We're back with the Monday Morning Quarterback after picking up the hearts that Texas Tech so callously ripped out in OT #3. There were great performances and not so great performances on both sides of the ball, and the Frogs O' War crew is all too happy to point out both.
HawkeyedFrog: I'm filling in for Fungo this week, so it won't be as pretty. My apologies.
TCU did a lot of things well in this game. It will get overshadowed by the loss but TCU significantly outgained Tech in yardage, which is a good sign for such a young team. The real key for optimism the rest of the season is how well the Frogs ran the ball against a solid Tech defensive front, though. Four and a half yards per carry isn't fantastic, but it came from consistent gains of four or more yards as opposed to being inflated by a single scamper (Tech's Kenny Williams was their leading rusher, and he averaged 0 YPC minus his big run). Kansas State and Oklahoma are the only legit run defenses left on the schedule, so it's definitely a performance that can be built on.
I touched on a lot of the bad in the postgame analysis, but I'm going to single out something else for this bit. For the first time since the Fiesta Bowl, I feel our offensive playcalling was poor. The Frogs didn't have issues moving the ball down the field as the Frogs only went three and out twice all game, but kicking six field goals was the reason we lost this game. Not to take anything away from Jason Oberkrom, who may be the best kicker of the Patterson era- I love that guy. I just want to see him more on PATs and less on Field goals. The Frogs went away from the Zone read that had been working so well to the speed option which Tech smothered with regularity (and the Frogs also fumbled on). Some of the blame of that goes to Boykin's ankle, but in the option Boykin is guaranteed to run at least some of the distance, while in the zone read game half the time he doesn't. I would have liked to see us run more off tackle as well, as Tech's linebackers did an efficient job in shutting down the dive game.
I'm pretty much over it, really. Yes, we got screwed in the end, but the officiating had been pretty poor on both sides all day. If the coverage had been a bit better either it wouldn't have mattered or the Offensive pass interference would have so blatant that the refs would have had no choice but to call it. The secondary is definitely improved from last year, but it's not five all-Big 12 guys back there.
I will start with Jaden Oberkrom aka Legatron. He had an outstanding game. Oberkrom was 6 for 6 on field goals and is now 14-16 on the season. I have never had confidence in a TCU kicker like I do with this guy. In pressure packed situations, he came up clutch. It's unfortunate that he had to kick so many though because that is one of the reasons TCU lost this game.
Skye Dawson played solid as well. Dawson had his second career 100 yard receiving game as he caught 10 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Jason Verrett had another solid performance. Verrett has really taken his game to another level compared to this time last season. Verrett totaled a career high 11 tackles, including two for loss, with three pass breakups.
I have to give props to Coach Patterson. He is coaching his ass off this season. The Frogs have been through a lot of adversity this season, but Patterson has the team ready to go each and every week.
Why is TCU's Achilles heel the "trick play?" If it's not fake punts, it's an onside kick. If it's not that, it is something else. It is just frustrating that the opposition has so much success using those types of plays against the Frogs.
Even though TCU sacked Seth Doege three times, there were still times when he had all day to throw. You can't expect your secondary to stay locked onto receiver for that much time. Being without Maponga was a big loss.
I'm not going to blame the officials for this loss, I think Tech deserves more credit than that, but there were some pretty horrendous calls and non-calls in this game. Texas Tech WR's pushed off numerous times and it wasn't called. I guess that's how it goes though.
The Frogs had three turnovers. When you turn the ball over and don't force any yourself, you will get beat.
As disappointed as I am about the loss, I am not mad. This team played their hearts out and that is all you can ask for. This TCU squad is so young. The Frogs have a bright future in front of them as long as they don't have to deal with another season like this one. TCU will own the Big 12, just give it time.
I still want to see LaDarius Brown featured more. The guy is a matchup nightmare against every CB he faces. Brown's 60 yard fourth quarter touchdown grab was his fourth scoring reception in the last five games.
The Good: The comeback rocked. I missed it! So I went back and watched it, and love it. It reminds me of Casey Pachall bringing the Frogs back in Waco last season-- you can see the young team maturing, under pressure. Finally Boykin looked passed his go-to receiver, and punished the Red Raiders.
Which leads me to LaDarius Brown. I think TCU is currently playing its three most-hyped freshmen-- Boykin, Brown, and Fields-- and all three are playing up to the hype. Fantastic talent, fantastic execution (mostly) and fantastic results (mostly). Only Fields came on board after it was clear TCU was going to be in the Big 12. Boykin and Brown thought they were going to play in the Big East. In other words, TCU was already talented enough to win in the Big 12. Give these guys (and all the other freshmen playing already) a year of experience, and there is no reason to think TCU can't win it all.
Finally, a word for Aundre Dean. For the first time in his three years here, I'm willing to hope a little when he enters the game. He's running with authority; he's running through tackles; he's getting into high gear in just a step or two. He's playing like a Parade All-American, at last. I don't think we're going to miss him when he's gone (Waymon James, Aaron Green, B.J. Catalon, anyone? Yes, please.) But he's taken some of the oh crap! out of losing Wesley, James, and Tucker.
The Bad: Immaturity. The o-line couldn't keep Tech's hands off Boykin in the backfield on running plays. Kenny Hyder simply owned Blaize Foltz, and after him John Wooldridge. TTech snuffed Boykin's running plays out early and often, and forced him to beat them with his arm.
Which he almost did, mind you. It almost makes me giddy with excitement for next year. Our o-line performs like a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. (Oh; they are a bunch of freshmen and sophomores? Go figure.) The tackles are no better. I hope Eddie Williamson can teach Aviante Collins to wait for the snap before moving. How many false starts and formation penalties has be accumulated this season? If it's not a team record, I'd hate to see what is.
And the pass defense-- it's hot and cold, and I don't know enough about football to know why it switches from one to the other. I imagine pass rush has a lot to do with it; it wouldn't hurt if the refs would call offensive pass interference when a receivers shoves our cornerbacks to the ground...
The Interesting: I like TCU's chances in Stillwater. Wes Lunt is not an experienced freshmen coming into this game, and he's going to have his eyes full keeping track of Joel Hasley and Elisha Olabode, while running for his life from Devonte Fields.
The Good: Skye Dawson, Jaden Oberkrom and Jason Verrett.
Dawson wound up with 249 all-purpose yards on the day (154 receiving, 61 punt return, 34 kick return) despite taking a beating. He’s small, but he’s proving to be quite durable and reliable.
Oberkrom set a TCU and Big 12 record for most field goals made in a game with six. After the loss though, that’s not really a record I want. Turn two of those field goals into touchdowns and the Frogs win this game. Jason Verrett was a shining spot on a secondary that allowed seven touchdown passes for the game. Verrett finished with 11 tackles (9 solo) and three passes defended.
The Bad: Six field goals. Those have to be touchdowns against an offense like Tech’s. The fact that the offense stalled out five times is frustrating. (I say five, because the field goal at the end of the game wasn’t the result of a stalled drive, so much as a two minute drill necessity).
Also, outside of Verrett, I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with our secondary. It seemed like they were getting their heads around late pretty consistently. Not picking up the ball in time = getting beat.
The How Are We Going To Get To Bowl Eligible: The Frogs go up against Oklahoma State this weekend to face a similarly depleted Pokes team. J.W. Walsh is done for the year, so the TCU secondary will have its shot at stopping Wes Lunt, the season starter for OSU. Lunt is recovering from an injury, and if he can’t go, the Cowboys will turn to third stringer Clint Chelf.
Other than this game, the two most likely chances to win are against West Virginia and Texas, and I’m not bubbling with confidence for either of those games.