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In a Jackson State of Mind

September 1, 2017

Before we kickoff this year of Extra Points, let me send out encouragement to all along the Gulf Coast who are trying to make it in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Our prayers are with all of you for strength. Let me also say that LaDainian Tomlinson’s suggestion of all of us becoming “Team America” in his NFL Hall of Fame Induction speech has indeed been on display. And it’s a powerful thing to see. Makes one proud to be an American and a Texan. Too bad it takes a disaster to get us all on the same page.


Montrel Wilson
Ty Summers, Kenny Hill and Montrel Wilson pose at the 2017 Big 12 Media Days in August. Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics.

The long wait is almost over! TCU Football is a mere handful of hours away. Last December 3o, the date of the Liberty Bowl, seems like year ago, doesn’t it?

It’s all new, and as I begin my 38th year around Horned Frog Football, the anticipation of a new season of big plays and elevated heart rates begs a few questions for which we will soon have answers:

  • Kenny Hill — The quarterback always get the focus. I’m anxious to see the improvement he’s made over the off-season. He has all of the tools. I’m pulling for him. You should, too.
  • How will the offense look under new offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie and co-coordinator Curtis Luper?
  • The difference in the offensive line under new o-line coach (and former Frog) Chris Thomsen.
  • What impact will offensive analyst Sonny Dykes have on this offense — will the Frogs feature the run more in certain situations?
  • Which of the wide receivers will emerge as the “go to” guy?
  • Will the Frogs top their 2016 total of 43 sacks, which led the Big 12? Ty Summers at defensive end will have something to say about that.
  • Will the old adage: “Older Defenses tend to be better Defenses” hold true?  I think it will. Just stand and watch.
  • Can the Frogs continue their road success and take wins at Arkansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? My hunch: Get to Stillwater.
  • Will the Frogs’ kicking game rebound? I think it already has. Coach P has three kickers that, in my assessment, any program would like to have.

The Jackson State Tigers come in off of a 3-8 record last year. The Tigers lost five games that were decided by one possession.

Defense is the calling card for the Tigers, with two great defensive linemen leading the way. Jackson State runs a 4-3 set, and there’s speed aplenty. Look for defensive end  #14 Keontre Anderson, who led the FCS with 26 tackles for loss. His line mate is recent Mississippi State transfer,  #55 Deion Pope. Linebacker #9 Andre Lloyd is a playmaker.

The Tigers run a multiple offense that relies on lots of formations and a stable of running backs led by #17 Jordan Johnson. He averaged 6.4 yards-per-carry last year as a freshman.

Quarterback is still a bit of a question for Jackson State, and the Frogs will see two quarterbacks tomorrow. Sophomore Brent Lyles will start, but Jackson State coach Tony Hughes is waiting to discover a long-term answer at the position.

Hughes told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger Wednesday that the game plan is for junior college transfer Jarrad Hayes to see some playing time as well.

Did You Know?

Jackson State is home to three NFL Hall of Famers? Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears, Jackie Slater of the Los Angeles Rams and Lem Barney (Detroit Lions) all honed their skills at JSU.

It’s the season opener. Feels like Christmas Eve, doesn’t it! Get there early and be loud as Coach P goes for win number 150.

 

Kick ‘Em High!