A few key questions that TCU and each of its D-1A opponents look to answer this spring.
Air Force- Will Ken Lamendola, out for most of two seasons with injuries, reclaim a starting role at linebacker? And who's going to replace Reggie Rembert and Anthony Wright in the secondary?
Baylor- Skipping passed the obvious (replacing RB Jay Finley), can new coordinator Phil Bennett revive the defense like Art Briles has done to the offense? He has to replace six starters while he's doing it (DT Phil Taylor, LBs Chris Francis and Antonio Johnson, Ss Tim Atchison and Byron Landor, and CB Mikail Baker).
Boise State- will a go-to receiver emerge to replace Titus Young and Austin Pettis?
BYU- is it safe to stop makes excuses for Jake Heaps, and simply demand better, now?
Colorado State- it's put up or shut up time about the run game in Fort Collins. First, who is going to replace Guy Miller and Ty Whittier, and finally stop opponents on the ground? Second, with four returning starters on the line and a pack of returning runningbacks, who will channel his inner Gartrell Johnson and finally make hay toting the rock?
Louisiana-Monroe- Every meaningful playmaker for the Warhawks returns, and transfer Mitchell Bailey has finished sitting out a year. Is the offense going to go ballistic?
New Mexico- is this the season the defensive line plays to its potential? Ugo Uzodinma and Reggie Ellis didn't improve the rush defense in '10; Calvin Watkins is not a true freshman anymore. What gives? Stump Godfrey can't save Locks's job by himself.
San Diego State- Even more than Boise State, the wide receiving corps is being recast with new players. It's open season at the position. Only two receivers, Dominique Sandifer and Dylan Denso return, having caught a pass in a game. Ezell Ruffin, Osmond Nicholas, King Holder, David Lamar, and Jay Waddell all will get a chance during the spring. Ruffin created the most buzz on the practice squad, but there's room for a handful to stand and deliver.
SMU- It's time for the Mustang's version of the run-n-shoot to go ballistic. Kyle Padron had a solid sophomore slump, but 2011 is SMU's time to shine. It gets TCU in a rebuilding year; but its offense has to improve to make headway against the Frogs' ferocious D. Only one Mustang starter leaves-- WR Aldrick Robinson. Inexperience doesn't exist on this team anymore.
TCU- It's year 1 A.D. (After Dalton) in Fort Worth. Can Casey Pachall hold off Matt Brown for top spot on the two-deep at quarterback? And can James Fry hold off redshirt freshman Michael Thompson at center?
UNLV- offensive identity? Anyone? RB Tim Cornett became an unlikely light for the ground game last season; who will rise to match his intensity?
Wyoming- half a dozen Cowboy recruits enrolled early, and four of last year's offensive line recruits have completed a redshirt year. And a good thing, because some of Wyoming's best playmakers left the team after the season, including QB Austyn Carta-Samuels. Suddenly the two-deep is very fluid.