HawkeyedFrog: For me the word of the day is "Fun". TCU beat Samford in every phase of the game, and you know what? I had a lot of fun watching it, even with the fits and starts of our offense, it looked like the beginning of something that should be a lot of fun for the Frogs this year. Let's start with the surprising winner of the quarterback competition, Trevone Boykin. For each of the last two offseasons Gary Patterson has said that there was a real competition to see who would be the starter, and both times the TCU community has entirely written off any idea that Trevone Boykin would be the winner. His sophomore season it was more because everyone was just really high on Casey Pachall- Boykin had done okay filling in for Casey his first year and it wasn't unreasonable to think that he would be the quarterback of the future. Then the 2013 season happened, and again a quarterback competition was called, but this time the TCU fans buried the chances of Boykin winning in favor of someone that none of them see play- Boykin was just dreadful last year and as far as we were concerned just about anyone would be better. Then along came a new offensive coaching staff, and lo and behold, Boykin looked pretty good tonight. Not just throwing the ball, he's always been decent at that (see against LSU and Baylor in 2012), but he actually seemed confident of his grasp of the offense and refused to make a bad throw. Though there were a few reads where he would have benefited from going to his second option, and there were a few missed throws that could've been touchdowns, but I was impressed that he missed them the right way- that is to say, yes he overthrew or underthrew his receiver, but he overthrew away from the coverage, which is the biggest step forward for Boykin this year. Boykin completed 70% of his passes for over 300 yards for two touchdowns and no picks, picked up 30 yards on the ground despite eating two sacks for -22 yards. Apart from Boykin it's hard to single out offensive players, as Meachem and Cumbie spread the ball out in both passes and carries, but a special shoutout must go to Kolby Listenbee who hauled in two touchdown catches and had a 25 yards-per-catch clip. Most importantly though, Listenbee showed an ability to run right by absolutely anybody locked up with him, and even with safety help from the Bulldogs in some cases, Listenbee ended up behind everyone and only a slight miss in timing between he and Boykin kept him from touchdown plays that would have blown the game wide open. If he and Boykin get on the same page by Big 12 play, this offense is going to be absolutely frightening. Isn't that fun?
On the defensive side, the Frogs kept the bulldogs to 143 total yards on 67 plays, and with 32 coming on one blown wheel route coverage (shades of the SE LA game) to set up Samford's lone offensive score it's hard to find a sore spot on the TCU D. They were tough up the middle, swarmed to the ball on the outside and absolutely destroyed the quick passes that Samford tried to set up. Kevin White did an excellent job stepping into Jason Verrett's cleats and ended up almost decleating two Samford wideouts on the small handful of times they threw in his direction. The only issue is that the Frogs didn't get enough sacks for how many times they forced the Samford quarterback out on the move, but with an absolutely vanilla defensive gameplan you aren't going to see a whole lot of bit plays coming on the blitz. My take is that TCU's defense this year should be about as good as last year's, and if the offense continues to step up that could mean a lot of fun things in Fort Worth this season. Isn't that fun?
Jamie Plunkett: Ok, ok. So here's the deal. Boykin looked good. Great? No, but good? Yes. He missed some throws he should have made, but on the flip side, some receivers dropped some passes they should have caught. Probably the biggest drop came when Cameron Echols-Luper dropped one on his way into the endzone in the third quarter. However, you can't discredit 29-41 for 320 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Overall, I thought Boykin looked more confident, despite making some bad throws and staring down a few receivers. If he can figure that out, things will be ok.
I'd also like to give a shoutout to the running game, which looked like a true five-headed monster tonight. Catalon, Green, Hicks, Johnson and Boykin combined for 42 carries and 161 yards. BOLD PREDICTION: Trevorris Johnson will be the goal line back moving forward, and we'll see all four guys get serious looks.
And finally, the defense. Gary Patterson said in his post-game press conference that he told the defense at halftime that if Samford had over 100 yards rushing for the game (they had 83 at the half), TCU would be practicing in pads on Monday. Samford finished the game with 87 yards rushing. How about that for motivation? And let's talk defensive line, a unit that, led by Mike Tuaua, combined for 30 tackles, nine tackles for loss and two sacks (both by Tuaua, and both were sack/fumbles). Overall, TCU's defense allowed Samford to gain 12 yards of offense in the second half.
And now, a few quotes from the guys at the press conference:
"We get a chance to come back tomorrow and correct, and move forward"
"The one place we weren't very good at tonight, we weren't very good at third down. About half of those you aren't going to be very good on third and 15, I think one was third and forever, like 40 or something. You can't move backwards in this offense. It's not part of the deal."
On the defensive line: "I told them if they got over 100 yards on the ground we were going in pads tomorrow, and they ended up with 80-something so I guess we won't go in pads tomorrow."
On Boykin staying in the game through the third quarter: "Well I asked [The OCs] in the first half and the key was they weren't happy with Trevone with some throws and they wnted him to settle down in the middle of the second quarter, and they wanted more experience with it. I asked them what they wanted to do and that's what they based it off of."
On Mike Tuaua: "Mike gets off the ball well, and you know, he had stats last year."
On Tayo Fabuluje: "You can't hold 'em, you can't chop 'em. The key to it is is he played 77 plays and he's going to play himself into shape."
"We still have a lot to work on"
"Overall [Kolby Listenbee] had a pretty good game, it's probably going to be like that every week. He's probably one of the fastest guys in the Big 12 and people probably know that now, so hopefully he gets some respect."
On his performance: "Overall I'd say it was okay. We missed a few reads on third down and stuff like that. Stuff that can be easily corrected. Overall I'd say it was okay."
"Our one motivation coming out of two-a-days was that we finally get to hit somebody else. You get tired of banging on each other all week."
On the uniforms: "If you look good you play good."
On the chemistry of the linebackers: "Paul (Dawson), we're the two seniors and we took it upon ourselves to make sure that no matter who was in the game, and that our room has a special bond that nothing can come between. We try to keep the tone of practice up. We're trying to go out on a good note. We're trying to send the team out on a good note."
"Sacks and everything I have to give it to the d-line and the secondary. Man, if they didn't hold up the receivers and give me time to get back there, I wouldn't have had either of those."
"I was just really excited we got the W. I was pleased with the way we performed today."
"I was ready to hit someone else besides my teammates. You get tired of hitting the same people every day. Also it was the first home game at night. It was awesome having that feeling."
Tuaua couldn't give enough credit to the secondary for the way they played. He seems like a very humble kid with high energy. Keep an eye on him, you guys.
Go Frogs. Can't start better than 1-0.
CoachMelissa: I am neither one of those people that is going to get too high or too low after week one, regardless of the opponent. For me, the most important thing about yesterday was the result - getting a win. There are a lot of positives to take away from the victory over Samford, but the 48-14 score was exactly what it should have been - a dismantling of an overmatched lower division team. Like most fans, I was anxious to see what the new offense looked like, and in my opinion, it didn't disappoint. Misdirection, movement, quick decision making - it was impossible to be bored while watching the Frogs operate on the offensive side of the ball. The defense also didn't disappoint, as the hits kept coming on whatever QB Samford threw to the wolves (or this case Frogs), play after play.
I certainly will focus on the positives as we head in to the bye week and look ahead to a much better, though certainly not unbeatable opponent, two weeks from now. But there is plenty for GP and company to address in practice between now and then. My colleagues have well documented the minor concerns about Trevone Boykin's accuracy issues - the young man has an absolute cannon for an arm, and is often the case with young, strong armed QBs, he needs to learn how to take something off of his passes sometimes, which will cut down on the amount of high and overthrown balls. He did throw some beautiful deep balls on the evening, and in the early going, it seems that it's going to be tough to overthrow super speedsters like Kolby Listenbee, Ty Slanina, and the like. So I think that works itself out over the next few weeks. I love the way the smaller, speed guys were used last night, but I am hopeful that we find ways to get the big guys involved. David Porter was second on the team with five catches, and with 13 different players catching passes, it's hard to complain, but as we see better defenses, the mid range passing game will need to be better, and bigger receivers can take advantage of tighter coverage, opening up space for the speedier guys to work in the flat and the slot. Also, the blowout gave us our first look at freshman Desmon White, and yeah it was garbage time, and yeah he was working with the backup QB (we can all agree that's pretty obvious - at least until it's not), but that kid has some shimmy in him and the potential for trickeration with his skill set has me anxious to see more. Boykin was put in a position to succeed - the ball was out of his hands quickly and he wasn't left with time to over think. The O-Line... ehhh... I will have more to say about that a little later this week. They were ok.
Special teams provided some of the highs and lows of the night - Jaden Oberkrom seems to be just fine after some concerns about accuracy came up during fall camp. For those of us who have been around for a while, having a reliable, almost automatic leg like that is a welcome relief. Ethan Perry had a nice night as well, booming three punts 50+ yards and dropping two inside the 20. He had no issues getting the ball off, and his directional punting game was on point. But... the return game was giving me flashbacks to Skye Dawson. Ball security was not a top priority, as we fumbled and bumbled our way to a paltry 36 return yards on six attempts. Cam Echols-Luper, before he went down with what is hopefully not a serious injury, went five for 46 yards, well below last year's average of 12.4 yards per return. I wasn't able to tell from the stands, but I wonder if that has to do with Patterson playing so many young players on offense and defense, and not wanting to use them on the kick return team, for fear of injury. The blocking didn't seem terrible, but it obviously wasn't great, either.
The defense spent a lot of time in the backfield, and statistically dominated the Bulldogs. The best plays Samford ran all night were QB runs, and with the amount of athletic QBs in the Big 12 this year, their success last night does not bode well for the future. TCU will need to be more disciplined in keeping the QB in the pocket, and they will need to be quicker to contact. The coverage was great and the young corners stepped up when they needed to. Linebacker play was solid, as Marcus Mallet and Paul Dawson accounted for 19 total tackles. Mike Tuaua's play has been well documented here already, and deservedly so - he is looking like the next great defensive end for GP and Bumpas. On a side note, I met him at the TCU Women's Football Clinic, and he, along with Chucky Hunter, are as humble and engaging as any athlete I have seen in purple. I think Patterson and staff will work on QB contain a lot ahead of Minnesota, as Mitch Leidner is another guy that can get out and run in addition to being a capable thrower.
Ultimately - hey, we won. We won big. And we have two weeks to refine the game plan, clean up the miscues, and get ready for a Big Ten opponent. I'll take it. Go Frogs!
Keep checking this post, as the rest of the FoW staff will check in with their thoughts and analysis on TCU's first game of the season throughout the weekend.