Weak and Strong: TCU Horned Frogs
Next up: TCU.
Strongest position: Secondary
Allow me to apologize to the Frogs' running backs, who were narrowly edged out by this solid unit that helped TCU navigate a rocky first season in the Big 12 but emerge with the league's No. 1 defense and seven wins. TCU's secondary was the best in the Big 12 last season and returns all five starters in the 4-2-5 scheme under Gary Patterson. Chad Glasgow returned to coach safeties and had three great ones in Sam Carter, Elisha Olabode and Chris Hackett. TCU gave up just 32 passes longer than 20 yards last season, tied with Kansas State and Texas Tech for the fewest in the Big 12. Those three are a big reason why, and though all three are solid players, it was clear that TCU's best overall player in the secondary was a corner.
Jason Verrett was the Big 12's best shutdown corner a season ago, breaking up 16 passes and intercepting six more, both the most in the Big 12. Kevin White, Deante Gray and Keivon Gamble offer solid depth at the position, too. TCU defended (PBUs or interceptions) 86 passes last season, which was 15 more than any team in the Big 12. The secondary is the biggest strength of what should be the Big 12's best defense yet again in 2013, and if the Frogs win a Big 12 title in just their second year in the league, the secondary will be a huge reason why.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Let me preface this by saying TCU doesn't have a glaring weakness next season if Casey Pachall returns and is anything close to his form from 2011 and early 2012. Still, I'm going with a rebuilt offensive line ahead of an average set of defensive tackles for the Frogs. Guard Blaize Foltz and center James Fry exhausted their eligibility (and opposing defensive lines), but the Frogs will have to find replacements for a line that was just OK last year, and had to deal with losing the team's top three running backs for some period of time after the season. Trevone Boykin's youth and sometimes frustrating indecision was a factor, but the Frogs gave up 29 sacks last season, four more than any team in the Big 12. It also averaged just 3.86 yards per carry, the lowest number in the Big 12. Like I mentioned before, injuries had something to do with it, but the offensive line has a lot to prove in 2013.
More Weak and Strong.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.