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Frog Film Room: A Different Slant

TCU has two of the best outside receivers in the game, in seniors Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee. But it's what the Frogs do with the slot that makes their offense so hard to defend.

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The Frogs got off to a bit of a slow start against SMU on the road in 2014, as Boykin misfired on a couple passes and the running game took a bit to get going. But once they put their foot on the gas, they didn't slow down, en route to a 56-0 thrashing. TCU will see a different horse on Saturday, as the new look #PonyUpTempo offense rolls in to Funky Town, driven by new head coach and offensive guru Chad Morris. With the defense taking another hit against SFA, you can bet the TCU O will be looking to shoot the fireworks off in bunches in the first half against an SMU team that has improved on one side of the ball, but still has a subpar D. Let's take a closer look at how Cumbie and Meacham will look to attack the middle of the field and put the Frogs in front early.

The Frogs use three receiver sets on most of their offensive plays, often employing an H back or a slot man out of the backfield as well, in lieu of a tight end. So much of the air raid offense is predicated on getting the ball out of the QBs hands quickly, so having the extra blocking tight end on the line of scrimmage isn't as crucial.

Here, on second and five, the Frogs line up in the empty set, with trips right and two receivers split out left. Deante' Gray, lined up in the slot, is given a huge cushion by the SMU defender, who is rightly concerned about his speed.

A slight stutter step before his break on the in route buys him some space, and a good pick by Ty Slanina gives him room to operate. All of the sudden, a short catch becomes a 30+ yard touchdown, and the Frogs are on the board for the third time of the day.

After a Boykin rushing touchdown, the Frogs would strike through the air for seven again early in the third quarter, after a big punt return. TCU would pull a tight end in to the backfield along with a running back, looking at a heavy set with only two split out to the left side.

With TCU inside the ten and knocking on the door of the goal line, the Ponies are forced to respect the running game, putting eight in the box to counteract the extra blocker in the backfield alongside Boykin and BJ Catalon. This time, Gray takes his route outside with a corner post, and Boykin makes the easy toss for a score.

Touchdown number seven comes from the slot as well, as then true freshman Desmon White gets in on the action. With another empty set employed, White is in the slot on the trips side, and drops in for a screen on the snap. Just look at the blocking:

That's a walk in score for #10.

Overall, the inside receivers for the Frogs would be good for 14 receptions, amassing 150 yards and three scores. Much of their work was done after the catch, with open field space provided by the attention given to Listenbee and Doctson on the outside. With Deante' Gray yet to take a snap, and Desmon White not seeing the field Saturday (for unknown reasons), the job of filling the role of game breaker in the middle of the field will fall to true freshman KaVontae Turpin, junior Ty Slanina, sophomore Emanuel Porter, and quite possibly redshirt freshman Shaun Nixon - who had seen a lot of action at receiver before being dinged in the first half Saturday against SFA. For the Frogs to have success with the big plays on the outside, they have to first do the damage in the middle. Cumbie and Meacham are masters at collapsing a D inside before going for the kill shot deep and wide. With SMU hoping to outscore their terrible defense Saturday, and the Frogs needing to protect a depleted D of their own, points will be at a premium on both sides. While I think TCU has the advantage in several areas, none may be bigger than the smaller guys - those that play on the inside.