Dallas Colleges: Trent Thomas

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.

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