Friday, December 31, 2010
Three keys for TCU in the Rose Bowl
By Brian Bennett
Here are three keys for TCU against Wisconsin in Saturday's Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO :
1. Control first down: If you have read or listened to one word of pre-bowl coverage, you know that the Badgers have a major size advantage on offense against TCU's defense. It's no secret that Wisconsin would like to use that advantage to pound the ball right at the Horned Frogs with its powerful running game. That's why it's important for TCU to keep John Clay, Montee Ball and James White from ripping off big gains on first down, hopefully forcing the Badgers to throw it more than they'd like. If Wisconsin has manageable second and third downs, it can keep plowing forward on the ground and set up its play-action passing game. TCU needs to be strong on first down, or it could be a long day.
2. Speed kills: The whole speed vs. power debate this week underrates Wisconsin's athletic ability. Yet there's no denying that TCU is ridiculously fast, on both sides of the ball. The Horned Frogs need to get the most out of that, especially on offense. Quarterback Andy Dalton normally throws short or immediate passes and then relies on his quick receivers to break tackles. With multiple formations and the threat of the zone-read, TCU should be able to get its playmakers in space. Time to see if that whole Big Ten lack-of-speed thing is true.
3. Win special teams: One of the few areas where Wisconsin doesn't excel is on covering kicks and punts. That could be a place for TCU to gain an edge with dynamic return man Jeremy Kerley. The senior has been itching for a kick or punt return score this year after getting two last season. Even if he can't reach the end zone, Kerley could be crucial for helping the Horned Frogs establish field position. It will be interesting to see if Wisconsin tries to kick the ball away from TCU's most dangerous player.