Manager's note: This week, we will be publishing trial posts from our FOW finalists. With over 60 applicants, thanks to those who sent an email. This piece is by Jack Thompson; enjoy!
Trevone Boykin set the bar pretty high for himself with his 2014 season, especially if you're defining a successful season based on his stats. As a reminder, here are some of his rankings in the Big 12 and nationally for 2014.
3,901 - Passing yards, 1st in Big 12, 9th nationally…
33 - Passing touchdowns, 1st in Big 12, 7th nationally…
300 - Yards per game, 2nd in Big 12, 9th nationally…
145.9 - QB Rating, 3rd in Big 12, 24th nationally…
If defining a successful season for Trevone is based on stats, then he must start with improving his QB rating. Of the last five Heisman Trophy winners, the 2014 and 2013 winners were ranked first nationally in QB rating. The 2011 and 2010 winners were second nationally. The only exception was the 2012 winner, Johnny Manziel, who was 24th in the nation in QB rating. Manziel won more on his football mojo than his stats, with his amazing scrambles and passes for touchdowns.
To improve his QB rating, Trevone must improve his completion percentage. It is reasonable to consider if he improves his completion rate, his passing yards will increase, and hopefully his number of touchdown passes will too. He will also need to decrease his number of interceptions. Andy Dalton finished the 2010 season with the fourth best QB rating in the nation. He increased his completion rating, though he did attempt fewer passes, his number of completions and he raised his number of touchdown passes and decreased his interceptions from 2009 to 2010.
The ingredients for better statistical year for Trevone are definitely in his favor. Boykin is entering his second year in the Frog Super Octane Offense. Having done as well as he and the rest offense did in the first year, the coaching staff will be able to add even more wrinkles to this offense. The offensive line, running backs and wide receivers will also increase Trevone’s ability to improve his stats.
The offensive line returns four of five starters from 2014. The line is very experienced and physical. They gave up the third fewest sacks in the Big 12 last year and that number should improve in the second year in this offense. Trevone should be able to get rid of the ball more quickly this year, which helps the offensive line and should decrease the number of sacks. Run blocking should be better as well and the Frogs finished third in rushing yards, touchdowns, yards per game and second in average yards per carry in 2014.
This brings us to the running backs. Aaron Green led the Frogs in rushing and should have an even better statistical season in 2015. The depth behind Green is solid, with the change of pace back and human bulldozer, Trevorris Johnson, the shifty and speedy Shaun Nixon and Kyle Hicks. These tailbacks will force defenses to respect the run and keep teams from focusing solely on the passing game and open some favorable match-ups for the receivers.
The receiving corps is going to be strong and fast again this year providing Trevone with multiple targets on every pass play. There are only so many defenders to go around and they can’t double-team every receiver.
Trevone should have improved stats this year from last season, which for some could mean a successful season. However, for most Frogs fans, what will define a successful season will be the same thing that they judged Andy Dalton, winning. It would be a safe bet to guess very few people base Andy’s successful 2010 season on his stats, but on the result TCU went 12-0 in the regular season and won the Rose Bowl. Boykin will be judged on if the Frogs win a conference championship, dropping the "co" from championship, and winning in the playoffs and the National Championship.
To win Trevone will need to have a good statistical year and that will help him in the running for the Heisman Trophy, which would be the icing on the cake if he were to win that too. But what really will be needed is his continued leadership maturity both on and off the field.
The Frogs schedule isn’t as favorable this year, with two Thursday games and one Friday game. TCU will be traveling to Lubbock, Stillwater, Ames, Manhattan and Norman, which are all tough places to play. The Friday game is against Baylor the day after Thanksgiving and will be on a short week after the Frogs play at Oklahoma. TCU didn’t play a game out of the State of Texas until November 1st last season. This season the Frogs start the year in Minnesota. Strong leadership is essential for Horned Frog success this year and the primary leader of the team will be the quarterback.
When the Frogs backs are against the wall and they need that first down or touchdown to win, Trevone is going to have to make the play. And he is going to have to be able to do that every game. As much as I hate to remember the Baylor game, that was the difference between winning and losing, making that one-first down to seal the game. I realize we can complain about the officiating all we want, but the bottom line is we didn’t win.
Trevone has the ability to be a great team leader; Frog fans saw that in his favorite play of the season last year in his leap and flip into the end zone for a touchdown against Kansas State. He should put up great numbers this year. And hopefully, on January 11, 2016, all TCU fans will say that Trevone Boykin had a successful season.