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Frogs O’ War Roundtable: Nicholls State Colonels

The staff gives predictions for TCU’s Week 2 contest

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Colorado at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What was most disappointing about the season-opening loss to Colorado?

Miles: The lack of effort and intensity defensively. Scoring 42 and losing sucks.

Russ: The defensive effort and execution was horrendous, but the game plan seemed out of touch as well. TCU gave Colorado all of the short yards, but failed to make open-field tackles and generate any pressure on the quarterback. The coverage downfield was also horrendous and the Horned Frogs generated only one turnover on the defensive side. Penalties were also a big problem, with TCU committing 10 for 76 yards. There were an uncharacteristically large amount of self-inflicted wounds by this TCU team on Saturday.

Drew: The inability to adjust defensively against Colorado. It seemed like Travis Hunter had 15 catches on third downs that all resulted in a first-down conversion. The Frogs were unable to find an answer for him and the rest of the Colorado offense. I think the TCU secondary is very talented but needed a wakeup call to make them realize that they still have to execute. Hopefully, week one did the trick and we see a large improvement for the rest of the season.

Anthony: The disappearance of that fire from within, especially in the defensive secondary, contributing to the absence of effort and execution. While Colorado certainly made some incredible plays and often the TCU play-calling was suspect, the lapses of focus and disciplined football were the biggest factors contributing to the loss. Knowing the potential of this squad and for it to be squandered on the national stage was tough to see.

What do you need to see from TCU in Week 2 to feel confident ahead of Iron Skillet & Big 12 play?

Miles: Effort, intensity, and passion from the defense. I also want to see Chandler Morris make good decisions in the passing game, and be on time with his throws.

Russ: Offensively, TCU needs to eliminate the penalties (especially the pre-snap mistakes) and the red-zone turnovers. Defensively, TCU has to cover better and make tackles on first contact rather than allow opposing players to rack up significant yards after the catch. If all of those things are accomplished, then the Horned Frogs should have no issues this week.

Drew: I’d like to see the Frogs air it out against Nicholls State. We know this team can run the ball and the short passing game was good for them against the Buffaloes, this game could be an opportunity to iron out any problems in the deep passing game. Take deep shots early and often and try to get Savion Williams and Chandler Morris on the same page.

Anthony: Not sure I’ll be able to feel confident again at any point, after allowing myself to feel a measure of confidence going into the season and getting burnt to a crisp. However, it would be encouraging to see the offense move efficiently and finish drives when in the scoring zone with good decision making from Chandler Morris. On defense, let’s see somebody in the secondary willing to make a play - make sure tackles at first contact, step in and take on a block, remain disciplined in coverage, and avoid being victimized for explosive plays.

After an 0-1 start, how has your season-long projection changed for the Horned Frogs?

Miles: My original 8-4 projection included a win over Colorado, so I’ll say 7-5 now.

Russ: I’m not moving from my initial 9-3 prediction. There are so many more football games to play and there were multiple teams on the TCU schedule (Houston, BYU and West Virginia especially) who did not impress during the opening week of action. However, TCU has to start rolling from here on out because the second half of the schedule is very tough.

Drew: I’ll stick with 9-3 as well. I am still confident that the defense figures it out and is at the very least and above-average unit. TCU simply has too much talent on the back end to continue playing like they did (I hope) and I still have faith in Joe Gillespie to scheme for teams that he has film on. Colorado had a significant advantage in that they knew what TCU was going to do defensively, while Gillespie had to make an educated guess.

Anthony: Although the loss certainly puts the Frogs fully into catch-up mode, there is certainly still a path to nine wins and Big 12 championship contention into the season’s final weeks. With fellow potential Big 12 contenders Baylor & Texas Tech also suffering embarrassing results in Week 1, those games still appear quite winnable. It’ll be an uphill battle, but the season is not yet a total loss.

Offensive MVP vs. Nicholls

Miles: Hopefully Chandler Morris has a huge day.

Russ: Emani Bailey. The former Louisiana-Lafayette transfer had an enormous game against Colorado and earned praise from head coach Sonny Dykes for his hard-running effort. After a 164-yard outing against the Buffaloes, TCU will look to feed Bailey and establish a solid ground game in order to create for easy throwing opportunities for Chandler Morris.

Drew: Ideally the coaching staff lets Morris air it out and build some confidence moving into the rest of the year. Big numbers in the passing yards and touchdowns department along with some completed deep balls could go a long way toward keeping this offense explosive.

Anthony: Here’s hoping Savion Williams emerges from whatever hole in which he was buried to have a standout game this Saturday. His physical abilities are tough to match, so when he puts it together he has the ability to perform at a very high level and I expect he’ll have big games in the future, starting with Nicholls.

Defensive MVP vs. Nicholls

Miles: The entire secondary. They were atrocious in the Colorado game. I would like to see a lot of faces get in the game. Some of the starters looked like they think they’re untouchable. Players further down the depth chart need to challenge these guys for their spots.

Russ: Johnny Hodges. The outside linebacker was outspoken after the Colorado loss with comments suggesting TCU is the “laughing stock” of college football. Hodges also made comments alluding to a potential lack of effort from some TCU defenders during Saturday’s loss against Colorado. I think Hodges comes out and sets the tone from the first snap.

Drew: Josh Newton. As one of the leaders of the defense and the whole team, I think Fig responds in a big way in week two with an interception if Nicholls State ever throws the ball his way.

Anthony: Mark Perry. Which direction will he turn? Will Saturday’s performance and the beatdown he received on social media (and assuredly in film review) send him down the drain towards further poor performances in the future? Or will he bounce back from it, using this set back as a learning experience and motivation to strive for greatness? We’ve seen both from TCU defensive backs in the past, but count me as still being a Perry believer, that this game will be a blip on the memory of his time as a Horned Frog. (Caution, I may have said the same thing after the Deuce Vaughn play in the Big 12 Championship

Final Score

Miles: TCU wins 49-14.

Russ: TCU wins 56-6. I think the offense adjusts and the defense responds.

Drew: TCU wins 59-7. Nicholls scores a touchdown in garbage time and Griffin Kell nails a field goal to ease some of the concerns over the missed kick in week one.

Anthony: TCU wins 48-27. Hooray for a win, but nothing about this game indicates that any of the failures vs. Colorado were solved.