One day. One. Tomorrow. GAMEDAY. It's finally here Horned Frogs, and I for one cannot wait to see how this season plays out. To kick-off our in season coverage here at FoW, I would like to revive a former weekly feature - the TCU Keys to Victory. Each week, I will break down 3-5 things that the Frogs should focus on to ensure they get the right result come Game Day. Here are week one's Keys to Beating the Bulldogs.
- Air it Out? - Saturday night is the debut of the overhauled offense, and TCU needs to come out firing. With questions remaining at the QB position, it's critical that either Matt Joeckel or Trevone Boykin come in and take command at the position. Samford returns eight players on defense, but was very soft against the run last year. If the backfield can do some damage early, the opportunity for big plays in the passing game will be there. Look for one of those two to make Samford pay for stacking the box.
- Under Pressure - TCU registered 32 sacks in 2013, while giving up 24 to their opponents. It will be crucial that the defensive line, led by senior Chucky Hunter, spends a lot of time in the Bulldog backfield. On the flip side, the revamped o-line needs to keep Boykin and/or Joeckel upright and with time to throw, to get the ball to a bevy of explosive and talented wide receivers.
- Take Control/Cede Control - The Frogs need to make a statement in opening up against an FCS team that is no stranger to the spotlight. The Bulldogs gave a scare to Arkansas last year well in to the fourth quarter, before losing 31-21. This year, they will start Arizona State transfer Michael Eubank, who saw action in 12 games in his two years with the Sun Devils, so is no stranger to FBS play. It's crucial that TCU takes control of the game early, which could come down to GP ceding control of the offense to his new hires. The talk out of fall camp was that Patterson had handed over the reigns to Cumbie and Meacham, but when the lights come on and the players run out, will our control freak of a coach really be able to let go?
- Fan-tastic - Two years ago, we opened against another FCS school, opened a stadium, and opened life in the Big 12. The Carter was rocking, even through halftime (thanks awesome Grambling Band!) and the stadium stayed full. As the start times got earlier, temperatures got warmer, and the losses started piling up, the home court advantage that was to be Hell's Half Acre was overrun with orange and crimson and green. TCU recognizes that fans have become a bit complacent, and as such set the slogan for the year as "Amp it Up", an open plea for the fans to get loud, stay loud, and be in the stadium. Chris Del Conte spent the off-season putting everyone who is within a ten mile radius of the stadium through Disney Fan experience training, so there should be no shortage of entertainment throughout the game, though I am hopeful most of that comes from the field, not the concourse.
Checking off those four keys will certainly be a recipe for success in week one. After a long off-season and so many changes on both sides of the ball, it will be nice to see what we are working with in week one. Football is back, and this is the year that TCU makes a statement in the Big 12, in my opinion.