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Keep a Sharp Eye on the Razorbacks

September 8, 2017

Hello, Horned Frogs fans…..It’s FRIDAY! That’s what the great Paul Harvey used to sign on with every Friday – I sure miss him.

In TCU's season opener versus Jackson State, helmets donned a special message for Houston after the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Category Four Hurricane Irma has now ripped through the Bahamas and Cuba on its way to Florida. Photo by Glen E. Ellman
In TCU’s season opener versus Jackson State, helmets donned a special message for Houston after the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Category Four Hurricane Irma has now ripped through the Bahamas and Cuba on its way to Florida.
Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Head for the Hills seems to be the theme for the week. Folks in Florida are heading for higher ground as Hurricane Irma approaches and the Frogs are headed to the Ozarks to take on the Razorbacks of Arkansas.

The Frogs haven’t played in Fayetteville since 1988 and TCU’s last win at Razorback Stadium came in 1984. The 32-31 upset by the ’84 Frogs set TCU on its way to that “UN-BELEEEVABLE” year and an 8-3 record. It was my senior year at TCU and many of us on the team hadn’t experienced a lot of road wins; Two, count ‘em, in four plus seasons up to that day. The win at Arkansas was one for the ages. Current TCU defensive line coach Dan Sharp caught a touchdown pass. Down 31-17, the Frogs drove into the wind for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to draw within 31-30 with 11 seconds left in the game. Coach Jim Wacker decided to go for the win. Frogs quarterback Anthony Gulley took the snap, avoided a sack and rolled to his right on the 2-point conversion. He found wide receiver James Maness in the back right corner of the south end zone to make it 32-31 TCU. And the whiskey bottles began flying. The Frogs had made a statement.

I’m looking for another great day in Fayetteville on Saturday. Razorback Stadium will be rocking and the environment will be full-on college football. The players will have no problem getting motivated for this one. It’s a big-time atmosphere and a perfect stage for the Frogs to impress a national audience on CBS.

Arkansas is still the same as you remember. They’re still big and they like to line up on offense and run it right at you. You’ll never see the Hogs without a tight end in the formation. They like to utilize a fullback and run a lot of lead draws and straight-ahead running plays. The offensive line averages 309 and quarterback Austin Allen has a command of the offense. He should – he’s a coach’s kid and he’s the best passer in the Southeast Conference. Tailback #2 Chase Hayden is the best of the running backs and he’s a big play weapon, both running and catching the ball. (WATCH ALERT: Arkansas loves to run old-fashioned screens to the running backs – look for that). The receivers are solid with no standouts but watch out for #6 T.J. Hammonds, he’s Arkansas’s Shawn Nixon – very versatile.

On Defense, the Hogs have a new coordinator in Paul Rhoads. You’ll remember him as the former head coach at Iowa State from 2009-2015. He has changed the Hogs from a 4-3 scheme to a new 3-4 scheme designed to put pressure on the quarterback and defend against spread attacks. This scheme is a “Bend, Don’t Break” scheme that will blitz when threatened. They’re big up front, averaging 309 pounds. Missing from the lineup will be the Hogs’ best corner, Ryan Pulley, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury suffered last week in the 49-7 win over Florida A&M.

Razorback Stadium has changed from natural grass to an artificial surface so it will be a fast track. The stadium, which opened in 1938, has been enlarged since Southwest Conference days when it held 44,000. It now seats over 70,000 and features 134 suites. And it’s loud.

The temperature should be around 80 at kickoff with clear skies.

If you’re going to Fayetteville, make sure to stop at Herman’s Ribhouse on College Street. There’s no sign – they don’t need one. Just look for the crowds.

See you there!

Kick ‘Em High!