The defense is still TCU’s calling card.
Since TCU has joined the Big 12, it’s had one of the better defenses in the conference. And it’s more of the same so far this year for the Horned Frogs.
They’re second in the conference in yards allowed per game with 330 yards surrendered.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said the thing that makes the defense so successful is elite team speed.
“(TCU coach Gary Patterson) does such a great job of recruiting with a plan of moving guys within his defensive structure so their speed and athleticism can really show,” Campbell said. “When you turn the video tape on and watch them play — I jokingly said this — it’s almost like you’re watching them on fast forward. They know where they need to be, they’re gap sound and he’s adapted his defense to allow that speed and that athleticism to really show up.”
Turp nearly won the game for the Frogs by himself a season ago, and now the Cyclones have a game-breaker, too.
“You know the reason TCU made it a game against us last year, was because they got a kickoff return.”
I know — TCU’s KaVontae Turpin returned the second half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the Cyclones’ 14-7 win. I also know that, absent a consistent offense thus far, one surefire way for the Cyclones to hang with the Horned Frogs during Saturday’s 6 p.m. game in Fort Worth is the continued successful return of Nwangwu — the kick returner.
The lightning-quick sophomore flashed a glimpse of his spectacular true freshman season with 47-yard return last Saturday against Akron. The Cyclones’ offense started on the Zips’ 49-yard line. The drive ended with Zeb Noland and Butler hooking up on a 24-yard touchdown play.
“That was a huge point in the football game,” coach Matt Campbell said. “Kene can be a catalyst in a lot of ways.”
The D has to find a way to make big plays.
It won’t be easy against Iowa State. The Cyclones have turned the ball over just four times this season. When TCU played at Iowa State last season, the Frogs forced just one takeaway, an interception by Jeff Gladney, compared to three forced by the Cyclones.
It’s an area that TCU knows it must improve upon, though.
“It’s just something that we just have to be better at as a defense, working at it just to help our offense out,” said linebacker Garret Wallow, who leads the team with 28 tackles.
“It’s not as much of a frustrating thing. It’s just something that we know it’s another step that we have to take to give ourselves ability to win games.”
Phil Taylor was an amazing human being who just happened to play football.
“He was always the consummate teammate,” said Craig. “Everybody needs a Phil in their life.”
Taylor was an assistant coach at the Prince of Peace Christian School in Carrollton, Texas, until his death. He led the middle school team to a record of 6-3 last fall.
Taylor’s strength in the face of a diagnosis that was likely terminal epitomized who he was, said Ashlea Bullington, a fellow TCU sports broadcasting graduate.
Just about a month away!
The goal is for Fisher to be ready to play the entire season even if it means being overly cautious with him in the early parts of the season.
“Facts, facts, facts. I should be ready for the opener, not like I’m coming back for opener, but I should be ready by opener,” Fisher said. “Physically, I’m getting better every day.”
Fisher, TCU’s highest-ranked recruit ever, has battled injuries his entire career. Along with a torn meniscus in his right knee last January, Fisher tore the meniscus in his left knee before last season. He also broke his left wrist in the NIT tournament his freshman season.
Fisher is confident he’ll bounce back, and so is coach Jamie Dixon.
“It is what it is. He’s obviously had a series of injuries unlike anybody I’ve ever seen,” Dixon said. “But he’s come back and he’s stronger each time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it again.”