I think we will all agree that it will be great to be back home for Oklahoma State. After... well... you know... it's time to refocus and lock in on beating the Cowboys, the third straight contender the Frogs will face in the October gauntlet. I think most fans will tell you that TCU needed two of these three wins, and they are still on track for that. What will it take to take down the Cowboys?
- WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN DOESN'T MATTER - There is bound to be some lingering effects from the meltdown in Waco, just like there were probably some lingering effects after the OU win. These are 18-22 year old kids after all, and that was as emotionally draining a loss as there could ever be. Patterson said Sunday's practice was much better than the Sunday leading up to Baylor, and it needed to be. The boys have to leave that game in the past and be fully focused on the task at hand. OSU is a beatable team, but if they let up, the Pokes are certainly capable of coming in to the Carter and pulling the upset.
- REMEMBER WE ARE A GOOD DEFENSIVE TEAM? - TCU, which has built it's decade plus reputation squarely on the back of one of the best defenses in the nation, gave up 61 points a week ago. That just doesn't happen to a Patterson led team, and it will be crucial that Sam Carter, Chuck Hunter, Marcus Mallett, Paul Dawson, and co go out and prove it was an anomaly, not a new trend. OSU is starting a back up QB, who doesn't boast the arm or the accuracy of Bryce Petty. He also plays behind a line that has given up 16 sacks on the season, hits on under 60% of his passes, and has a 6-5 TD to INT ratio in three conference games. Now, he's still capable of winning games for the Pokes (they are 3-0 in the Big 12), but those numbers should have the D line absolutely salivating. TCU will have the opportunity to be aggressive in a way they couldn't be a week ago, and if they can get pressure on Daxx Garman - and they should be able to - it will be a long day for the Cowboy O.
- AND THAT STARTS WITH THE RUN D - Looking back on that fourth quarter, yes it was the long passes that eventually cost the Frogs the game, but those were made possible by the way Baylor absolutely gashed the Frogs on the ground. If the guys up front can stop the run without needing help from the back end, it gives the corners a much better shot at stopping anything deep as well as allows them to be more aggressive off the line. OSU has a couple of good running backs - there isn't one guy you can commit to stop, and they each run with a different style. Tyreek Hill is as fast as fast comes, but TCU's defensive speed should be able to contain him when he tries to break it to the outside. They also will split Hill out though and look to find ways to get him touches, so the D needs to always know where he is lined up and be sure to not let him get behind the D. Desmond Roland leads the team in attempts, yards, and touchdowns, and is the more physical runner of the group - taking him down at the point of attack and being sure to wrap up will be key. Rennie Childs hasn't done much this year, but he is certainly capable of breaking off big chunks of yardage if he can find space.
- PLEASE NO MORE FADE ROUTES - Cumbie and Meacham seemed to shy away from some of the creative play-calling that had Frog fans so excited in the early season, throwing fade after fade after fade last Saturday. I am sure they saw something on tape that encouraged those calls, but, let's try something else this week maybe? OSU has a decent defense - they did a respectable job against Jameis Winston to open the season, but did allow him to break free for a couple of big runs. Boykin will need to have another big day, but I would like to see the backs get more opportunities as well. Whether it's straight ahead runs, sweeps, the option, or screens, let's get the ball in the hands of these playmakers and let them operate in space. I have always been a believer of using the run to set up the pass, and the Frogs went away from the running game completely down the stretch last week. It's time to get the ground game back on track.
- SPECIAL TEAMS STAYS SPECIAL - TCU had an solid game in the special teams department last week, with Jaden Oberkrom getting back on track to the tune of three field goals and seven extra points. The return game was strong as well; in additon to B.J. Catalon's touchdown, Cam Echols-Luper and Deante Gray both had multiple big returns. The coverage also seemed improved, as the Bear returners were mostly contained. I would like to see Oberkrom get back to kicking it out of the end zone, which might be helpful against kick returner extraordinaire Tyreek Hill, but overall he looked good. There was the high snap on the punt that was an absolute killer, but otherwise, it was a good performance for that group.
This is a very important game for TCU, not only in the standings, but from a morale standpoint as well. Getting a big win in front of a raucous home crowd will do a lot for the team's confidence going forward, and help them bounce back after a tough loss. Be sure to leave your keys in the comments, and Go Frogs!