As of the time of writing this, we are currently 20 days away from the opening kickoff of the 2020 season and when this article gets published we’ll be 19 days away from opening kickoff.
Yet, despite the first game of the season for the Frogs is right around the corner, I still cannot wrap my head around this potential season and what TCU’s team is going to look like going into game 1.
The fact that we are having a 2020 season feels weird. A lot about THIS season feels weird, which shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise considering how the year has gone so far. Naturally, the state of TCU football is...weird as well.
Although, now that I think about it this seems to be closer to the norm year after year for this program. We’re going into the (shortened) season without our starting quarterback who a lot of us were expecting a lot out of in his sophomore campaign. For the third season in a row we are going to have a new starter under center (at least for the near future) and looking at how the past two seasons have gone for the frogs, let’s just hope this one goes a bit smoother (better) than the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The quarterback position is not the only part of the roster than has gone through some flux this offseason. We lost the second best wide receiver TCU has seen in the past 10 years (no disrespect to Josh Boyce) in Jalen Reagor to the NFL. Defensive back LORD Jeff Gladney graduated and turned pro as well. MY BELOVED ROSS BLACKLOCK is no longer on the Frog defensive line due to going pro early as well. Safety Vernon Scott graduated and landed in the NFL and of course I cannot forget Lucas Niang who like Reagor and Blacklock turned pro too.
We lost a lot of star power from last year, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for other stars to shine brighter as well as new ones to emerge. Of course we all know Tre Moerhig and Ar’Darius Washington’s names by now and their play speaks louder than our mouths do anyways, but a lot of eyes will be on them to continue their stellar play from last season. The middle of the defense is led by the best linebacker in the conference, our captain Garrett Wallow. TCU’s first official five star signee Zach Evans has a chance to break through a STACKED young running backs unit and cement his name amongst the TCU greats as early as week 1 (or 3 whatever, time is a flat circle).
Oh right and we brought Doug Meacham back into the fold to coach interior WR’s as well as call plays a la 2014. This year will almost certainly not go the way the 2014 season went, but there was a lot of teeth grinding about Cumbie’s playcalling the past two seasons so a change of hands behind the wheel could go a long way - let’s hope Meacham can get at least a little close to 2014/2015 form.
It’s been quite an interesting off season, but given the state of everything my feelings on TCU football are....skeptical and conflicting to say the least.
All of this is to say that I have absolutely no idea how to feel about the upcoming season. If everything were normal I would have high expectations of this team, roster, coaches, everybody from top to bottom - or at least have expectations for things to be better than they were last year. Two less than stellar seasons back to back is something that we haven’t really had since joining the Big 12, and while our biggest concern was addressed in the change of offensive playcalling, we brought back in someone who made questionable play calls all throughout the 2016 season (just no 4th and 1 RB passes Doug). The offensive line may or may not be better than last season, no guarantees there. The running backs are going to be fun...if we let the whole unit run 25 times a game.
I’m sitting here trying to be optimistic, but with Duggan out I really am struggling to do so unless we turn into a high concept running the ball team. Winning 5 games in conference is feasible, but will it become reality? It feels like more and more the success of the TCU football program is not guaranteed. Even with Patterson - who by the way is still an elite coach - and I’m trying to come to terms with how this season might go down if it goes down at all.
As I have said time and time again, my normal expectations for TCU with Patterson are 8-4, and once every 4 years or so compete for a conference title. Down years are expected now and again, but three consecutive would be a real kick to the ribs. In a year filled with uncertainties, is it time I revisit my expectations for this program? Or is it just me overreacting to some truly odd years for the program that just happened to occur consecutively?
Okay okay okay enough with the downer talk, I still believe in 8-4 (or in this case 6-2)
I’ll wrap up this post by asking you all the same question I’ve been asking myself: What are your expectations for this team in 2020? Are you more looking for us to hit a specific win total or are you more in it to see if specific players can live up to the hype of last year?