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Mailbag Answers: Baseball Lineups, GP’s Next Move (?), Basketball Crootin’

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You had questions, we have answers.

Saturday Mailbag

Y’all brought it with the questions yesterday, as our awesome readers covered everything from baseball to GP, dynasties to the hardwood. So, let’s dive right in!

O/U 40 victories by the end of the B12 tourney in baseball in 2018. What you got? - Emperor Purpletine

Your full roster preview is coming later today, where we will take a closer look at some of the new names and faces on the roster. There is a ton of turnover of the roster, which includes 15 new faces, but still plenty of familiar faces returning - including superstars Luken Baker and Jared Janczak. TCU still has the best pitching in the conference, and assuming some of the young players/transfers pan out, should be at least as effective an offense as a season ago. All that being said, I’m taking the over. The Frogs will face tough competition across the Big 12, including Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas, and OU. But they are still a league contender and have a great chance to host in at least the Regionals.

Replacing 400 starts from last season (Skoug/Warner/Merrill/Barz/Brown/Wade)

Who does it and how? My guess would be….

Sure things:

C – Zumphries

1B – Luken

LF – IBM

RF – Con-Wan

New regulars:

SS – Oviedo is consensus right?

2B – Kobe! Boulware

CF – RJ Lan? That would make up a relatively slow (but powerful) outfield. Perhaps Czerniejewski

3B – LAN-DESTROY

- Frogress

Going to continue to pump my roster preview, because... well, why wouldn’t I, but you are pretty close on your starting lineup. Oviedo has been super impressive, but I like the makeup of JC SS Danny Crews, and think he will steal some innings as well. Another name to watch from the juco ranks is Conner Shepherd, who projects to start at third, and Oregon grad transfer AJ Balta at DH. Johnny Rizer, out of Blinn College, likely gets the nod at center. Landestoy has carved out a great role as a utility infielder and defensive replacement, and while his bat is too inconsistent to start right now, he will be first in line should Schloss need a spark.

As much as I hate to broach it here:

Given increasing exposure of GPs greatness as a strategist and coach (i.e. ESPN Film Room ), which 2 or 3 schools not currently associated with a Swinney, Saban, or Meyer do you think would have a better chance than not of luring Patterson away? - FrogsvilleTN

I think GP is a TCU lifer at this point. Time and time again, he has made it clear that he doesn’t want to die on the sideline, but wants to live life after his football life is over. And with his recent contract extension, one that takes him to 2024, there’s reason to think that could be when he retires. I think Bama was always intriguing to him, and maybe even Texas to a degree, but GP has a good thing going in Fort Worth, and knows it. That being said, I could absolutely see him doing TV once his sideline duty is done, and would welcome it whenever he steps away.

or... in other words... what/who would it take to steal GP away, or is he already resigned to retiring from TCU?

Good question, which is why we’ve discussed it so often around here. Given Gary’s age and intent to retire not too long off… would any other school even want him “briefly”? To expand on this a bit… given CDC’s recent departure… who would be deciding on Gary’s replacement here? Do you think we’d look for a Gary clone (they are rare), or go in a different direction strategy-wise? Many tout Cumbie, but he’s an offensive guy… nothing like the defensive guru of Garyism. - FrogLiquor

I think it’s widely assumed that Cumbie is the heir-apparent, but he obviously has a long way to go to be ready to run a program as the lead dog. GP has made a concerted effort to bring back several former players, including guys like Zarnell Fitch and Jason Phillips. To me, it feels like he’s building a foundation on his legacy, so when he does step away, the contingency plan is strong. I also would keep an eye on Justin Fuente, currently at Virginia Tech, who would be a strong candidate to return to Fort Worth, if he so desired. Any hire would be made by the AD at the time, currently Jeremiah Donati, and the Chancellor, currently Victor Boschini, would also play a significant role. Patterson has been in Fort Worth so long though, it’s not crazy to think his contract could outlive either.

Given the success and exposure our program has been getting, who do you think are some targets we could get going in to next season? I saw where Feron Hunt flipped to SMU, so we should have at least one or two more scholarships to use for next year. - Ayyo_The_Horned_Frogs

Feron Hunt was a numbers game - Dixon out-recruited him and allowed him to explore his options. Things are pretty good in Fort Worth when a player the caliber of Hunt is given the high sign to look around. The Frogs have just three scholarship seniors this year, Kenrich Williams, Ahmed Hamdy and Vladimir Brodziansky, and barring anything unexpected, should return ten players next season - including redshirts RJ Nembhard, Kevin Samuel, Lat Mayen, and Angus McWilliam. There are three players signed in 2018, four star forward Kaden Archie, four star forward Kendric Davis, and three star center Russell Barlow (who I think is underrated). I am sure TCU could make room for another player, probably a transfer like Corey Manigault, but where we should see a real change is 2019. Dixon has offers out to several five star players that have TCU among their top choices, including intriguing guard Josh Green.

“for the greater good of sports?”

Speaking generally… we only rarely get any sports team (college or pro) who dominate for a prolonged period. Currently, you can point to the NFL Patriots, or college football Alabama, or UConn women’s BkB. The past brings up legendary teams like Notre Dame football, UCLA & Jordan’s Bulls in basketball, Montreal hockey, and soccer’s Man U or Brazil . But how good are they for the sport in general? The BCS/CFP have been widely damned for their perceived biases. There was serious talk once about breaking up the Yankees for the good of baseball.

So, I’d like to hear others’ takes on these sporting excesses… how long can any one team dominate before its a real problem? Is Bama’s run a self-sustaining inevitability? - FrogLiquor

The general rule is that the traditional powers having success is good for everyone, and I agree to a point. Having Texas and Oklahoma be competitive is good for the Big 12, and thus, good for schools like TCU. Having schools like USC, Notre Dame, and Florida in the Top 25 is good, but having Alabama dominate to the degree they have less so - mostly because the way Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Vandy consider the Tide’s success their own.

“for the greater good of TCU sports reporting”

speaking of legendary… How do we go about getting more Hawkeyed Frog articles? - FrogLiquor

Someone needs to get inside the Upside Down and reset the routers in Australia.

4 Baseball B12 Titles (2 Regular Season, 2 Tournament), 1 Football B12 Title (co-whatever), 4 Men’s Tennis B12 titles (2 Regular Season, 2 Tournament), 9 total (& tied with our expansion WVUbuddies). Are we where we want to be/are we on track? Where is a title we should expect in the next 2-3 years and where is a title we will land that’s a surprise in the next 2-3 years (or is 2-3 years to win another B12 title a tad optimistic)?

Will LHCDC (of the del conte variety) help ensure 2024 TCU (assuming continued success) will land with the Horned Cows (of the long variety)? Why would he and why would he not? - mountainmanjim

I think Baseball or Football could breakthrough in the next few years; baseball has been so close so many times, and Schloss seems to reload, not rebuild. Football is finally recruiting at a level to match GP’s coaching acumen, and though it might be the hardest sport to win in right now, the Frogs can certainly get it done before Patterson rides off into the sunset. Basketball could go on a run sooner rather than later, but I am not sure they’ll be at ‘win it all’ status that soon. That being said, at least one Big 12 title from the Big Three in the next 2-3 years isn’t at all unrealistic. Keep your eye on women’s soccer, volleyball, and of course, rifle, as dark horse contenders though.

As far as CDC, I would be shocked if he wasn’t a huge TCU ally when realignment comes around again. He didn’t seem to leave with any bad blood, and has the respect of the coaches across campus. The biggest obstacle is politics, not CDC, as Texas Tech might get drug along with the Horns as another big state school.