Ian Boyd does a really good job of breaking down TCU - and he’s not wrong when he says they won’t be expected to be a contender in 2018. But... I think Gary Patterson quietly likes the makeup of his team, and they could surprise people.
Travin Howard was essentially a LB/S dime hybrid that brought a ton of flexibility to the defense.
Patterson’s 4-2-5 defense’ survival into the modern spread era depended on Howard’s ability to essentially be a cross between a box safety and a weak side LB. His replacement this coming fall could be Arico Evans, whom I haven’t seen a ton from, Montrel Wilson who was a fellow safety-convert from back in 2015 that has dealt with injuries the last few years and lost his spot to Summers, or Louisianan sophomore Garrett Wallow who’s a Patterson favorite and another safety convert. Good chance they end up turning to Wallow here but it’s worth noting that it took Howard at least a year and a half before he was Travin Howard.
Small? Sure. But he can flat out ball.
“I feel like my production cancels that out,” he said. “There are not many corners in the country that have produced like I have the past four years. I’ve covered some of the best receivers in the country.”
Texada has defended against seven of the top 26 receivers available in next week’s NFL draft, which will be April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. They include SMU’s Courtland Sutton, Oklahoma State’s James Washington and Iowa State’s Allen Lazard. He was the only freshman starter on TCU’s 12-1 team in 2014, and was named to Scout’s Freshman All-American team.
GP still has a reputation as a defensive genius all these years later.
“When Coach P got here, he transformed the whole program and turned it around,” Vongor said. “You see other coaches all around the country, going around basically chasing a contract, chasing a check. These coaches have been here for a long time.”
Patterson has amassed a 160-57 record at the helm of the Horned Frogs. And while it’s true he’s come close to taking other jobs — Tennessee, in particular, nearly poached him — he’s always returned to TCU. He’s well-compensated for it, but his value to the university is incalculable.
Vongor also highlighted how consistent Patterson’s teams have been defensively, which has to be a welcome sign for an elite defensive back recruit.
“They have a great defense every year, top of the Big 12,” Vongor said. “This is the place for me. I love the environment, it’s a great school — private school education. It’s the complete package.”
Without Baker and JJ, the Frogs have very little margin for error.
TCU has reached the postseason in 13 of the 14 previous seasons under Schlossnagle. The only year the Frogs missed was 2013 when they went 29-28 and 13-12 in their first season in the Big 12. TCU finished 107th in RPI that season.
With a decent showing in their last 20 regular-season games and in the Big 12 tournament, the Frogs may be able to rely somewhat on their reputation as a national power which has been to the past four College World Series. If not, their postseason fate will be out of their hands.
”I still believe it can happen,” Schlossnagle said. “Plenty of teams have grinded it out. It’s about this particular team reaching its potential. We have a ton of work to do to put ourselves in that position but we do have opportunities.”