But, for just one last time in 2012, it is time to roll back the clock and take a look at what went wrong in TCU Football's final contest, The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Michigan State.
I guess I have to start here... I want to congratulate the offense from the first half, they did a fine job of looking decent and I was very proud of them. I am being totally serious too.
And congratulations not just to the players, but to the coaches (GP included) for having the balls to get after it for a full 20 minutes or so.
Also, congratulations to Kenny Cain on being a total beast all year long, we will miss you.
Congratulations to the entire defensive line, you are an amazing group who can do great things in 2013 if you all stick together.
And finally, to Hackett/Olabode/Verrett, you are amazing and I love you. Please don't ever leave me.
Oh wait, I forgot one: Jerod Oberkrombie, thank you for rediscovering how good you really are, if you replicate that performance game in/game out in 2013, you will be a Lou Groza finalist, guaranteed.
It is Black Monday in the NFL, and in that spirit I wish to fire some people. Here are the rules: I can fire anybody, and they all have the ability to apply for rehire in the spring.
- The entire offense is suspended from starting, you can reapply for your gig in the spring.
- Trevone Boykin, you are not fired. But, you are demoted. We promoted you when Casey went to rehab, but now that he is back he is taking the team back. Learn, get better, come to spring without cramps please.
- Offensive Line: FIRED. Get in the weight room, learn to play harder, learn to block a defensive end, because GET THIS: Your next game that counts is against LSU, where the defensive ends are as fast as Boykin and stronger than all of your teammates combined. Every single one of you was getting put on your ass the last two drives on Saturday, and this kind of performance cannot stand. All jobs are up in the air, you either get better or you don't play, real simple.
- Wide Receivers: FIRED. All of you showed you can make a big play, you all have cool touchdown dances, but all of you continue to drop balls all over the field. It was so bad, we had to bring in Listenbee on Saturday to get some yardage. We are bringing in some reinforcements(Story), and you will likely get your coach back from coordinating duties, so get after it this spring if you ever want to do the Cat Daddy in the end zone of The Carter again.
- Running Backs: Catalon, thank you for not fumbling again after that one game, and thanks for stepping up big in a tough situation. You will be a big part of the 2013 three head monster. Get ready, your future is bright.
- Defensive Line: You are promoted to God level, get better and train up your reinforcements so we can be a bit deeper in 2013, but mainly just stay healthy please.
Linebackers: You are all fired, except Cain who should have a statue built for him next to Gary's. We are going to have six LB's in spring ball, any one can earn a spot, get ready to compete.
Secondary: White, you are fired, everyone else is good. But, watch your back, a couple of athletic transfers are just behind you, waiting. If you rest on your success, you are a goner.
Special Teams: Kickers, you are good. Perry, fix your head please, go see Oberkrombie for advice. Return team, you are all fired, don't bother showing up in the spring if you can't catch 100 consecutive punts without a drop.
Offensive Coaches: You are all fired. Sorry, you just didn't get the job done. Yes, yes, yes, we know it was tough for you, we know what happened. Listen, this blame game doesn't make you look better, makes you look like a bunch of babies. Take a week for yourself to rest. Then go recruit some studs. Then, hit the film room and get better. You may have a different job in 2013, but I expect improvements none-the-less. This team isn't in the MWC anymore, you simply have to work harder to earn that pay increase you just got. GET ON IT.
Defensive Coaches: You are good... Could you go over and help the offense learn how to execute like you? K, thanks.
Gary: You know what you did well, you know what you did wrong. That is the one thing I like most about you, you are very introspective and can recognize when you mess up and what needs to be fixed. I like this about you, and I won't pound you right now on 2012, you will do that to yourself enough without my help. But, just remember, head coaches don't last long in college football, even legacy coaches like yourself. Everyone has to step up their game, I expect nothing less than a 10 win season in 2013, you just need to get there.
THE NEXT STEP
Signing day is just around the corner, then spring ball, and we need to lock up this roster... Lock up the commits, add 1 or 2 here or there. Then, lock up the 2013 roster in spring ball, get everyone on the field (including Pachall) and start to build a team. After Baseball finishes winning their Championship, get your guys back out on the field, and start building the pyramid.
Here is a bold prediction folks: This roster will look very different come July 2013. There are going to be a lot of moving parts between now and then. But, at the end of the day, the talent is here, it just has to take the next step. Once it does that, we will be ready.
But, fans, go ahead and take a week. Rest, relax, reflect. Then, lets come back, and watch some basketball, at least until it is warm enough to go out and watch some baseball.
The defense in the first half played great. They pitched the first half shutout and were making plays. The second half wasn't so great but they got worn down by the lack of any kind of production from the offense.
Jason Verrett is an absolute beast. He recorded a team high twelve tackles and was all over the field. He showed why he is one of the top CB's in the country.
Jaden Oberkrom had a very good game hitting field goals from 47, 31, and 53 yards. Hopefully "Legatron's" confidence is back for good because he is a huge asset to this team. His kick from 53 yards look like it would have been good from 63.
Congrats to Josh Boyce for setting the new single season reception record. Kind of crazy that it came in a season where the second string QB started most of the games.
Chucky Hunter played really well. He recorded a sack and was clogging up the middle all night.
The entire second half.
Skye Dawson. I can't put all the blame on him, but his mistake on the punt return completely changed the momentum and cost TCU the game. Skye must have dirt on Coach P or something because he should not have been returning punts.
Boykin had no touch on any of his passes. They were overthrown, low, behind the receiver or just flat out bad. He has to work on his passing game this spring if he wants to continue playing quarterback at this level.
I really wanted to see LaDarius Brown used more often. TCU is not utilizing him properly.
TCU only had one drive in the second half that went longer than five plays. That is pitiful.
THE LOOKING AHEAD
Only 243 days until TCU vs. LSU at Cowboys Stadium. I am still very excited about 2013 but this team has a lot of things to correct this spring.
The Frogs must sure up the offensive line and linebacker positions because those are big weak spots for this team.
I can't wait to see the quarterback battle this spring. Can Casey win his job back? Will Matthews emerge as a challenge?
The Frogs lost two of their top recruiters in one day. Who will Patterson get to fill those openings? I hope this doesn't hurt recruiting too bad.
The Defense is monstrous, and it'll be back in full force next year. Bell is an absolutely beastly back, and the frogs shut him down cold in the first half and late in the second half. This will be important, as LSU is going to bring a stable of big, pounding backs into Jerryworld next year and the frogs are going to have to be able to handle them.
Oberkrom has his groove back, hitting a beautiful 47 yarder from the left hash, which has been his trouble spot all year. If he's got his head on right it's going to be a big boost for TCU for the next three years. A kicker you can count on is a tremendous resource, as TCU fans have known.... due to not having one for the past five years.
LaDarius Brown is going to be absolutely unstoppable next year. He's huge, he can catch and he's hard as hell to bring down. With the attention Boyce and Carter get on offense, Brown will be awesome with a competent quarterback distributing the ball.
Every part of the offense apart from the wide receivers and Matthew Tucker. The O-line was unable to give Boykin the time he needed to go through progressions on the long pass plays that the OC dialed up, Boykin was unable to hit the open receivers on the long pass plays the OC dialed up... and the OCs continually dialed up long pass plays, not only when they weren't working, but when the zone read and short passes were working really well. Michigan State's corners were playing well off on first and second down, yet the Frogs didn't take advantage of it with quick passes.
Despite all the bowl practices to get a new punt returner ready, Skye Dawson was still back there returning punts. It should come as no surprise to anyone at this point that Dawson would muff an important punt- he's been doing it all year. I'm mad at Skye for attempting to field a punt behind the ten yard line- a cardinal sin for a punt returner- but I'm over my initial rage at Dawson for failing to catch another punt. Now I'm mad at the coaches for continuing to send him out there, when even when he's caught the punt this year he's done just about nothing with it. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, and sending Dawson out there when all of the previous games have shown you that he cannot catch punts is not just insanity, it's idiocy.
I know I'm alone in the "where is Aundre Dean" camp, but he received no carries in this game. When nothing we were doing on offense, the man can't even get one carry? I really hope that Aaron Green gets a lot more patience from the staff over his career than Dean did, because he was just nowhere to be seen this season even when he was performing well.
THE END OF THE SEASON
What a disappointing way to end the season. I know bowl games that aren't the national championship game are dime-a-dozen exhibition games and it doesn't really mean anything for TCU to lose this game, but... the offseason is a lot more fun after a win.
Next time TCU takes the field the frogs will not only have a competent quarterback (either Casey Pachall or a Trevone Boykin that has developed enough to beat out Casey Pachall), but a monster running game featuring a healthy Waymon James, Catalon with a year of seasoning and the aforementioned Aaron Green. That along with an incredibly talented receiving group should make next years TCU offense every bit the terror that this one wasn't.
TCU will win the Big 12 next year, mark it down wherever you care to.
Defensively, you couldn't ask for much more from this team. They were everywhere, knocking down passes, making strong tackles on Bell, putting pressure on the quarterbacks. Yes, they should have caught one or two of those potential interceptions, but all in all, I'm not upset with the defensive effort. Jason Verrett was a monster, as was Devonte Fields. Something we've come to expect from both of those guys. They'll both be preseason All-Americans going into the 2013 season.
Jaden Oberkrom's mega-leg was on full display too, as he drilled a 53-yarder to give the Frogs a short-lived lead. I just wonder what would have happened if we had been able to move the ball up just enough to get him a chance to win it, but alas, it wasn't to be.
It's pretty obvious where this has to start. When your senior kick and punt returner cannot identify where he is on the field when fielding a punt, something is wrong. I don't know if that's coaching or if it's Skye Dawson's inability to learn a lesson he's been taught time and time again, but either way, it was horrifying to watch as he bumbled, slipped and fell, and gave away the game.
It's not always fair to say one play cost a team the game, but if one play can have a major negative impact, it's that one. I feel bad for Skye, I do, and I unfairly tweeted about him during and after the game, but it's very disappointing to watch a senior go out like that. Especially after the season he had last year.
Trevone Boykin wasn't exactly an All-American either though. He was consistently overthrowing players, a sign that he was rushing things, and in the second half he injured his leg again, rendering him almost completely useless. By the end of things he was dragging his leg around so bad I thought they may have to amputate.
THE END OF A FORGETTABLE SEASON
Frankly, I'm glad this season is over. From the drug bust to the DUI to the injuries it's good to have this whole thing behind us. Valuable lessons were learned, we saw the evolution of key players for the future of our team, and we beat Texas in Austin, so it wasn't all bad, but nonetheless, a 7-6 season with a bowl loss to Michigan State is a disappointment.
With Randy Shannon and Trey Haverty both leaving the coaching ranks, this recruiting season just got a lot more interesting, and I'll be waiting anxiously to see who we get to replace them. They're both stud coaches and recruiters.
Let the Pachall speculation, Big 12 Champion predictions, boasting of our surely-to-be top ranked defense begin. Until spring, goodbye football. You were a cruel mistress this year, but I'll forgive you.
Just tell me what I did to deserve this.