Who is going to be the next star at safety for TCU?
Newcomers: Marvin Covington (Mansfield Lake Ridge High School, 5-11, 180), Abraham Camara (Coffeyville C.C. (Kan.), 6-0, 195), Da’Veawn Armstead (Central High School (La.), 6-0, 180), T.J. Carter (Memphis, 5-11, 190)
Biggest unanswered question: TCU loses two of the best safeties in the nation to the NFL draft. So, who will be filling the shoes of Moehrig and Washington as leaders in the secondary? Ranked as the Nos. 1 and 2 returning safeties in college football heading into the 2020 season, the two combined for 14 pass breakups and 55 solo tackles. Hodges-Tomlinson showed great promise at cornerback as a sophomore last year, starting every game and totaling 13 pass breakups on his way to a spot on the AP All-Big 12 first team. Expect to see more of safety Nook Bradford, who ranked fifth on the team in total tackles (44) and tackles for loss (6.5).
At some point, the improved play has to come, too.
But Dixon remains optimistic that his team will improve in the final weeks of the season. He has no concerns about his team’s morale or desire.
“I don’t see any change in us,” Dixon said. “We need them to be more physical, more aggressive, especially on the defensive end. That’s what we’re trying to get to. I’m certain we’ll come out and practice hard.
“I don’t feel any different. I’ve got some guys who are working really hard. I told them we’re going to be better on Saturday [at Iowa State]. I truly believe that.”
From a player’s perspective, junior guard RJ Nembhard agreed. The remaining games should be viewed as opportunities.
“You can’t sulk in losses. We’re in the toughest conference in America,” Nembhard said. “Those are big opportunities that we have to try to take advantage of.”
The effort was better Tuesday night, but it ended the same way.
“We need to be elite-level defensively to beat these kinds of teams and tonight we weren’t,” Dixon said. “Certainly the rebounds bear that out. The margin kind of fits what happens when you get outrebounded by eight.”
West Virginia (16-6, 9-4 Big 12) has won seven of its last nine. TCU (11-10, 4-8), meanwhile, has lost eight of its last 10 and dropped to 0-6 against ranked opponents this season.
The Mountaineers were led by Derek Culver, the Big 12’s top rebounder who had a game-high 14 rebounds on the night. Culver also scored 18 points. Taz Sherman led WVU in scoring with 23 points, including eight from the free throw line.
TCU’s leading scorer was junior guard RJ Nembhard, who finished with 17 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Junior center Kevin Samuel had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
An absolutely brutal stretch.
The Big 12 released an updated schedule on Tuesday afternoon with the Horned Frogs making up three of their five postponed games next week.
The Horned Frogs are scheduled to play at Texas Tech on Tuesday, March 2 at 6 p.m.; at West Virginia on Thursday, March 4 at 6 p.m.; and vs. Texas on Sunday, March 7 at 6 p.m.. All three games will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, the conference’s streaming service with ESPN.
Don’t sleep on the fighting Roditi’s!
SCOUTING TCU The No. 5 Horned Frogs are 7-2 overall after its 1-2 run at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships earlier this month, where TCU beat USC 4-3 in the final match of the event. TCU has four players ranked in singles — #21 Alastair Gray, #47 Luc Fomba, #113 Sander Jong and #125 Jacob Fearnley. In doubles, TCU has #15 Fearnley/Gray, #24 Jong/Paroulek and #53 Fomba/Kruger. In a series dating back to 1980, USC is 6-4 all-time against TCU after the Trojans’ loss at ITA Indoors.