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Keys to Victory: Next Man Up

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TCU will need all hands on deck, and possibly in the backfield, to beat the team from Waco Friday

Keys to the Game 02

Who will start at QB? Who is the backup running back? Do the Frogs have any healthy safeties? Will it matter? Here is how the Frogs can take down the team from Waco.

  1. All Wild Frog, All the Time: But seriously, let’s say the worst case scenario comes to fruition, and neither Shawn Robinson or Kenny Hill can go (I do not expect this to be the case). But, god forbid it is, it’s beyond crucial that Sonny Cumbie has a game plan that lets Grayson Muehlstein and whoever else is taking snaps succeed. TCU will have to throw the ball against Baylor a little bit (well, then again...) - the Mule has been in the program for four years now and should be capable of executing the game plan, as limited as it may be. All that being said, I am sure Patterson would still rather have a run-heavy game plan, but without anyone establishing themselves as a reliable #2 behind Kyle Hicks since Darius Anderson’s injury, that’s easier said than done. So, will we see Des White, a former DeSoto QB, line up in the backfield? Maybe more Turpin and Snell? Cumbie will have to dig deep to find answers.
  2. High and Tight: TCU put the ball on the ground approximately one bazillion times Saturday in Lubbock, and while it led to just one turnover, they have been playing with fire all season long when it comes to the fumble-itis. The Frogs have fumbled 27 times this season, losing seven, while Baylor has forced 14 and recovered eight. In a rivalry game, with so much on the line, and so many key pieces already missing, the Frogs can’t afford to give their opponent from Waco any momentum or advantage. And that means no turnovers and no field position advantages.
  3. TurpinTime: If the TCU offense is relying on a third string QB, the TCU defense and special teams have to step up. Cole Bunce has been everything the Frogs could ask for and more in filling in for the injured Jon Song, but poor Turpin has had very few chances to make opponents pay in the return game. KT didn’t get a single return against Tech, but the team from Waco may be a different story. Often, with young teams that don’t have a lot of depth, special teams suffer, and this seems true in this example. The team from Waco is allowing more than 25 yards per kick return and over 14 per punt; if TCU can get good starting field position, or maybe a score, in one of those areas, it takes a ton of pressure off of the offense.
  4. Give Them the D: The last key is THE key - this game will be won on the defensive side of the ball for the Horned Frogs. TCU has a serious advantage in the trenches, and the secondary matches up well, even with the injuries, against the team from Waco’s wide receiving corp (outside of Denzel Mims, who is a freak). The Frogs should absolutely dominate the trenches - they will likely take away the run game and force Charlie Brewer to go and win the game - something that he probably isn’t quite ready to do against a defense the caliber of Gary Patterson’s. Five sacks, near double-digit tackles for loss, and a couple of turnovers should be on GP’s Black Friday menu. If that is indeed the case, TCU - or the shell of what’s left after injuries decimated that side of the ball - should dominate in the same fashion they did against Texas.