Dallas Colleges: Greg McCoy
2011 overall record: 11-2
2011 conference record: 7-0
Returning starters: offense: 6; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 0
QB Casey Pachall, RB Waymon James, DL Stansly Maponga, RB Ed Wesley, RB Matthew Tucker, WR Josh Boyce, LB Kenny Cain, DB Jason Verrett
LB Tank Carder, LB Tanner Brock, S Tekerrein Cuba, S Johnny Fobbs, WR Antoine Hicks, S Devin Johnson
2011 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Waymon James* (875 yards)
Passing: Casey Pachall* (2,921 yards)
Receiving: Josh Boyce* (998 yards)
Tackles: Kenny Cain*(72)
Sacks: Stansly Maponga* (9)
Interceptions: Tank Carder, Kris Gardner, Greg McCoy (2, none return)
1. Filling a hole at linebacker: TCU was ready to lose Tank Carder, but the loss of Tanner Brock was unexpected. Thus, TCU entered spring with big questions at linebacker. Danny Heiss and Joel Hasley have stepped in to help fortify a position with a lot to prove in 2012. TCU has a feel for who its guys will be, but are those guys good enough?
2. Beware of the TCU receivers: TCU already felt good about Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson after 2011, but sophomore Brandon Carter is bigger and better this spring. LaDarius Brown may join the fold as a big factor, though. It's not impossible for him to become one of the team's best targets. Casey Pachall has to love adding a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder to his targets, and freshman Kolby Listenbee proved he can contribute right away after enrolling early this spring. He'll play.
3. A change in identity: There's no doubt TCU has big questions on defense, especially at linebacker and in the secondary. But offensively? The Horned Frogs have to shore up the offensive line, but its skill-position players are as deep and as talented as any in the Big 12. It's not often that offense has to carry the load for a Gary Patterson team, but it looks like that'll be the case this year.
1. How will TCU handle the jump? Complain about the question all you want, Frogs. It's not that anyone's beating it into the ground, it's that TCU hasn't had a chance to answer it. Fact: The Big 12 will be much more difficult than the Mountain West Conference. TCU brings back a good amount of talent that's built to have success in the Big 12 immediately. Can they do it, though? I'm betting yes, that TCU will flirt with double-digit wins.
2. Will the secondary, especially the safeties, improve? TCU's rise under Gary Patterson has been marked by suffocating defense, but TCU slid to a finish outside the national top 30 in total defense last season after leading the nation in total defense in 2009 and 2010. The loss to Baylor personified those struggles more than any game all season. Patterson wasn't happy with his secondary this spring, either. The bad news: There are lots of Baylors in the Big 12. The good news: Safeties coach Chad Glasgow is back after serving as defensive coordinator at Texas Tech for one season.
3. Can TCU handle gut-punching defensive losses? The Horned Frogs suffered the biggest off-field scandal in the Big 12 this offseason when four players were arrested in a campus drug sting. That's a problem of its own off the field, but on the field, TCU still has to replace 2011 big contributors in Tanner Brock, Devin Johnson and D.J. Yendrey. How much will those losses hurt in the fall?
Following in the footsteps of OG Josh LeRibeus, who was picked in the third round (71st overall) by the Washington Redskins on Friday, was defensive end/tight end Taylor Thompson (145th overall), Richard Crawford (213th overall) and Kelvin Beachum (248th overall).
Thompson, a fifth-round pick by the Tennessee Titans, had 22.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in his career at SMU and was a three-time All-Conference USA selection.
Crawford will join LeRibeus in Washington. Taken in the seventh round by the Redskins, Crawford picked off six passes and recorded 101 tackles in two seasons and was a first team All-Conference USA selection in 2011 as punt return specialist.
Beachum moves on to Pittsburg after starting four years at left tackle for SMU, where he earned first team all-conference honors his junior and senior seasons. Beachum will be reunited with former Mustangs teammate Emmanuel Sanders with the Steelers.
Horned Frogs duo drafted
TCU linebacker Tank Carder and defensive back/kick returner Greg McCoy received draft calls Saturday.
Carder, famous for his “immaculate deflection” in TCU’s Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, was selected 147th overall in the fifth round by the Buffalo Bills and becomes the fifth TCU linebacker in as many season to join an NFL team.
Carder was a two-time All-American and a Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in his junior and senior seasons, amassing 70 tackles for the Horned Frogs his senior year.
McCoy will head to Chicago. Taken in the seventh round (280th overall) by the Bears, McCoy was an All-American return specialist his senior season, as well as the Mountain West special teams player of the year.
McCoy, who played at Dallas Woodrow Wilson, saved TCU’s Poinsettia Bowl victory by returning an interception 24 yards to set up the game-tying touchdown.
He returned two kicks for touchdowns in 2011 and his 30.6-yard return average his senior year ranked sixth nationally.
Cader and McCoy are Gary Patterson’s 30th and 31st players drafted in his tenure at TCU.
You'll need ESPN Insider to see the other four teams, but here's what McGee had to say about the Horned Frogs' defense, which has its work cut out for it this spring:
Gone: Tank Carder, Tanner Brock, Devin Johnson, Johnny Fobbs, Tekerrein Cuba,Greg McCoy
Talk about bad timing.
For seemingly forever, the Horned Frogs ranked among the nation's top passing defenses. But last year, TCU's final season in the Mountain West, they finished outside the top 12 for the first time in four years. Still, they were tough. But graduation cost them four members of that back seven and February's bizarre drug scandal tossed returning leaders Tanner Brock and Devin Johnson off the team.
And all of this just happens to coincide with TCU's arrival into the PS3 pass-happy offensive world of the Big 12. Trent Thomas and Travaras Battle are returning DB's, joined by linebacker Kenny Cain, who had 72 tackles last fall. There is also arriving spring help from early enrollee JUCO cornerback Keivon Gamble.
TCU's spring practices are all closed this year, so we'll be left to the word of coaches and players to get a real feel for how the defense is progressing with lots of new names on the field.
One thing is for certain, though: With the offenses in the Big 12, this group will face big tests almost every week in 2012.
Time for what's probably our final checkup on TCU before the Horned Frogs join the Big 12.
Record: 11-2 (7-0 Mountain West)
National rank: No. 18 in the BCS standings. No. 16 in the AP poll. No. 15 in the USA Today poll.
Last result: Beat Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
What to know: Anybody who watched could tell TCU was a bit uninspired, perhaps disappointed it narrowly missed out on a third consecutive trip to the BCS.
Either way, the Horned Frogs erased a 24-17 fourth-quarter deficit to win 31-24.
Skye Dawson hauled in a 42-yard touchdown pass from Casey Pachall on a rollout to take the lead for good with 4:26 left to play.
The secondary struggled, and TCU couldn't get off the field for much of the first half, but managed to tie the game at 10 after after a Greg McCoy interception.
We saw plenty of those secondary struggled against Baylor early in the season, but the Horned Frogs rebounded in the second half.
"It didn't turn out the way we expected or how we wanted it to but we came out with a win," Dawson said.
He finished with 85 yards on four catches to earn MVP honors.
Pachall finished 15-of-29 for 206 yards and broke Andy Dalton's single-season school records for completions (228) and passing yards (2,921).
For frame of reference, five Big 12 quarterbacks had more completions, and Missouri's James Franklin needs just five completions to make it six. Five Big 12 quarterbacks had more yards, and Franklin needs 182 yards passing to make it six.
A couple local takes on the game:
- TCU wakes up, smells Poinsettia after stinky start
- Fourth-quarter comeback proves a tune-up for Big 12
Ironically, TCU is a combined 10-0 against the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC.
Against the Big 12, it is just 6-6. The Horned Frogs have won 11 games in seven of the past nine seasons, and in the Big 12, that pace figures to slow as they adjust to more grueling week-to-week schedules. Still, most of the offense returns next year, including several contributors. TCU's quarterback (Pachall), leading rusher (Waymon James), top receiver (Josh Boyce) and sacks leader (Stansly Maponga) will all come back next year as juniors.
There's no reason TCU can't contend for a Big 12 title in 2012.
"I think in the two times we played him, I think one play I think I fooled him. One out of 120 plays or whatever," said Patterson, who calls the defensive plays. "He just doesn't get fooled. He knows where the ball's supposed to be going, how it needs to do it. He's just like having a coach on the field, just extremely intelligent, extremely talented, extremely accurate."
Once again Moore leads the fifth-ranked Broncos' explosive offense that ranks seventh in the nation in scoring (43.9), 13th in total offense (479.0), 16th in passing (295.6) and 39th in rushing (183.4).
But, Moore hasn't had tremendous outings against the Frogs. In the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl, TCU won, 17-16, and limited the then-redshirt freshman to 222 yards with an interception and the Broncos to 250 total yards. In the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, a 17-10 Boise win, the sophomore was 23-of-39 for 211 yards with the offense going for 317. The Broncos benefited from a fourth-quarter fake punt on its winning scoring drive.
Heading into Saturday's 1:30 p.m. game (televised on Versus) that will likely decide the Mountain West Conference championship, Moore isn't facing a dominating TCU defense. The 2008 and 2009 Frogs defenses finished the seasons ranked No. 1 in the nation. This unit ranks 38th in total defense and 61st against the pass, allowing 225.2 yards a game.
The Frogs secondary was burned consistently in their only two losses, both to down-field passing teams in Baylor and SMU.
Moore, now a senior, might be the most polished quarterback with the most explosive weapons around him that the Frogs have played this season.
"Smart guy," TCU senior cornerback Greg McCoy said of Moore. "For one, he's a great competitor. He's just a smart football player to me. I see a guy that studies the game, loves what he does and has a lot of confidence."
There were glaring problems in the season opener against Baylor, in which the Bears had five touchdown passes of 25 yards or more. A lot of those came against one-on-one coverage, as the Horned Frogs seemed helpless to stop balls that were simply being thrown over their heads.
|SMU head coach June Jones talks about the upcoming game against TCU, conference realignment, and much more with Ian Fitzsimmons.
They have not really lost a beat with J.J. McDermott at quarterback, either. McDermott relieved an ineffective Kyle Padron in the season opener against Texas A&M and has thrown for 1,133 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Coach Gary Patterson knows what to expect out of this offense. So does his defense. He says his players are doing better against the pass.
"We gave up one long pass against Monroe; last week didn't give one up," he said. "We just have to keep getting better."
Indeed, of the nine passing touchdowns TCU has given up this season, eight have been of 20-plus yards. Consider TCU allowed just five passing touchdowns of 20-plus yards in all of 2011. There are new faces starting in the secondary, so they have needed time to get adjusted.
How does does a win over FCS Portland State do that? That remains to be seen. SMU gave TCU a challenge in the first half last season, taking a 14-10 lead into halftime. Zach Line had a monster game with 139 yards and one touchdown and an average of 8.2 yards a run.
Line is back, and already has 11 touchdown runs this season -- second in the nation behind Bernard Pierce of Temple. Though the Mustangs love to throw, Line has been a huge presence in the run game the last two seasons. He ranks No. 14 in the nation in rushing.
But what could hurt SMU is the potential loss of top receiver Cole Beasley, who has an injured right knee. Jones hasn't said whether Beasley will play. If he can't go, that would be a big blow for an SMU offense that is doing a better job of getting big plays in the pass game.
Beasley leads the team with 31 receptions for 376 yards. He and Darius Johnson have been the top two targets, combining for 58 of the team's 95 receptions.
On throwing the ball deep, Jones said, "I think we’re better than we were last year at this point. We’re making more throws up top and down the field. We still missed a few in the first three games, but last week we made a couple good throws so we’ll just hope that we keep getting better each week."
Given what Baylor did to TCU, you can bet SMU will try to follow the same game plan.
"We're not just representing TCU," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "We're representing all the non-AQ schools."
The Horned Frogs are taking that responsibility very seriously this week, saying they have to play well for all the schools who might never get a chance to make it to this stage. As far as crusades go, though, this won't be a long one. TCU will soon be leaving that torch for someone else to pick up.
It is the first team from outside the six automatic-qualifying conferences to reach two consecutive BCS games, and it came the hard way as TCU has gone 12-0 the last two regular seasons. In 2012, the team will have much more margin for error as it joins the Big East and can still make the BCS just by winning the league.
"I'm actually a little envious of the younger players," said cornerback Greg McCoy, whose eligibility expires after the 2011 campaign. "We all worked hard for the future, and I know there's a lot of envy among the upperclassmen. But when you work hard, things get better. And we all know we contributed to this."
TCU's senior class played a major role in making the program attractive to the Big East, winning 35 games the previous three years. Many of those seniors are stars on this team, like four-year starter Andy Dalton, center Jake Kirkpatrick, receiver/returner Jeremy Kerley, safety Tejay Johnson and defensive end Wayne Daniels.
But the program has shown that it can reload. Last year's team lost All-America defensive end Jerry Hughes and linebacker Daryl Washington to the NFL. Daniels elevated his game, and redshirt freshman Stansly Maponga stepped in to replace Hughes' production at end. Sophomore Tanner Brock took over for Washington at middle linebacker and kept that position strong.
"We have a great coaching staff and the athletes to continue to be successful," senior right guard Josh Vernon said. "We don't rely on just one guy on offense or defense."
Can TCU keep this going? It's unrealistic to think the program will keep piling up undefeated regular seasons. But who's to say they can't become the top frogs in the Big East and turn into the next Virginia Tech, Miami or Florida State -- programs that went from humble beginnings to consistent national powers.
They're not far from that level now.
"I don't feel like we're the small guy," head coach Gary Patterson said. "We've only lost three games the last three years. We lost to Oklahoma that played in national championship game. We lost to Utah that beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and then Boise State a year ago (in the Fiesta Bowl). So we've been in big games and we've proven we can play on a big stage. "
As long as Patterson stays in Fort Worth, the team should remain highly competitive. The school is in the midst of a $105 million renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, funded through private donations. Patterson's staff knows how to recruit and develop Texas talent.
There might not be many more Rose Bowls in the Horned Frogs' future, but Big East membership will allow them to compete for BCS games on an annual basis.
"Obviously we've done something right to get to go to the Big East, and hopefully we'll make that league better," Dalton said. "I can't see us dropping off. I think we'll just keep getting better."
The Frogs couldn't finish the job against fellow BCS-buster Boise State, but it only whet their appetite for more. TCU wants a shot at a national title. To have a chance they know they'll have to sweep their 12-game regular season that starts Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium against No. 24 Oregon State.
|ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit joins GAC to announce that he is ready for the start of another season and gives his pick for the TCU-Oregon State game.
2009 record: 12-1 (lost to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl, 17-10)
Starters returning: 19
Offensive starters returning: 9
Defensive starters returning: 7
Special teams returning: 3
Key offensive returners: QB Andy Dalton(needs one win to pass Sammy Baugh for most wins by a TCU quarterback); T Marcus Cannon (preseason All-American, ranked by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., as third-best OT in 2011 NFL Draft); C Jake Kirkpatrick (preseason All-American); WR Jeremy Kerley(team-high 44 receptions for 532 yards last season); WR Jimmy Young(115 career receptions are eighth all-time at TCU).
Will be missed:T Marshall Newhouse; RB Joseph Turner.
Key defensive returners:NT Kelly Griffin (became first true freshman in 2007 to start under Gary Patterson); DT Cory Grant (All-MWC last season, first as starter); DE Wayne Daniels (on Lombardi Trophy watch list, all-MWC last season); LB Tank Carder (preseason All-American, top returning tackler); FS Tejay Johnson (preseason All-American, tied for team lead in '09 with three interceptions).
Will be missed: DE Jerry Hughes; LB Daryl Washington; CB Rafael Priest; CB Nick Sanders
Key special teams returners:PK Ross Evans (first-team all-MWC, 15-of-18 FGs last season); KR/PR Jeremy Kerley (Four total kicks returned for touchdowns last season).
On the rise: WR Antoine Hicks(scored 10 touchdowns on 32 touches last season); RBs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker(Both rushed for more than 600 yards and averaged better than 6.0 yards a carry last season); DE Stansly Maponga (could become only redsirt freshman to earn starting job for opener); CB Greg McCoy (4.32 speed, had two interceptions last season and an 81-yard kickoff return for touchdown).
Toughest schedule stretch:Oct. 16 vs. BYU; Oct. 23 vs. Air Force; Oct. 30 at UNLV; Nov. 6 at Utah.
By the numbers:
27: Seniors (tied for the lead nationally with Louisville)
12:Wins needed by 2010 seniors to become the winningest class in TCU history (a new mark has been set in each of the last two seasons)
110: Wins by Gary Patterson, to 38 losses, since Gary Patterson arrived as defensive coordinator in 1998 (10th year as head coach).
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