I wish I could say that I am surprised, but truly I am not. This team has been inconsistent all year, and this is what happens when you have an inconsistent team. You go 6-6/5-7/end up fighting in the last week of the season to make a bowl game.
We should have known after the 1st game how inconsistent we were going to be, but I mean hindsight is 2020...so let’s not beat ourselves up too much.
All season long, here are all of the places that I was able to spot where the team was inconsistent:
-Offensive line (outside of Lucas Niang)
-Wide receiver - drops plagued us all year long.
-Quarterback play - true freshman, what are you going to do (won’t be able to make that excuse next year).
-Offensive play calling - you have heard this tune all year.
-Handling of the QB position - we waited until week 3 to make Max the official QB1, and even then we kept putting in Delton. The latter of which left the program midway through his final year of eligibility, for reasons I am unaware of.
-Defensive Ends - We finished the season with 22 sacks as an entire team. That includes, LB’s, safeties, corners, and defensive ends. Last year Ben Banogu had 8.5 sacks by himself. We were never able to consistently generate pressure around the end and had our secondary not stepped up late in the season then things could have been very VERY bad.
-Giving Darius the ball - DA, who was touted as being healthier, and in the best running shape that he has ever been in before the season started, was given the ball on the ground a total of 158 times this season. Aaron Green, his senior year - when was here with Josh Doctson and Trevone Boykin (Crowded room of playmakers) got the ball 244 times. Anderson finished his final year with 823 yards rushing and 6 rushing touchdowns. I can’t. I just can’t. Of all of the things that was inconsistent, this one made me the most mad probably all season long. Anderson was 1a or 1b best offensive playmaker on our team, and we let him run the ball 13 times per game. What the actual @#&$!*# were we doing. Was he hurt? Was he not good in practice? I don’t know, but what I do know is that when he got the ball good things tend to happen - he kept us in the game against SMU for example - but we just seemed to move away from him as the season went on. Darius, you brought me so much joy as a Frog and I hope you are so successful at whatever you do next.
Now, after that bleak and frustrating filled intro we’re going to switch it up a bit. I listed the bad/inconsistent for the season above, so let’s try and list some of the good that shined through this down season for TCU:
-Beating Texas - Undoubtedly the highlight of the season, unfortunately the highlight of the season included beating a team that finished 7-5. That being said, it was homecoming weekend, the crowd was loud, and the eyes of Texas were filled with tears.
-The hope of a consistent QB for the future - while Duggan is likely nowhere near a finished product, he showed how dynamic he can be with his legs, while also showing his potential to be really accurate and maybe even great with his arm. He’s got some growing to do this offseason, as does the whole team, but he showed enough to me this year to not think he’s going to be outright bad.
-The secondary - Oh God bless this unit. When we lost Lewis, Van Zandt, and Gaines pretty on, we needed new players to step up and my goodness did they. Trevone Moehrig emerged as one of the best safeties in the country and made plays every single week. Ar’Darius Washington had a team high 5 interceptions on the season, Jeff Gladney was very consistent and never made life easy for whoever line up across from him.
-Garrett Wallow - the true leader of the defense, the guy flies from sideline to sideline, and was just everywhere on the field. He lead the team in tackles with 125 tackles, 77 of which were solo. His stock is continuing to go up, and if he continues to get better, he will be an elite presence on the field next year.
-Ross Blacklock - If you’ve been reading these articles from me every week you know by now that I adore Blacklock. His worst play on the season was in the last game where he had a foolish targeting penalty, which he himself knew right away was a huge mistake. If you were to tell me that sentence above was someone’s biggest negative from the football team, I’d immediately respond with “oh that’s not bad at all”. Blacklock was a great anchor all year and blocked lanes and closed in on quarterbacks up the middle.
-Not getting blown out - In vintage TCU fashion under Gary Patterson, the Frogs only lost by more than one possession ONCE in our seven (HAH) losses. That was a 25 point loss to Iowa State up in Ames against a peaking and pissed off Cyclones team. Other than that, TCU lost all of their games by a touchdown or less. That’s pretty impressive (losing all of those is not but I digress) to not get blown out and make every game a close fight. Teams that play in close games TYPICALLY tend to trend upwards the following year, but only time will tell with this team.
-The Uniforms - Every week I was pretty much smitten by the new uniforms. I particularly ADORED the combo we wore against Tech on the road, and am glad we are back to implementing purple in the away combos.
-The Carter additions - I know they aren’t done yet, but man do those new box seats really make the Carter look totally different - in the best way possible. Looking forward to seeing the renovation be complete.
The Final Rational Quarterback Analysis Manifesto
Well, thank goodness. It’s over. Here is what we know after seeing a full season of Duggan:
-He was prone to dumb decisions from time to time
-He can keep plays alive with his legs
-He has game breaking speed when he runs in open space
-He has the strength to throw bullets and chuck it deep
-His receivers dropped a lot of balls
-This offense loved to find itself in 3rd and longs a ton this season
-Did not use play action enough
-He is a true freshman and had some growing to do
-Wasn’t even listed as the starting QB at the beginning of the season
-Had an offensive line that liked to false start and totally miss defenders from time to time
-Needs to work on his touch
That is basically the cliff notes version of our quarterback experience in the year 2019. Duggan is by no means as good as he is going to be in the future. I’m pretty optimistic that he will get better next year, especially when he’s in an offense that is clearly designed for him from the get go. That being said, I’m not going to be able to make the excuse that “he’s a freshman” next year. He has to improve, get better at adding touch to his throws, making better decisions (that second interception against WVU was one of the worst decisions I have seen in some time) and he needs to learn to throw the ball away.
All that being said, if he takes off with his legs more often next year he can easily rack up 700+ yards through next season. He’s got the speed, and he has shown to be pretty durable to where he can take hits. He is dynamic and it always seems like he can make something out of nothing. Even when his OL breaks down he showed flashes of being an elite playmaker outside of the pocket. He’s got some stuff to work on, but the moxie is there. Excited to see him in year 3 and 4. I absolutely think that he will be playing in a conference championship game before his time here is through...but the OC’s, offensive line, and WR’s have to throw him a bone.
Play of the Week:
Easy. Jalen Reagor reminded the WVU special teams who daddy was:
We already know about #TCU WR Jalen Reagor’s ability as a receiver, but his value as a return specialist will help him a lot on the next level.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) November 29, 2019
The long night begins. Let’s hope that some positive things are just around the corner for this squad.
It’s been real.
It’s been fun.
It’s been real fun.
See you all in 2020.