Horned Frog football was back for the first time in 2019 and it felt really good...and then it felt a little discouraging...and then it was good again. Let’s jump into this one head first and break down what all was good, bad, and a couple of notes on the Quarterback play:
-Beer sales in the Carter - this one was a huge success and hearing reports that Amon G Carter stadium ran out of Coors and Miller Lite before the end of the second quarter was very encouraging. Got to say, that was a pretty elite beer drinking performance by the crowd.
-The new uniforms - They looked great in person and from what I heard, looked incredible on TV. Thank goodness the frogskin went the way of the do-do, and we no longer have to deal with that. Excited to see some other combinations and see which ones work better than others. The white/purple/white will never go out of style in my book, so I’m pretty content to keep that combo around for a long time.
-The new stadium additions - This is mainly talking about the new jumbotron that sits on one side of the stadium, as well as the new suites that are still under construction. Even though nobody is able to use these new suites yet, their addition makes the stadium feel so much different to me. It makes the Carter look bigger than it actually is (nice) and it helped the crowd with what little sun there was left by kick off. Of course the new screen speaks for itself. I was surprised at how crisp the quality of the picture was, and the sound system worked like a charm. I wonder if our Athletic Director will green light an away game watch party in the stadium at some point.
-The Defense - Now I could have a paragraph for each player that stood out to me on this side of the ball, but instead I’m just going to conglomerate them all here and condense my thoughts.
-Garrett Wallow should be renamed Mach 5, CAUSE THAT BOY CAN FLY. Number 30 was involved in just about every play on defense when he was on the field. He was flying to the ball/racing around tackles to get to the QB/showing linebacker speed that we haven’t had since Paul Dawson was at the position.
-Ochaun Mathis is a man. A BIG BAD MAN. While he didn’t record any sacks, he was making tackles and looking good while doing it. For someone that is listed at 6’5, 247, I cannot believe he was able to move as fast (specifically from side to side) as he did. He ended his first start of the season with 7 total tackles, 3 of which were solo.
-Kee’yon Stewart got to see some starting time at corner back due to Julius Lewis missing the game with an injury he sustained in practice. For the most part he didn’t do too bad, he did show that he was a freshman, but experience is the best thing to make him grow. With Noah Daniels most likely out for the year, we are going to need the next men up to get all the reps possible.
-Ross Blacklock appreciation sentence. That is all, very glad he is back!
-Tre Heights as a true number 2 receiver - This was really awesome to see. While it is still early and still too difficult to judge/predict how this will go throughout the season, but Tre Heights had a great game. Had he not fumbled on the goal line, we would probably be leading this article off talking about his performance. 8 receptions for 108 yards, showing flashes of good hands and his vertical speed. Reagor is of course the alpha dog of the group, but it is good to see that he might be getting some help this year.
-THE KICKING GAME - The TCU kicking game went a perfect 6/6 on the night, including a career high for Jonathan Song as the senior booted 5 field goals in 3 quarters of work, and Griffin Kell came in and hit another one through the uprights late in the 4th quarter.
-The fumbles - This made me want to pull my hair out of my head because I know we are better coached than that. Chalk it up to the team being a bit rusty or just being a little mentally checked out, whatever you want, but this was not good to see. If our offense is going to play like it did on Saturday and we give the ball away that many times too, we are going to be in for a long season.
The team fumbled a total of 7 times, and thankfully only lost 2. Patterson talked about Reagor needing time crisp up that area and how not every play needs to be a big play. He knows it, and hopefully this will be an area we focus on in practice over the next two weeks.
-Horizontal plays in general - I don’t hate screen passes as much as most people seem to, but I hope that we try and push the ball downfield more on a regular basis. I can only imagine that we were running a vanilla offense and didn’t want to show too much for upcoming opponents to study. Still, when our screens just weren’t working - for a number of reasons - I would like for us to try and take a different approach on the next drive.
The Rational Quarterback Analysis Manifesto:
I didn’t want to put this section under the good or bad and I wanted to save it for towards the end. It is so tough to have any definitive take aways from this game when it comes to the quarterback position (unless you are overreacting that is). We were running mostly basic stuff, it was the first game of the season, all of the fumbles and reviews made it very difficult to establish a rhythm and string together consecutive good drives, and we didn’t run a lot of play action.
Now with all of the above being said, here is what I was able to glean from Saturday’s performance with regards to the quarterback:
-Delton is not going to be a consistently accurate quarterback. This is not something that we didn’t already know. We knew accuracy wasn’t his strong suit, and trying to call shorter quicker passes to get him comfortable is probably the plan for him going forward. He had what was to be honest, a concerning under throw to the inside of the receiver when we were driving down to the end zone.
-Delton has incredibly play making ability with his legs. Weirdly this was one of the only times that I can remember when I preferred my quarterback run out of the pocket than stay in it. After a single game, I like Delton better when he’s running around looking for receivers to get open where he can also take off. Compare that to him staring down one receiver and then under throwing him...well I’ll just leave it at that.
-Duggan is the more accurate of the two quarterbacks that played tonight. Whereas Delton was hitting receivers at the knees with some of his passes (especially the screens), Duggan was hitting them with speed and right in the numbers most of the times. There were a couple of hiccups here and there, but overall when Duggan completed his passes they were right on the money.
-We do not know what the offense is really going to look like until probably after Purdue. We didn’t have any complex blocking schemes, we didn’t run Darius Anderson a ton (who I imagine will be our leader in carriers by the end of the season if he stays healthy), and from what I could tell it was a lot of basic routes from the WR’s. If Delton does stay the full time starter then I have to imagine we run some similar stuff to what he did at Kansas State. I picture a lot more designed QB runs and maybe some pop passes in the red zone. He’s not going to be an awesome air raid guy, so I have to believe that the offense will change to suit his strengths.
-There should be on rush on Duggan, but if he is the guy then let him go with the 1’s. The thing that makes this difficult to judge for me, is that if Tre Heights wouldn’t have fumbled the ball on one of Delton’s earlier drives and Derius Davis doesn’t let a pass go right through his hands then Delton is probably responsible for 2 touchdowns on the night. When he was good, other players made mistakes. Which is why I just can’t make a final verdict on Delton right now. I can feel the pitchforks and torches from the fans that want Duggan to start now. Which, see my opinion on that in the first sentence of this paragraph, but let me just see how he does with more than one game. It’s truly the hardest thing to ask for from a fan base that wants to win now, but patience is what we need.
Play of the Game:
This one wasn’t that hard to come up with, and while I really wanted to give TCU’s first interception which was a beautiful tip drill interception by Ar’Darius Washington - I have to give it to the Duggan Dime to Reagor (trade mark pending on Duggan Dime).
Speed kills, @TheJalenReagor.#USALLIN alumnus Jalen Reagor notched 5 catches for 71 yards and this TD last night to move into 3rd all-time on @TCUFootball’s receiving touchdowns list! pic.twitter.com/xrKTPJjJyB— U.S. National Football Team (@USNFT) September 1, 2019
Dropped it in the basket and number one did the rest.
Next week - BYE
Thank goodness our team has two weeks to work out the kinks before heading up to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers in a night time showdown. This team better be fast learners cause there isn’t much time left to start showing us what they can compete this season.