The Frogs hung tight with Oklahoma throughout the game and had a chance to steal it late, which is what you want to see when you're playing a top team on the road (unless you can blow them out, of course). The defense was again absolutely amazing in holding the Sooners without a first down in the third quarter and blanketing the various receivers that OU rolled out.
The playcalling blossomed a bit in the second half (again) through judicious runs with Waymon James (again) and generally opening things up a bit with play action and trick plays to challenge the Sooners deep. I loved the aggression in going for the pooch kick after the Frogs first score, particularly when OU's offense wasn't doing anything it seemed like a great bet to give up some potential field position for a chance to get the ball, and the payoff was fantastic- I would have liked to see the Frogs try it later in the game as well after our final touchdown to lift the ball just over the front line and hope we can win the footrace with the returners rather than kicking it deep as we did.
Boykin had his issues as usual, but he didn't make the big mistake and he started to use his legs a bit more smartly to bail himself out when things just weren't there, including the fantastic run to the corner on TCU's last touchdown. I know the faithful grow fewer every week, but I'm of the opinion that our offensive issues aren't caused by Trevone Boykin. With that said...
The worst offensive performance I've ever seen, with the possible exception of Grambling State taking on our defense last year. That was TCU's first half against Oklahoma, and though there is plenty of blame to go around, the lion's share must again go to the playcalling of Jarrett Anderson. Anderson sabotaged the productiveness of the TCU running game by bringing in extra tight ends on running plays (which were obvious from personnel) which only brought more defenders into the box that would have otherwise been spread out if TCU had been running its typical four wide set instead of tipping its hand with tight ends- which was shown in the second half when we did just that.
The idea of bringing in extra blockers isn't bad in and of itself, but you have to know your personnel- if the man you're bringing in isn't worth the man he brings into the box with him when the ball is snapped, it's a bad plan, and though TCU has some athletic tight ends they're not dominating blockers. The Sooners also brought pressure and numbers inside with regularity, meaning that the Frogs would have been better off attacking the outside (which, again, second half) than continuing to stubbornly try and assert themselves up the middle where OU had numbers.
Things were much better in the second half, but the fact that TCU is struggling so consistently and pitifully in the first half on offense is (here it comes, that dreaded word that makes loads of bloggers sound like fools...) unacceptable. Even the trickery in the second half often had issues with being seen through, as upon the lineup of Brandon Carter's pass you could see Bob Stoops on the sideline mouthing exactly what the play was going to be. When even your trick plays are being seen through, there are serious issues with the man in the box.
Also... Brandon Carter, I don't know what's wrong with you, but I can clearly see that something is deeply, deeply wrong. When your biggest positive contribution is almost getting your head pulled off when you try to do something incredibly stupid on a trick play, there are very, very big problems. Step it up against Kansas, or sit your butt on the bench and let Ja'Juan Story on the field.
THE LACK OF URGENCY
Possibly an even bigger indictment of the Frog offense was the offense's complete lack of urgency in the fourth quarter. The momentum had swung in a big way toward the Frogs with ten points straight points late in the third quarter, but the clock was still on the Sooners side thanks to the inconsistency of the frog offense. I would have advocated using a clock milking offense when the Frogs had the ball with 7:40 left- short passes, runs and scrambles from Boykin to take the lead and put the pressure on the Sooners to get into the end zone... if TCU could get first downs. We couldn't, had to punt, OU scored on a broken play and suddenly it was crunch time... except nobody told the TCU offense that time was an issue.
After starting the drive with a great play to David Porter, the Frogs next allowed a sack and didn't get on the ball to save time, but instead slowly gathered, huddled, waited for the play and ran off 25 seconds of clock before they snapped the ball again. Then after a first down pass, the Frogs ran the ball up the middle- which is absolutely mind boggling when you're down two scores with four minutes left.
After a short gain the Frogs wasted forty two seconds before getting into the end zone on the next play- that's as much time as an OU running play would take out with no time outs to call, and we did it entirely to ourselves, and as the defense finally cracked under the weight of the Belldozer on the next drive, it sure would have been nice to have that extra minute+ of time we wasted, huh? That's another first down that OU would have had to earn, while potentially giving the Frogs the ball with 20 seconds or so left. That's a chance to win without your defense needing to stop them on the first or second try.
Obviously, the only answer here is defense. The defense was fantastic all game long, totally confusing the OU offense that scored 30+ on ND just a week before. The pass rush was excellent, especially up the middle, where Hunter, Lewis and Pierson dominated. Lathan, McFarland and even Fields got into the game on the outside, and the linebackers did an excellent job in both run and pass protection.
Obviously the secondary was the star of the show. Verrett and White shut down the corners, while Olabode, Hackett, and Carter did great work in the slot and deep safety positions. Bell had no where to go with the ball, except for short and intermediate passes which helped produce short drives for OU and punts for TCU.
One more good: Perry was consistently average as a punter... The offense, apparently, "tried hard" which I guess I believe but don't so much care about, which I will explain in a second.
Why do you keep running the zone read when OU is killing you each time?
Why do you call deep routes when OU is rushing 5-6 and your QB has 1 second in the pocket before he is getting killed?
Why do you not line up behind center until THE SECOND FUCKING HALF????
As I said yesterday, this game taught me all I need to know about TCU. The problem, principally, is that the game plan coming into the game is almost always wrong. We spend an entire half doing the wrong things and getting nowhere. Then we adjust at half time, come out, and do better! Why such a disparity?
This is why you are hearing people call for Anderson and Burns to be relieved of their duties.
On the players... Did they fight hard? I am sure they did. But, at the end of the day, the players have to execute on the field for their to be success and I didn't see that. I saw an offensive line getting beat every play, I saw receivers running lazy routes. I saw a QB not understanding or running through a progression. I saw running backs not recognize the middle was clogged and bounce it outside. I saw a kicker kick the ball out of bounds on the most important kickoff of the game.
The coaches are doing a horrible job. But the players aren't exactly holding their end of the bargain up either.
Kansas is coming up, an easy winner even for TCU. Then, back to the grind at Oklahoma State.
I think TCU is going to figure this out eventually, there is now way we don't. But let me say this:
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, if TCU does not make changes this off season, I expect people will start seriously questions GPs role as a HC.
I don't believe in firing coaches mid season.
I also don't believe a HC has the right to say, "Hey I just do defense, I don't touch offense."
Bullshit coach, you are responsible for the failures and successes of the entire team. Just because you CHOOSE to remove yourself entirely from the offensive game plan doesn't mean it isn't your responsibility.
If you choose to spend your off season letting somebody else fix things, don't think you won't hear calls for change at your job. I remember when Mack Brown and Pete Carroll and Nick Saban (at LSU) were considered untouchable too... All of that changed eventually. It could, for you, too.
Fix it, Gary. Fix it now.