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Keys to the Game: Your guess is as good as mine

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The things that need to change aren’t complicated, but instituting them has been.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, this column feels like a broken record:

Tackle better.

Have an offensive game plan that makes sense.

Feed Zach.

Max needs to be efficient.

The formula to get the Horned Frogs off the schneid and back into the win column isn’t a complicated one, and yet it has felt awfully elusive over the past two weeks. And heading into a night game in West Texas?

Well, I guess we will find out.

Here are a few things I want to see happen Saturday night at Texas Tech.

What is up with Evans?

Whether he’s too tired, they’re saving him for next season, or something else is going on, only Zach and GP actually know. But whatever is keeping the Frogs’ five star running back from leading the team in touches on a week by week bases needs to change.

Zach Evans is not only the best running back on the roster, he’s the best player on the team.

PERIOD.

And not letting your best player control the tempo of the game is a traveshamockery.

I don’t want to run the sophomore into the ground, but an elite athlete who happens to be a scant 19ish years of age should be able to handle 20-22 touches without needing an IV. The weather should be relatively pleasant and the Tech defense isn’t super elite, so TCU should be about out of excuses for not getting Evans the ball.

If he doesn’t tote the rock 20 times, we riot.

What does the QB do well?

After forcing the deep ball through the first three games of the season with little to show for it, the Jerry Kill/Doug Meacham braintrust listened to the critics and called a game that set Max up with makable throws in the middle of the field.

And he consistently put the ball in the dirt.

Yes, the offensive line wasn’t great, again, Saturday against Texas, but Duggan is either seeing ghosts, dealing with some kind of injury, or isn’t getting it done on the field. He throws a beautiful deep ball — unfortunately, he doesn’t throw it TO anyone. And, though his strength is supposed to be the intermediate game, well, that didn’t show up last week, either.

The coaches need to figure out how to put Duggan in a position to succeed, they need to save his legs until late game situations, and they need to remember how damn good this receiving corp is and get them involved.

The offense, though not elite, should be a lot better than it has been. And if the Frogs can’t get it going against Texas Tech, what team — other than Kansas — will they find success against?

Who are the Horned Frogs?

Leading up to the SMU game, Gary Patterson said his guys didn’t practice well.

Leading up to Texas, well, the effort was there, but there were a ton of mental and coaching errors that feel inexcusable come week five.

We are not used to see Gary Patterson coached teams look lost, but honestly, that’s as big a problem as anything with TCU Football this season. When you have to put your best cornerback at safety because you are so desperate to have communication and institutional knowledge in the secondary, well, problems are afoot.

This is a team that doesn’t consistently play with high effort, especially on defense, that doesn’t seem to be comfortable in the scheme or playbook, that does things like have nine men on the field for a punt or 12 men coming out of a timeout. The mental errors, on top of the physical ones, turn a potentially good team into an also ran. And fast.

It feels like this is the game where the rubber meets the road: if TCU can’t win Saturday, albeit on the road, the path to bowl eligibility gets really mucked up.

And if the Frogs can’t make a bowl game in 2021, a season that held all the promise in the world, well...

The struggle will be very real.