TCU head football coach Sonny Dykes expects Saturday’s “Battle for the Iron Skillet,” to be a fight.
Dykes, who coached the Mustang before taking over at TCU, said this is probably the best their team has looked in a while. Dykes highlighted the Mustangs defense, saying they are more physical and have a lot of experienced players.
The offense is a strong unit upfront. Dykes and his then-staff recruited four to five of them including quarterback Preston Stone. Last season Stone played in six games and started one. He went 28-48 passing for 388 yards and two touchdowns.
Dykes said what makes the young quarterback unique is he anticipates throws very well.
“He does a nice job getting the ball out, throwing guys to spots,” said Dykes. “He also moves around in the pocket very well and creates not only running opportunities, but also opportunities for receivers to shake loose down the Dykes is familiar with his style of play.
The key to stopping him will a pass rush, Dykes said.
“From a 7th grade quarterback all the way to the NFL, if you can affect him, get him off schedule and uncomfortable, that’s what you want to do to Preston,” he said.
Dykes said Stone can be affective outside the pocket.
“He throws well on the run, outside the pocket,” said Dykes. “That is something he has always done and we noticed that four to five years ago when we recruited Preston. His ability to improvise. He just has a good feel for playing football and I think Chandler and him are similar in a lot of ways.”
Dykes said the Frogs are focused for the “Battle of the Iron Skillet.” Dykes said one of the keys to being successful this week will be playing with intensity and focusing on pressuring Stone to get turnovers.
“We need to play physical and tough,” said Dykes. “We must continue to make fewer mistakes. SMU takes really good care of the football, so we need to do the same. Create turnovers defensively for ourselves. I think it is clear turnovers are going to be important.”
TCU’s defense has struggled this season, but Dykes is pleased with the improvement the defense has shown going into week four.
“They’re playing fast, physical, but our guys have improved,” said Dykes. “We will have to play physical against SMU. They are going to do a good job getting the ball down to guys in space.”
On the offensive side of the ball for TCU Savion Williams came up with a good 31-yard catch from QB Chandler Morris in their game against Houston. Williams has had limited time on the field due to injuries.
Dykes said leading into the season Williams had limited practice time, making it hard to establish that QB to WR trust. But now he believes Morris is slowly gaining confidence to get the ball down to Williiams.
“Savion had a great week of practice and was available all week,” said Dykes. “He practiced hard. Chandler began to get confidence in him and you can see the result. He made some plays in practice. The more reps he gets the more Chandler and Savion will be on the same page.”
This week is more than just a game. It is a historical rivalry, but Dykes and his team are not losing sight of their end goal: to win as many games possible.
“You get 12 games and you don’t get that many opportunities to go out and play,” said Dykes. “Ever one of them counts and are all important. Especially if you have high expectations for your program you have to win all non-conference games and we certainly need to win this game.”
The Horned Frogs, now 1-0 in conference play, are headed back home to close out their last non-conference game against their across-town rivals: the SMU mustangs. The Horned Frogs will take on SMU in the Carter on Saturday September 23, kickoff is at 11 am.