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Friday Mailbag: It’s Here

In this photo illustration the United States Postal Service... Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We are one day away from TCU football, folks. I hope you’re all wearing your purple today, doing just enough work to not get into trouble, and mentally preparing for the hammer TCU is going to put down on Duquesne tomorrow night at The Carter.

You all got your questions in for the mailbag on Tuesday, and some even sent some in on Twitter. This was a great batch of questions, so let’s dive in!

Q From Riff ram ba ssoon: There was so much hype about Alex [Honig] coming in from Germany. What is his status and how well is he doing? Where does he fit in on the depth chart? How good is Sam Jackson?

Honig is coming along just fine, but is pretty far down the depth chart at this point. With Max, Matthew Downing, and Chandler Morris the decided top three, Honig and Jackson are battling it out for that fourth position. Right now it appears as Jackson has the lead in that regard, but that’s less of a comment on how well Honig is doing and more about how well Jackson has transitioned from high school to college.

Q from D PO 72: What [whiskey] do you suggest for pre-game, during game and VICTORY bourbons?

I have a few different bottles in my cabinet right now - I’m a big fan of Bulleit, which is one of my regular go-to bourbons, also a big fan of Eagle Rare and Angel’s Envy. The top of the top, though, for any celebration, is Blanton’s. Impossible to find by the bottle in Texas, but pretty readily available if you’re out and about at a nice restaurant or bar.

Q from Bakai: Is there a clear indicator which shows why the offensive line is better than last year, e.g. number of starts?

I think the clearest indicator of an improved offensive line is the presence of Obinna Eze. Left tackle was an issue for TCU in 2020, and Eze comes in to shore up that weak point. Combine that with another year under Coker’s belt at right tackle, Steve Avila growing into his role at center, and you have the makings of a great foundation at OL.

And look, I was highly critical of this unit - and its coach - last season. But I’m willing to give it another run this year with the addition of Eze. Hope springs eternal.

Q from Doug_Redgrave (Twitter): I’m scared that poor O-Line play could mean that our talent at the offensive skill positions could be irrelevant. What can you tell me about the O-Line to give me hope that their play will be improved and allow our offense to shine?

Continuing where I was above - it’s totally reasonable to still be concerned about the offensive line. John Lanz and Coy McMillon will be the starting guards this weekend against Duquesne (Wes Harris is out with an injury), and this will be a good opportunity for the line to build some in-game continuity with one another.

Add that to the fact that these tackles have been going up against, and holding their own against, a very, very good TCU defensive line in practice, and that gives me confidence heading into the season.

This offensive line doesn’t have to be elite - they just have to exist long enough for Max to comfortably get rid of the ball.

Q from FunkytownFrog: SMU revealed they are wearing their “Dallas” unis in their game against TCU. Most interestingly, their blue ones. Does that mean we see a color v color matchup, or TCU in white at home? And when are we gonna get a “Fort Worth” set for this game?

Look, I have been having an internal struggle for the last few years because those SMU uniforms are very nice. They’re some of the best unis in college football, especially with the Dallas logo helmet.

TCU will probably wear white unis for this game, and I think there’s about a 0% chance TCU gets a Fort Worth edition of their uniform. And would we really want the city of Fort Worth logo on a TCU helmet?

Q from haaandyvandy: Over/under on 25 horns down penalties this year

Now that Texas is leaving for the SEC, I’ll be upset if it’s even called once. However, Big 12 Refs are their own breed, so I’ll take the over.

Q from JimboKenFTW (Twitter): Is this the year, I’ve asked it every year since 2010. So I realize it is the definition of insanity, but it feels like this could be the year because, well Max...

I came into this season mentally prepared to not get overhyped, and I have failed miserably. This team has all the potential in the world, and if Max takes the step forward we’re hoping for, this could legitimately be the best offense we’ve seen at TCU since 2014.

So, yes, this is the year.

Q from LukeSha56975639 (Twitter): This team seems to bring a lot of hype coming into 2021 obviously with Duggan having more experience do you think this is a 10 win team?

This team is absolutely capable of getting to 10 wins, and I think they do. The challenge will be going on the road to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State, but if they take at least one of those games, 10 wins should be achievable.

(I think they take at least two).

Q from Ralph_Cox4 (Twitter): Can we get an injury update?

TCU has been pretty clean on the injury front this fall. Wes Harris is banged up but should be back soon, Keyontae Jenkins and Mikel Barkley should be back before September is over, and Jamoi Hodge is close to being back as well.

The concern now is - how do we keep everyone healthy?

Q from Philly Frog: Is Eboli the plural of Ebola?

Isn’t Eboli that disease you can get from bad canned food.....(yes I know it’s E. coli, chat).

Q from The_DanMan (Twitter): Which current Horned Frog would you want to suit up for Everton? And which player for Everton would you want on the field with the Frogs?

For those that don’t know, I recently hopped on the English Premier League bandwagon (thanks, Ted Lasso), and picked Everton as my team. So Dan’s question here is a pertinent one.

I’d say that I would love to see Demarai Gray run some from the slot for the Frogs. He’s arguably the fastest player on the pitch every time out, and we all know how much Gary loves speed.

As for the inverse, I think putting Tre Tomlinson at on the back line for the Toffees would fill a pretty big hole. His footwork and speed, plus his incredibly high defensive IQ would be a big asset for Everton.