This has been quite the gauntlet of games, playing three ranked opponents in three weeks, followed by a tough rivalry contest, that precedes a big time road test. The Tech matchup has all the makings of a potential trap game, as the Frogs may be tempted to let off the gas after the absolute domination of OSU and ahead of a showdown in Morgantown that has significant Big 12 title implications. But if the Frogs want to stay in the hunt for a major post-season appearance, there can be no let down here; especially against a Tech squad that has had the Frog's number the past two years. What are the keys to victory against the Red Raiders?
ONE GAME AT A TIME - As previously stated, it would be very easy for the Frogs to look ahead to that big game on the first, it won't mean much if they go in as a two loss team. And while most Tech people have said TCU should win, you know they are all hoping to catch us napping. You can't overlook a rival, no matter what their record, and despite Tech's struggles in the early going, they are still a dangerous team when their offense is clicking. I believe Baylor is TCU's main rival, but there's no question in my mind that the Tech game inspires more vitriol than the Bears by far. These two teams, and fan bases, just don't like each other a whole lot, and frankly I don't think they respect each other much, either. Two controversial losses have surely left a bad taste in TCU's mouth, and I don't see them looking ahead with Tech coming to town. That being said, it's important to focus on the task at hand and take care of business tomorrow.
GET HOT, STAY HOT - For the first time all season, the Frogs didn't score on their opening drive last week against OSU, but made up for it in a big way, putting 21 points on the board in the span of four plays in the opening quarter. The quick starts have been a big key to the Frog's success this season, allowing them to get in to an early groove and giving the defense the freedom to play aggressively with the lead. TCU has not trailed yet this year, and has scored the first two TD's of each game as well. Continuing this streak will be crucial to their success tomorrow, as it will force Tech to go away from the run early and put the game squarely on the back of inconsistent quarterback Davis Webb, who has shown a propensity to make mistakes when he has to throw the ball a lot.
NO MAN LEFT (FREELY RUNNING) BEHIND - TCU made an excellent adjustment on the deep pass after getting torched by Baylor, and for the most part, did a bang up job of keeping the Cowboy's receivers in front of them on each play. The deep pass has been the achilles heel of the Frog secondary this season, but they seem to have tightened it up significantly in the last two weeks of practice. Tech has seven receivers averaging double digit yards per catch, with speedy sophomore Devin Lauderdale leading the group with 19.3 YPC (though on only 11 catches). Jakeem Grant is the best of the bunch, but his status is questionable after he was injured last weekend in a shooting incident at a party. Kingsbury has said he will play, but his effectiveness if so is certainly to be watched. It will be up to youngster Ranthony Texada and veterans Kevin White, Chris Hackett, and Sam Carter to shut down the explosive Tech O and ball hawk their way in to a pick or two (or three or more).
SPREAD IT AROUND SOME MORE - One of the most exciting aspects of the revamped offense is the fact that you really never know who's going to get the ball. Cumbie and Meacham have shown that they aren't afraid to run or pass out of any formation, or to give the ball to anyone who is open. And Trevone Boykin's ability to find that open player, regardless of their number, has been a major part of his development and success this season. Though Josh Doctson has become his favorite target, and for good reason, guys like Kolby Listenbee, Deante' Gray, Ty Slanina, and even Desmon White have shown big play ability after the catch, and given Boykin a lot of confidence in giving them the ball. As teams start paying more attention to Doctson, and I would imagine we will start seeing more double teams his direction, it will be important to continue to make the second and third read and focus on giving the ball to the guy that's open. We haven't seen much from some of the suspected big names in that group yet this season, but I predict a big play by Emanuel Porter or Ja'Juan Story tomorrow. The same is true for the running back committee - we have all been clamoring, it seems, to see Trevorris Johnson get the ball in short yardage and goal line situations, and when he has had the chance to do so, it's been effective. Getting the ball into Aaron Green's hands more continuing to feed the rock to B.J. Catalon, who had another impressive day last week, will provide balance to the O and keep Tech's D guessing. It also serves to note that Tech has been decent against the pass this season, so opening up that aspect of the offense with the run will certainly be needed.
HEISMAN TALK? WHAT HEISMAN TALK? - It seems a lot of the buzz around this team in the last week has focused on the future, the post season, and post season awards, specifically on Trevone Boykin's opportunities to spend some time in NYC as a Heisman finalist. I started this post saying the team needs to stay focused on the task at hand, and that goes double for Boykin. He has been outstanding this season, obviously, and if he continues to play at this high level, the post season accolades will come. Boykin seems like a humble, team-oriented kid (he has been willing to play just about every position on the field before cementing himself as the man behind center this season, after all) so there's no reason to think this will be an issue. For now, all that matters is winning games. When Boykin plays well, that seems to happen more often than not. He will need another big game at home on Saturday, and if that happens, he will stay in the conversation.
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