

His junior year he was finally cleared for contact and he quickly became a star that was able to play anywhere on the field including linebacker, quarterback, running back, and tight end.  Carder was given only 2-stars by Rivals and had a few colleges show mild interest in him, but no offers came until two weeks before signing day when TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson decided to take a chance on him.  "It was just one of those things where I watched his highlight film and really liked him," Patterson said. 

It would appear that Patterson unearthed a true "diamondin the rough" with Tank Carder, as a sophomore he was starting at linebacker andwas named second-team All-MWCafter ranking secondon the team in tackles (89 with 10 for loss of yards).  Much is expected of Carder in his junior year, the MWC's 2010 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year has been named to various All-American teams and was dubbed "The Best Linebacker in Texas" by Dave Campbell's Texas Football.  In addition to his great play on the field, Carder is a team-leader that gives the TCUdefense an identifiable personality, what with his gaudy arm-bands, x-games mentality, and surfing bulldog (yes, a surfing bulldog, just click the link).  Carder injured his shoulder in the spring but by all accounts will be 100 percent for the season-opener against the Oregon State BeaversAs the sole returning starter at linebacker in 2010, Tank Carder is going to be a key-cog in what hopes to be a dominant defense this season.

2.) Kenny Cain (6-1, 210 So)

A high school running back from River Ridge, Louisiana, Kenny Cain has been tabbed by many people "in-the-know" to be TCU's next breakout-star at linebacker, so look for him to play a significant role in 2010 even if he doesn't start.  Cain also had offers to Arkansas, Tulane, and Northern Illinois.

3.) Greg Burks (6-1, 222 So)

Burks played primarily on special teams in 2009 andrecorded both of TCU's blocked punts.  From Houston, TX, Burks also had an offer from Nebraska in 2008.

4.) Marcus Mallet (6-1, 216 Fr)

Ranked in the Rivals Texas Top 100 in 2010, Mallet is regarded as a guy who really "brings the lumber."  Mallet also had offers to Arkansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Baylor, and Houston.

SLB

1.) Tanner Brock (6-3, 233 So)

As a true freshman Brock played primarily on special teams in 2009 where he immediately made a name for himself with his selfless balls-out style of play.  He is best known for making a bone-rattling helmet-less block that helped spring Jeremy Kerleyloose for a 71-yard touchdown against SMU, knocking himself out in the process.  Tanners older brother, Logan Brock, is a junior tight end for the Frogs.  Tanner Brock was heavily recruited out of high school in 2009, and had offers to Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Purdue, Missouri, Arizona State, Air Force, Kansas, and Kansas State.  Brock has big shoes to fill this season, stepping in for 2009 leading tackler Daryl Washington, and although there is a steep learning curve to playing linebacker in this defense, expect Brock to pick it up early on.

2.) Kris Gardner (6-1, 235 Jr)

Gardner is a special teams standout who added depth at linebacker and recorded 19 tackles in 2009.  Gardner is the nephew of TCU linebackers coach Tony Tademy.

3.) Blake Roberts (6-4, 225 Fr)

Roberts was another outstanding get in the 2010 class and had offers to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech,  Purdue, Kansas, and North Carolina.  Many have speculated that Roberts could be moved to defensive end, but as of now he is still working with the linebackers, and the move appears to hinge on if he gets any bigger.

SUMMARY

One of the biggest keys to running the 4-2-5 is having athletically diverse talent at linebacker (read: speed) to be able to drop into pass coverage against the spread but still have the majority of run-responsibility split between the two linebackers.  TCU will definitely miss the departed Daryl Washington, but Brock appears more than capable of filling his shoes in 2010 and Carder looks ready to take his game to the next level.

Cornerbacks

CB

1.) Jason Teague (6-2, 197 Sr)*

Jason Teague was a high-profile recruit coming out of Carthage, Texas in 2006, possessing offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, LSU, TCU, Baylor, Houston, and UTEP.  Teaguesigned with the LSU Tigers but never made it to Baton Rouge as his journey required a 2 year detour at Tyler Junior College.  After his stint at Tyler J.C. Teague decided to "take his talents to cowtown" andsigned with the Frogs in 2008.  Teague started two games for the Frogs in 2009 (AFA & SMU) and saw significant snaps in all 13 games, including the Fiesta Bowl.  At 6'2" Teague is the physical corner that Coach Gary Patterson dreams of in order to effectively run his 4-2-5 defense so it will be fun to see how Teague performs in 2010.

2.) Malcolm Williams (5-11, 205 Sr)

Much like Jason Teague, Malcolm Williams was a big-time player in high school that went the JUCO route and ended up a Frog.   As a senior at South Grand Prairie High School he was named the 5A Defensive Player of the Year andoriginally signed with Bob Stoops and the Sooners.  But instead of heading to Norman, Williams packed his bags for Athens, Texas, home of Trinity Valley Community College.  After putting in his time at Trinity Valley Williams headed west in 2009 andsigned up with the TCU Horned Frogs.  In 2009 Williams played safety for the Frogs and was a big contributor on special teams.  He has been moved to corner for 2010 presumably because it takes quite a bit of time to learn the intricacies of the safety position in the 4-2-5 and at corner Williams will be able to let his natural abilities shine.  While he is currently penciled in as the backup corner to Jason Teague look for Malcom Williams to see alot of snaps and be a key player in the secondary this season.

3.) Elisha Olabode (5-10, 170 Fr)

Olabode is a 2010 signee that has yet to arrive on campus but is expected on campus in the near future.  Olabode also had offers to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, and SMU.

CB

1.) Greg McCoy (5-10, 181 Jr)

in 2009 McCoy contributed on special teams and started two games at corner, including the Fiesta Bowl in relief of the now departed Rafael Priest.  Greg McCoy is one of the fastest players on the team and put his speed on full display in Laramie last year taking a kickoff 81 yards to the house.  McCoy came to TCU from neighboring Dallas, TX (Woodrow Wilson HS) in 2007 and also had offers to Iowa, Arizona, Baylor, and SMU.

2.) Travaras Battle (6-0, 180 Fr)

Battle is going to be counted on to contribute in a big way in 2010 as a true freshman cornerback.  Coach Patterson is giving him all the reps he can handle in camp to make sure the young corner will be ready, and by all accounts he has looked like a big-time player in the making.  Battle is from San Antonio and also had offers to Florida, Texas A&M, and Baylor.

3.) Kevin White (5-10, 170 Fr)

Another true freshman corner that needs to grow up fast and be ready to hit the field in 2010 is Kevin White from Round Rock, Texas.  White also had offers to Utah, Air Force, Wyoming, and Rice.

SUMMARY

One would assume that Frog fans would be panicking over the corner situation in 2010 after losing a pair of rock-solid, four-year starters to graduation in Rafael Priest and Nick Sanders, but as Lee Corsosays, "Not so fast my friend!"  Replacing Sanders and Priest will be no easy task but incumbent starters starters Teague andMcCoy bothplayed admirably in 2009 including see the lions-share of the snaps in the Fiesta Bowl in which Bronco quarterback Kellen Moorewas held to 211 yards passing.  The big concern at corner this year lies at depth, Malcolm Williams should be more than capable at stepping in, but if the Frogs need to dig any deeper they will be turning to true-freshman and walk-ons, which is a concern. 

 

 

Safeties

Free Safety

1.) Tejay Johnson (6-1, 212 Sr)*

Entering his third year as a starter Tejay Johnson knows the intricacies of the 4-2-5 better than anyone on the roster andhe will be counted on to act as the field-general of the defense.  Johnson was named second-team All-MWC in 2009 andhad 3 interceptions and 59 tackles.  Coming out of South Garland High School in 2007 Johnson had offers to Wisconsin, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Arkansas, Arizona State, and Georgia Tech.

2.)  Johnny Fobbs (6-1, 203 Jr)

Joined the Frogs in 2007 along with his Everman High School teammate Jonathan Jones (WR).  Fobbsadded depth to the safety position in 2009 appearing in all 13 games and has been making quite a name for himself in camp this year.  Fobbs also had offers to Nebraska and SMU coming out of high school.

3.) Trenton Thomas (6-0, 190 RS Fr)

Thomas was voted as an all-state selection at linebacker in 2008 by the Texas Sports Writers Association and Associated Press Sports Editors.  He redshirted his first season on campus but was voted TCU's Defensive Scout Team MVP in 2009.  Thomas also had offers to Mississippi State, Utah, Baylor, UNLV, Houston, and Rice.

Weak Safety

1.) Alex Ibolye (6-0, 189 Sr)*

Originally a cornerback at TCU, Ibolye was moved to weak safety in 2009 in which he started 11 games andranked third on the team in tackles with 70.  Ibolyewas high school teammates with Tejay Johnson and had offers to Colorado, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas, and Minnesota coming out of high school in 2006.

2.) Tekerrein Cuba (6-4, 210 Jr)

Cuba started two games in 2009 (AF & CSU) and contributed heavily on specials teams and in the secondary rotation.  Cuba has such a big frame the sky is the limit for him once he learns all the 4-2-5 inside and out.   Cuba had offers to Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texasx Tech, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Houston.

3.) Jonathan Anderson (6-1, 196 Fr)

A member of the Rivals Texas Top 100 in 2010 Anderson had offers to Utah, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Southern Miss, UNLV, and New Mexico.  Anderson is making some noise in camp this year but look for the coaches to keep the redshirt on him if they can.

Strong Safety

1a.) Tyler Luttell (6-1, 210 Sr)*

Going into the 2009 season Tyler Luttrellwas a high school quarterback turned wide receiver that rarely saw the field except for special teams.  A few weeks before the 2009 season opener at Virginia due to an injury to Colin Jones TCU was short at safety andCoach Patterson did what he does best, findnatural positions for under-utilized athletes.  Patterson convinced wide receiver Tyler Luttrell to make the move to safety and just a few weeks later in Virginia Luttrell was TCU's starting safety.   Luttrellperformed admirably at safety in 2009 under less than ideal conditions andcontinued to make his presence felt on special teams recording a forced fumble on a kickoff against Utah with an earth-shaking hit that could be felt in the next county.

1b.) Jurrell Thompson (5-11, 200 So)

Highly touted by Rivals in 2009 as a four-star safety (19th ranked safety, 5th fastest safety) Jurrell Thompson had offers to Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Ole Miss, SMU, Utah, and Tulsa.  Thompson mainly contributed on special teams for the Frogs in 2009 but is expected to crack the starting rotation in 2010 sooner rather than later.

2.) Colin Jones (6-0, 210 Sr)

Jones started 5 games at safety in 2009 and missed the rest of the season due to injury.  Coming out of Bridgeport, Texas in 2006 Jones had offers to Purdue and Baylor.

SUMMARY

With three returning starters andplenty of depth the safety position looks to be the srongest aspect of the 2010 Horned Frog defense, which is convenient because it also the most difficult position to learn.  Look for these big-hitting speedsters to make their presence felt right away and help keep TCU's defense at the top of the rankings.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kick Returner

KR- Jeremy Kerley (5-10, 192 Sr)*
KR- Greg McCoy (5-10, 181 Jr)

Punt Returner

PR- Jeremy Kerley (5-10, 192 Sr)*

By now everyone should know the story when it comes to MWC Special Teams Player of the Year, Jeremy Kerley-- don't kick it to him.  Kerley is as dangerous as they come as a return man and had some jaw-dropping returns in 2009, most notably this one against CSU.  But if you decide to kick it to Greg McCoy instead of Kerley all I can say is, be careful what you wish for.  McCoy isn't as shifty as Kerley but he was named the "Fastest Frog" in 2008 so his straight-line speed is top of the line as displayed in his 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Wyoming last season. 

Kicker

Ross Evans (5-9, 185 Jr)*

Evans was named first-team All-MWC as a kicker in 2009.  He was 15 of 18 on field goals and hit a TCUrecord 61 extra point attempts in 2009.  Despite all of his successes his legacy up to this point is missing two crucial chip-shot field goals (26 & 35 yards) in the 4th quarter of the 2008 Utah game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in which TCU lost a stunner 13-10.  Until Evans makes a high-pressure kick when it counts TCU fans are always going to be skeptical when he steps on the field.

Punter

Anson Kelton (6-4, 280 Jr)*

At his size Kelton most definitely subscribes to the theory of, "The bigger the hammer the harder you hit the nail."  He had an outstanding game in the Fiesta Bowl and booted a career-long 72 yard punt at Air Force in 2009.  Kelton should be a major asset in the game of field position and if it comes to it could probably play some D-line in a pinch.

 

 

SCHEDULE

09/04/10

vs. Oregon State TV ESPN HD

Arlington, Texas 6:45 p.m. CT
09/11/10 vs. Tennessee Tech Fort Worth, Texas 6:00 p.m. CT
09/18/10 vs. Baylor TV VERSUS HD Fort Worth, Texas 3:30 p.m. CT
09/24/10 at SMU TV ESPN HD Dallas, Texas 7:00 p.m. CT
10/02/10 at Colorado State TV The Mtn. HD Fort Collins, Colo. 1:00 p.m. CT
10/09/10 vs. Wyoming TV CBS-C HD Fort Worth, Texas 2:30 p.m. CT
10/16/10 vs. BYU TV VERSUS HD Fort Worth, Texas 3:00 p.m. CT
10/23/10 vs. Air Force TV CBS-C HD Fort Worth, Texas 7:00 p.m. CT
10/30/10 at UNLV TV CBS-C HD Las Vegas, Nev. 10:00 p.m. CT
11/06/10 at Utah TV CBS-C HD Salt Lake City, Utah 2:30 p.m. CT
11/13/10 vs. San Diego State TV VERSUS HD Fort Worth, Texas 3:00 p.m. CT
11/27/10 at New Mexico TV VERSUS HD Albuquerque, N.M. 3:00 p.m. CT

 

 

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