Dallas Colleges: Johnny Fobbs

TCU spring wrap

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
8:00
AM CT

2011 overall record: 11-2
2011 conference record: 7-0
Returning starters: offense: 6; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 0

Top returners
QB Casey Pachall, RB Waymon James, DL Stansly Maponga, RB Ed Wesley, RB Matthew Tucker, WR Josh Boyce, LB Kenny Cain, DB Jason Verrett

Key losses
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)

Spring answers

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.

Fall questions

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?
Time to continue our series breaking down each team's best and worst positions entering the 2012 season. TCU is up next.

More spring superlatives:
Strongest position: Running back

Simply put, this position is pretty absurd for TCU. The Horned Frogs have by far the deepest set of running backs in the league. Ed Wesley, Waymon James and Matthew Tucker all topped 700 yards rushing but each got at least 120 carries and not more than 123. That's crazy balance.

The Horned Frogs may not have a gamebreaker in the unit, and they put those numbers up in the Mountain West, but it's still impressive. Casey Pachall spearheads a great passing attack, but the Horned Frogs are more than capable of getting physical on the ground. Balance has been a benchmark of Gary Patterson's program, and it'll be especially true this year. Nobody in the Big 12 can boast anything close to three 700-yard rushers coming back, and TCU will use them all liberally.

Weakest position: Safety

TCU's safeties outpace the linebackers here, but after Tanner Brock got mixed up in the campus drug sting, there's a big question mark at both positions. Tank Carder was a stalwart at the position for the past three seasons, including the Rose Bowl win in 2010, but he's gone now. Brock missed 2011 with an injury, but the former All-American was expected back. He almost certainly will not return.

Safeties Tekerrein Cuba and Johnny Fobbs are both gone, and the position was already a trouble spot last year. You saw plenty of it in the loss to Baylor that opened the season. Devin Johnson, a likely starter this season, was also arrested in the drug sting and barring a stunning turn of events, won't be with the team this year. Now, it's up to sophomores Sam Carter, Jonathan Anderson and juniors Elisha Olabode and Trent Thomas to fill the void.

The good news? Coach Chad Glasgow is back to coach them after a year coordinating the defense at Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs were the nation's leader in total defense in 2008, 2009 and 2010 with Glasgow. That'll change in their new home in the Big 12, but hopes are still high.
Colleague Ryan McGee broke down his five position groups with the most work to do this offseason, and one Big 12 team made the cut.

You'll need ESPN Insider to see the other four teams, Insider 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.

Offseason spotlight: TCU Horned Frogs

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
3:19
PM CT
As we welcome nearby TCU to the league, the offseason spotlight Thursday shines on the Horned Frogs:

Spotlight: A rotating group of safeties that need a big offseason.

2011 summary: Tekerrein Cuba and Johnny Fobbs combined for 135 tackles and were two of the team's top four tacklers. Cuba broke up three passes and forced two fumbles and Fobbs intercepted one pass with six breakups and forced three fumbles. Both are gone and must be replaced.

The skinny: I'm guessing most of you saw TCU just once last season, and it wasn't a great impression. The first night of the season was an ugly one for TCU full of deep balls and a painful loss, courtesy of future Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. Some of those five touchdowns came in single coverage, but the safeties at TCU left a lot to be desired, especially after losing Tejay Johnson after the 2010 season, a Thorpe Award finalist.

This year, Jonathan Anderson and Elisha Olabode slide into the new safety spots. Offenses like Baylor's are pretty common in the Big 12. Not so much in the Mountain West. That duo has to step into new roles and be effective for the Horned Frogs to succeed in their new league.

Anderson is a promising sophomore who made 17 tackles in a win over BYU at Cowboys Stadium this past season, including 11 solo tackles. Olabode didn't quite have that kind of impact, but both players' development this spring and in fall camp will be enormous.

For so much focus on the offense in this league, you can't forget about the defense, which last year was below what's been expected at TCU.

TCU spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
11:51
AM CT
2010 overall record: 13-0

2010 conference record: 8-0, champions

Returning starters

Offense: 5, defense 6, punter/kicker 2

Top returners

LB Tank Carder, WR Josh Boyce, RB Ed Wesley, LB Tanner Brock

Key losses

QB Andy Dalton, WR/PR Jeremy Kerley, S Tejay Johnson, DE Wayne Daniels

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Wesley* (1,078 yards, 11 TDs)

Passing: Dalton (209-of-316 for 2,857, 27 TDs, 6 INTs)

Receiving: Kerley (575 yards, 10 TDs)

Tackles: Brock* (106)

Sacks: Daniels (6.5)

Interceptions: Johnson (three)

Spring Answers

1. The defensive line looks strong. But then again, when does it not look strong? Coach Gary Patterson always does a tremendous job with his defense and 2011 is shaping up to be no exception. Patterson said coming out of spring that this unit has a chance to be even better than last season, despite losing Daniels. Braylon Broughton had a great spring, and so did Stansly Maponga.

2. Safeties looking good. TCU loses three of its five starters in the secondary, including safety Tejay Johnson. But Patterson was encouraged this spring by Johnny Fobbs and Sam Carter, who both had excellent springs. Fobbs, a senior who has waited for his opportunity, is penciled in at Johnson’s spot. Carter is a converted quarterback who made plays throughout practice and is listed as the backup behind Trenton Thomas.

3. Casey Pachall the man. Pachall and Matt Brown split the reps during the spring, and as expected, Pachall is the man to start at quarterback for TCU going forward. He simply has more experience than Brown, a redshirt freshman, and more knowledge of the offense.

Fall Questions

1. How many freshmen will contribute at receiver? This is the one area that TCU will rely on newcomers or help. Brandon Carter and LaDarius Brown are the two players who are mentioned the most, but there will also be opportunities for David Bush, David Porter and Cameron White.

2. Leadership. This is one area that Patterson wants to see develop in the offseason. The Horned Frogs lost 26 seniors and team leaders Andy Dalton and Johnson. It is imperative for players to step up and fill that void they have left. Tank Carder is an obvious choice to do just that.

3. Can Pachall step up right away? Pachall has been through three spring practices already and gotten some valuable playing time behind Dalton. But there is no way of knowing whether he has what it takes to be a winning starting quarterback until the season begins and he gets thrown into the fire.

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