1. What is biggest reason TCU fell flat in Tulsa this week?
Hawk: Is it enough to say that sometimes weird things happen in baseball? I didn’t watch either game (Australia) but to me this seems like a case of a team that was feeling pretty good about itself for winning the regular season championship and decided to coast a bit against a bad Baylor team and then didn’t play with the same level of desperation as a Texas Tech team that has a ton of talent and is trying to impress the selection committee.
Melissa: I just don't think it meant as much to them. They wrapped up the regular season title and felt confident they had a national seed locked up too. They played with no desperation or focus really. It may have been a wake up call - I don't think we see this version of TCU baseball next week.
Scott: I agree with a bit of both here and think that it’s half just what happens in baseball and half that the team may have been looking ahead a bit. It’s not every game where the clutch hits just aren’t there and you leave 10+ runners on base, plus the errors and issues with the bullpen are just so out of the ordinary for this team. The undefeated record when leading after 6, 7, and 8 innings reflects just how good this bullpen is and the law of averages in baseball combined with the mindset likely just finally caught up to the guys.
2. Now that the Conference Tournament is in the rear-view, how far does the baseball team have to go in order for you to consider this season a success?
Hawk: A team this loaded has always had only one goal- Omaha. Winning the regular season title in the Big 12 is a big deal, especially with the conference as loaded in baseball as it is, but in the end it won’t be much of a memory if this team doesn’t make it out of a super regional. The talent on this team is one that needs to not only make it to Omaha but to have some success there- I’m not necessarily asking for a title, but a very brief appearance like Texas Tech’s last year (0-2) would still leave me feeling like this team underachieved.
Melissa: Anything less than Omaha would be a disappointment. That isn't meant to take away from the incredible regular season they had that led to the conference title, but the team is too talented and too deep a group to not be willing to expect greatness. That being said, anything can happen but I would have to think the Frogs are a favorite to make it to the final rounds of play with the weapons they have and the way they have played (save this week).
Scott: I think that with the kind of year this team has had--one of the best in school history--the College World Series should definitely be the goal. I would personally like this team to end up with at least two wins in Omaha, which would likely mean getting to the Finals. They definitely have what it takes to get there; even if one of the starting pitchers has a rough day, the depth of the rotation and quality of the bullpen is hard to match up against in the grind that is the D1 postseason.
3. Which incoming freshman will have the most impact on the field this fall?
Hawk: With a team that’s as loaded on offense as the Frogs will be, it’s safe to say that any young contributors will be on the defensive side of the ball where graduation and a surprise early declarant hit us hard. Then there’s the fact that running the 4-2-5 as coach Patterson likes it takes time and repetitions, so I’m picking the position that generally sees the most impact from freshmen- Cornerback. And wouldn’t you know it, but TCU got an early enrollee at cornerback who was highly rated and highly recruited, turning down offers from FSU, LSU, Georgia and others to play for the Frogs. Mark me down as saying DeShawn Raymond will be playing significant time at the cornerback position this year, and may even be starting by the time the late season gauntlet rolls around.
Melissa: I am all in on Mike Freeze. For an early-enrollee freshman to step in and be named the starting linebacker for GP - even in the spring - means he has to be something special. He's a kid we might be talking about regularly for four years; and there aren't a lot of freshmen defenders that we have been able to say that about (Hi Devonte!). I also think that Kavonte Turpin could be a major wow factor guy on offense, but with so much experience on that side of the ball, it will be hard for a new guy to make waves.
Scott: From what I hear Freeze is going to do big things this year. We all know Patterson is pretty blunt when it comes to criticizing or complimenting position groups on the team, so to list Freeze as a #1 on the two-deep speaks volumes. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Patterson turns the LB corps into a LB-by-committee type situation similar to last year with Dawson, Mallett, and Anderson, at least until a more clear 1-2 starts to emerge.
4. Now that Kenny Hill is officially transferring, what do you think his role on the team will be both in 2015 and 2016? Would you put any stock into Patterson changing his position?
Hawk: In 2015 his role will be to learn the offense and, more importantly, keep his nose clean. Patterson is a man for second chances (particularly for quarterbacks, as I’m sure we all remember), but Hill is going to have to show that those wild days in College Station are behind him and he’s mature enough to take the field for the Frogs. In 2016, however, I think Hill may be the frontrunner to take over the quarterback position for the Frogs- he has experience in the system, he’s already had experience playing in big games and big venues (which Patterson loves) and he’s got a ton of talent. Of course, I could be way off, like many of us were when we heard a Texas A&M quarterback was transferring in last year, but this is a similar situation in that if one of TCU’s other quarterbacks is good enough to beat Hill out for the job, we’re going to have a really awesome quarterback in either case.
Melissa: Meh. Talk to me about Kenny when he suits up. For now, his job is to keep his name out of the papers, plain and simple. He will have a big battle in 2016 - no way that Foster and Mule roll over for him. And if he gets beat out? Then yes, I could see Patterson finding a different kind of role for him.
Scott: Trill will be back to a learning role in 2015, which seems like it might be exactly what he needs in his life right now. As for 2016--stop me if this sounds crazy--I think there’s an outside chance that Patterson is looking at him to fill one of the holes on defense for next year’s squad. If he was immediately eligible I would say suit him up at CB and see how he does opposite Texada, but with the youth at the position currently we should be well suited for the next few years (Corry O’Meally is the only upperclassman of the group and is currently listed as the backup). I know he wowed everyone during the first few games of the year at A&M, but there’s no guarantee he’ll show the same fireworks after his fall from grace (see: Pachall, Casey). One thing I know for certain is that this coaching will know how to get the best out of him so long as he puts forth the effort.