Niko has a chance to transform a really good TCU secondary into something truly special.
Niko Small is hardly the first Horned Frog most would think of when talking about breakout candidates. He finished third on the team in tackles last season (83), led TCU with nine pass breakups and hauled in two interceptions. He was also named defensive MVP of last season's Liberty Bowl. And yet, he still seems poised to do more this season. Head coach Gary Patterson was very impressed with Small this spring, and it could be argued that he stood out the most this offseason. Small is also advantaged by getting to work with Nick Orr, one of the best safeties in the Big 12. Orr and cornerback Ranthony Texada are the seniors of this secondary, but be prepared for Small to become the alpha.
Be prepared for an influx of Kenny Hill think pieces in the next two weeks.
FYI: mine drops Thursday.
For the last three seasons, Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie were TCU’s co-offensive coordinators. In the offseason, Meacham left to become the offensive coordinator at Kansas. Cumbie, a former Texas Tech quarterback, now shares coordinating TCU’s offense with Curtis Luper, who handles the running game.
Hill shrugged off the staff shuffle.
“There hasn’t been much different, but I think they’re doing that on purpose,” he said. “Just keep that same continuity. Just keep it simple and keep it flowing.”
Cumbie was on the Texas Tech staff when Hill was leading Texas high school powerhouse South Lake Carroll to a state championship.
“When I was at Texas Tech, I recruited the dog out of him,” Cumbie said. “We had him on our campus several times. I was very close to him and his family and recruited him as hard as I could.
“Sometimes it’s hard for kids to go through things, the adversity that he battled through leaving A&M and the microscope he was under there. He knows it was time for him to grow up and time for him to play at a high level and we fully expect him to.”
Well, let’s hope we don’t get 13 chances to see how he reacts come game time.
“I think Kenny is playing as well as we’ve ever seen him play,” Patterson said. “Now he’s just got to do it in a ballgame. That’s how everybody gets judged.”
Patterson likes to say he judges quarterbacks only on Saturdays, but he watches their responses in practice. He said Hill was intercepted in the last scrimmage and bounced back.
“It didn’t bother him,” he said. “He came back and did what he needed to do. Now he’s got to do that in a game, handle adversity. I think that’s what all the great quarterbacks do. You’ve got to handle adversity.”
Well... yeah. That’s what we do. We beat Texas.
It’s described as happening against a team that has “owned the players on the Texas roster” the past three years. It’s on the road, it happens in November, and it happens in overtime, Brown predicts. That’s right, he sees TCU beating the Longhorns again. They play Nov. 4 at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Chase, as you may recall, was widely expected to pick TCU before the NFL Network screwed the pooch. But, even after a shocking commitment to Florida, he hasn’t completely closed the door on the Frogs.
Chase expects to be at several LSU home football games this season, as well as some TCU games and contests at Florida. He’s ensuring he makes the right decision in the end, which means he has to see the Tigers’ offense in person and whether it matches his expectations.
“I didn’t want it to be out yet,” Chase said, of his unofficial visit in July. “When I go up there, I want it to be more of a surprise. But I’m going to their games and stuff. I’ll go to Florida games, TCU games, just going to games to go to games and to watch.”