We are back with the Monday Morning Quarterback, a look at what was another ugly win vs. Virginia last Saturday. Apparently, the Frogs are going to make every effort to win each game this year in the ugliest of fashions, forgoing any potential butt kickings that might have come their way if they would go for it. By the way, is it too early to call out Jarrett Anderson and Rusty Burns over the play calling this year? Probably, but keep it in the back of your mind...
Once again, you had to like Casey's numbers and his performance, except for that one minor detail: Turnover. Casey had a horrible interception inside the ten yard line, more points off the board for TCU on something that was horrible forced and never necessary. Brandon Carter saved Casey's butt again with another huge day, including two one handed grabs that made SportsCenter and annointed him the top receiver (performance-wise) for TCU thus far this year.
The defense was once again good, not great. There was some semblance of a pass rush this game, although it was at the expense of allowing the run up the middle fairly easily. Special teams shined brightly for TCU with Jaden Oberkrom dominating on field goals and kick offs and Ethan Perry showing us why the coaches love his leg as a punter.
The linebackers were awful, they couldn't tackle and seemed to refuse Gary's wishes to stay inside the tackles and hit a running back when he comes through the line. The run game was basically not there, Matthew Tucker got some longer runs in the third and fourth quarter but they only made his day seem respectable. It may just be me, but I don't think Tucker's strength is the option run/shotgun hand off, as it was for Waymon. Tucker needs to be getting the ball out of the eye set, running off tackle with a fullback in on the play. As for Aundre Dean, somebody needs to put out an APB.
And by the way, remember how everyone asked, "Will TCU forget about Waymon James after they see the greatness that is Mathew Tucker??" No, we haven't forgotten and he will be missed.
The coverage on punts was also awful, tons of flags on really stupid blocks. The team seemed to be totally out of sorts this week with laundry coming out on everyone, including the offensive line. Speaking of the big uglys, against a good defensive line this week they struggled, Pachall got hit often and several holding penalties killed TCU drives. They were a weakness in August, and are clearly a weakness now. If they have that game against Virginia, imagine the hell we are in for against Texas.
I said last week that TCU needed to take the good from each game, eliminate the bad and replicate the results the next time out. Unfortunately, they seem to have done the opposite and only new problems seem to pop up each week. The Frogs have SMU next and then Iowa State after that, two teams that are no better than Virginia and should be building games for TCU. But, we do actually need to start building. We can't just keep making the same stupid mistakes week in and week out, it isn't worth it. After Iowa State, the Frogs head to Waco to take on Baylor in what will be the first real test for the Frogs. I anticipate we will be 5-0 at that point, and with any luck we will be 6-0 coming out, but I imagine we will know a whole hell of a lot more about TCU at that point, news that we may not find so savory.
As I have stated numerous times, the Frogs won so you have to be happy about that. Casey Pachall had a very Casey Pachall like game which means he was pretty solid. I was most pleased with the receivers though. Brandon Carter balled out again, Boyce caught his 18th touchdown as a Frog, and LaDarius Brown recorded the first of which should be many more TD's for TCU. Seven different players caught a pass for the Frogs.
Coming into this season two of the biggest concerns for TCU were the offensive line and the linebackers. Although the o-line still needs some work, through three games this season, TCU has allowed just one sack. I know the Frogs haven't been playing top flight competition but that is impressive. The big uglies up front have done a great job of keeping Casey Pachall off the ground.
The linebackers have stepped up as well. Kenny Cain had a monster game and Joel Hasley led the Frogs in tackles in two straight games. LB was looking like it was going to be a weakness for this defense but through three games, it looks like it could be the strong point.
I've mentioned it a couple times before, but the Frogs defense is doing a great job on third downs. TCU held Grambling to 3-14, Kansas was only 2-13, and Virginia was 3-16.
I loved the new anthracite jerseys. I thought they looked really good with the purple pants and helmet.
Casey Pachall's interception was a bad decision. He should have just thrown it away. That turnover kept points off the board for TCU.
The defensive line is getting absolutely no pressure on the QB. You can't expect your secondary to provide lockdown coverage on every single pass play. Patterson needs to run more stunts or something because the lack of a push up front is becoming a big concern.
The Frogs had 12 penalties for 103 yards. Need to get that taken care of before the SMU game.
I'm not going to rag on the fans for leaving early, but I do have a problem with the best seats in the house being empty. It's disappointing that so many seats on the 50 yard line on the first and second levels of the west side are consistently empty.
I still don't know what to think about this TCU team. Yes they are 3-0, but the Frogs still haven't been tested. I want to see how the offensive line holds up against a more talented pass rush. I want to see Pachall's decision making under constant pressure. I want to see how this group of RB's are going to respond now that James is out. There are still a lot of questions to be answered.
The Good: It's a win. With a very young team. Much like the win last week against Kansas, it's easy to focus on the bad, because there's a lot of it. But let's pause for the good, here. First-- TCU's receivers are awesome. They make Casey Pachall look better than he is, and we're all happy about that. If they can stop drawing unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, they'll make him look even better. Ahem, Mr. Carter...
Second, Trey Boykin doesn't have an arm, he has an arm. A bazooka. A howitzer. Pick your cheesy overused sports metaphor, and it's probably not good enough. Holy cow-- the only toss Boykin made Saturday was incomplete, but show arm strength like TCU hasn't seen from a QB in at least a long while.
The Bad: when have you last seen an o-linemen draw an illegal procedure penalty for lining up in the backfield? These are the kind of mistakes that make us miss Ty Horn, Nykiren Wellington, and James Dunbar. Each of those three would be higher on the 2-deep than Collins, Childs, and Big V, and part of the reason why is the more experienced linemen wouldn't be drawing stupid penalties.
Ethan Perry is a fine punter who can kick the ball a mile. Look for opponents to come after his kicks, though, because he takes his time getting the ball off. Part of what made Anson Kelton so valuable was his quickness at getting the kick off. No, it wasn't going to go 60 yards and take 5 seconds to get there, but nobody was going to block it.
I don't remember anyone saying Tucker was better than James, but we're certainly not in any danger of hearing that now. Inside running is one of the essentials. And suddenly it's not clear TCU has it.
Did you notice that Chris Hackett replaced Jonathan Anderson in the second half? Hackett would have played free safety last season, as a true freshman, but he got hurt in fall camp and was redshirted instead. Anderson was getting beat, but Hackett came in and the beating stopped. It'll be very interesting to see who starts against Smew on Saturday. Hackett is a big-time riser in the secondary-- and together with Sam Carter and Elisha Olabode makes a very salty crew of safties.
The Good: Brandon Carter just gets more impressive with every week, making several excellent grabs despite Casey taking a while to settle into his customary excellence- his fielding of high throws helped get TCU on the board and settle in when very little else was working on offense early on. TCU's back seven also played a solid game, picking up two interceptions and holding both Virginia quarterbacks to under 50% completion rates despite Patterson and Bumpas keeping the defense as vanilla as possible- it seems likely that TCU's two firebreathers are trying to keep the majority of their blitz packages off of the tape until at least the Baylor game, where I expect we'll see a variety of pressures to attempt to take advantage of a suspect Bears offensive line. The improved play of the secondary really speaks to the importance of Chad Glasgow back there, so hopefully it will be a while before he ends up departing the program again. Also TCU won!
The Bad: Casey was solid, but not really impressive and despite not being sacked he was hit a number of times and had to go to the bench a number of times to be worked on. Despite breaking the TCU record for touchdown passes Boyce really hasn't been on the past few games, dropping several balls he should really come up with, and he's just not getting open like he did last season either. This is probably a coverage issue, but it's something that's a concern if defenses can scheme to take Boyce out of the game without opening up holes for the running game. Oh, and speaking of the running game... 63 yards on 20 carries for our running backs is not going to get the job done in the Big 12. Or... any conference really. If we can't run the ball against SMU it may be time to start defaulting into an empty backfield or stick Boykin in as running back and see if we can get anything done on the ground that way. I don't know if I'm as concerned about the D-line as the rest of our staff, but I'll have a better idea for Wednesday's Frogs Rewind.
The Lack of Optimism: TCU hasn't allowed any of its three opponents to score in double figures, TCU has won every game by double figures, TCU has only given up one touchdown all year, TCU has the best receivers in the Big 12- and possibly the nation... so why don't I feel good about the season anymore? There's nothing in the results that stands out and says that the Frogs can't win the Big 12 or compete for a quality bowl bid, but something in this game just sapped away a good deal of my previously boundless optimism. Maybe it was the lack of running game the week after Virginia gave up 461 yards to Georgia Tech- Yes Tech's offense is predicated on the run, but they racked up more yards on the ground than we did total. Maybe it was watching Virginia's incompetence cost them big plays (remember when Rocco delivered the ball perfectly to his receivers helmet?) that against a competent team could have turned into big yards or touchdowns. Maybe it's yet another fumble going into the end zone, but suddenly I'm feeling a lot more like an 8-4 team than a 10-2 team. Look out in 2013 though, we'll win the whole thing- and I don't just mean the Big 12.