November 14, 2018
As we get over the hump this week, our attention turns to a short week and Thanksgiving. For TCU students, the semester is winding down quickly, but there’s still lots to do before Turkey Day and that tryptophan-driven nap on the couch. By the way, I love cornbread dressing with oysters in it – the best!
Alex Robinson led TCU against Oral Roberts on Sunday, finishing with 23 points marking his fifth 20-point game. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography
TCU Men’s Basketball gets back on the floor tomorrow night against Fresno State. The Frogs haven’t played the Bulldogs since the first round of the 2017 NIT when the Frogs took their first step toward the NIT crown. It was also the game in which Jaylen Fisher broke his wrist, ending his 2017 season. He’s been through some other injury issues and I’m looking forward to seeing him back on the floor soon for the Frogs. After Fresno State, the Frogs host Lipscomb Tuesday night before shutting it down for the holiday.
Women’s Basketball is off to a 2-0 start and they take on SMU at 2 p.m. Sunday at Moody Coliseum in Dallas. Congrats to Jordan Moore on becoming just the 18th player in TCU history to reach 1,000 points in a career. She had 18 in the blowout win over Mississippi Valley State.
Fall baseball is over but the season is less than 100 days away. I talked to Coach Jim Schlossnagle last night at length about his team and he said he’s looking forward to a great season with several new faces. It all kicks off on Friday, February 15 when the Frogs take on Cal-State Fullerton in Scottsdale. Our first Jim Schlossnagle Radio Show is February 12th at The Railhead.
Yazmeen Ryan, left, sealed the game for TCU’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory Friday. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography
And good luck to TCU Women’s Soccer as the team goes for a second-round NCAA Tournament win over Texas A&M on Friday. The game is at 1 p.m. in Knoxville, TN. Eric Bell and his team have made history this year. Let’s hope they keep the story going with a win over the Aggies (those are always sweet).
TCU Football is getting ready to make the 83 mile trek down I-35 to Waco Saturday to take on the Bears. Baylor is playing better and head coach Matt Ruhle seems to be pulling that program out of its dive. It’ll be a huge task for this beat-up bunch of Frogs who are trying to win their last two to get bowl eligible. If they can do it, rumor has it the Frogs would end up in the Texas Bowl against an SEC team.
The Bears have several weapons on offense and we’ll get a closer look at them on Friday.
More in: Athletics
November 9, 2018
Wow, it really felt like fall this morning didn’t it? Put another log on the fire, it’s going to be a chilly weekend.
It’s also going to be chilly where the Frogs are headed. Destination: Morgantown, WV.
It’s raining there right now and tomorrow it’s going to be cloudy at Milan Puskar Stadium. A balmy high of 38.
Coolest game of the year for TCU, but it won’t be nearly as chilly as the reception that Mountaineer fans will give the Frogs on their way down the tunnel. Picture Arkansas with muskets. Mountaineer fans bring it and the Frogs better as well.
The No. 9 Mountaineers are on a roll. WVU’s offense is a machine and defense matches in strength.
The recipe for TCU’s success is to go after quarterback Will Grier and keep tight coverage on Mountaineer wide receivers. Photo by Glen E. Ellman
Will Grier is a Heisman-level talent at quarterback. The only team that he’s lost to is Iowa State, who blitzed and blitzed and blitzed. The Cyclones were in his face so much you would’ve thought Bob Huggins was calling the defense for ISU. That’s the recipe for TCU – get after him. While you’re coming from all angles, make sure to keep an eye on the running backs for WVU. They’re good. #6 Kennedy McKoy is speedy and catches the ball out of backfield as well. Master Blaster Martell Pettaway #32 is what the Mountaineers use to knock down the door. Then there’s the receiving corps: All-American David Sills is a former QB turned uncoverable wide receiver at 6-4. He’s a scoring machine, especially near the goal line. Marcus Simms and last week’s last-minute hero Gary Jennings, Jr. give the Frogs plenty to cover.
One of the most improved parts of the WVU team is the defense — in the top four of all Big 12 defensive stat categories that count: rushing defense, pass defense, total defense and what they allow opponents to tack on the scoreboard. The Mountaineers run an interesting 3-3-5 scheme that’s designed to confuse, combat and confound. And they do it well. Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson had to rebuild in the offseason and his personnel decisions have been spot-on. They’ve also stayed healthy through the first eight games. That helps.
The Frogs need a fast start as WVU loves to jump on opponents and run away. West Virginia averages 27.7 FIRST HALF points at home this year. Again, a fast start for the Frogs is a must. Sustain drives, eat the clock, play keep-away. Throw in a trick play.
I’m looking for the usual slobber-knocker that we always see when the Frogs and Mountaineers tee it up. It seems there’s a healthy rivalry between these two junior members of the Big 12, who both joined in 2012.
Joe D. Denton was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Courtesy of John Denton
Also, before I run, a shout-out to all our veterans on this Veterans Day weekend. Veterans are different. Special. They’ve been places and done things that most of us haven’t done. More than anything, they are there for us and the U.S. I have several family members who served, including my dad, Joe Denton, U.S. Army Air Corps in the 1940s. I love this photo of him — it says so much about him and that time when nothing was guaranteed in the 1940s. Thanks, Dad, for the guarantee. He’s 94 now and part of that special group that served proudly without second thought.
We’re on the air Saturday at 10 a.m. CT. Join Brian, a chilly Landry Burdine on the field and me on the TCU Sports Network.
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November 7, 2018
Welcome to Basketball Season! Here we go on a run that will hopefully end in early April in the NCAA championship for both TCU Women’s and Men’s Basketball. Schollmaier Arena is the place to be. Get there.
Coach Jamie Dixon and I are both looking forward to TCU hoops this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography
Congrats to TCU Women’s Basketball for their season-opening win over Duquesne yesterday 61-48. Jordan Moore had 22 points to lead the Frogs (on 11-for-12 shooting!!). Next up for Raegan Pebley’s bunch is Mississippi Valley State at noon on Sunday at Schollmaier Arena.
We lift the lid tonight on Jamie Dixon’s third season at TCU and the Frogs look a lot different. Sure, the starting five are back and guard Jaylen Fisher is still healing that knee, but there are eight new Frogs who have never played in a college basketball game. Should be interesting. I will tell you this from my observations watching practice: the Frogs are much bigger than in recent years. Center Kevin Samuel goes 6-11, 260 pounds. You can’t teach size! JD Miller is back as the Frogs’ most-experienced player with 103 games played. I’m looking forward to watching him this year – he’s a great defender who has taken on that role and Coach Dixon likes it. Alex Robinson, Desmond Bane, Kouat Noi, Angus McWilliam and RJ Nembhard are all healthy and ready to go.
The Frogs welcome Cal State-Bakersfield into Schollmaier Arena tonight. The Roadrunners have some very good players and a coach who knows his way around the game. Rod Barnes is a savvy coach who took Ole Miss to the Sweet 16 a few years back and had his team within a win of playing the Frogs for the NIT Championship in 2017. Bet you couldn’t name the team that Georgia Tech defeated to reach the NIT final vs TCU! Well, it’s Cal-State Bakersfield. They won 25 games that year.
RJ Nembhard was the 3-point champion at last week’s Frog Army Scrimmage. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography
The 2018-19 Roadrunners feature a hot-shot guard in Jarkel Joiner, who set the CSB record for free throw percentage last year as a freshman at 90 percent! Look out for #23 Damiyne Durham, who’s hit 255 three-pointers in his career and needs just 24 to set a new record for three-balls at CSB.
After tonight, the Frogs will play Oral Roberts at 4 p.m. on Sunday, then a 2017 NIT rematch with Fresno State at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 15.
In between all the basketball games, and after a win over K-State last week, TCU Football will travel to No. 9 West Virginia. Games in Morgantown are always wild, physical affairs and I expect this 11 a.m. kickoff to provide us all with more of the same. It’s always fun to watch Gary Patterson and Dana Holgorsen square-off in a game of a thousand adjustments. Stay tuned for a detailed look at the Mountaineers on Friday — and the weather, which is expected to be snowy and in the mid-30s!
More in: Athletics,football,Men's Basketball
November 2, 2018
Thirty days of transition from fall to the holidays and the waiting winter. A month of anticipation and decision, especially in college football.
A month full of big games, rivalries renewed and results that decide who is a champion and who is an also-ran. Four games to go. Three to win to get to a bowl game.
Such is the task ahead for your TCU Horned Frogs and it all begins with K-State tomorrow.
In my 38 years around the program, this is the worst injury epidemic I’ve seen. The Frogs lineup has been decimated by episode after episode of bad luck that has the TCU training room looking like a triage unit. Offense, defense, special teams – they’ve all taken hits and many are not going to make it back this season.
During last Saturday’s game at Kansas, I looked down at my TCU defensive game chart and realized that the Frogs had two – count ‘em – TWO starters left on the field from the original 11 first-teamers who took the field against Ohio State. And that’s just the defense. On offense, there’s only two offensive linemen who have started all 8 games: center Kellton Hollins and right tackle Lucas Niang.
The Wildcats are eerily similar to TCU. A beat-up squad that had patched up the retreads and put ice on the radiator to get to 3-5.
On offense, Kansas State players do what they’ve always done – run the ball. And take their time doing it.
A screen capture of Kansas State in a tight yardage formation against Texas A&M. Game footage is copyright ESPN.
They have maybe the best offensive line around and they’re a scrappy bunch that can pass block as well as they run block. They’re led by right tackle Dalton Risner, who has started 46 games in his career. Risner is on just about every college football award list you can think of. When he and his line mates get in that tight short-yardage formation (see photo), watch out! They’re precise and they rarely lose in situations where the battle is over six feet or less.
The Kansas State quarterback position has been a bit of a revolving door as Skyler Thompson has started 7 of 8 games this year. He’s the better passer and, when he gets pulled, Coach Snyder will go to Alex Delton who started against TCU last year in the oft-interrupted storm game in Manhattan that lasted almost seven hours.
Running back Alex Barnes is a handful, although OU shut him down last week. He averages 5.4 yards per tote. Kansas State doesn’t have the super dangerous wide receivers it’s had in the past but has #7 Isaiah Zuber and #83 Dalton Schoen.
On defense, Kansas State is struggling. They lack a pass rush and the injury bug has not been kind. Sound familiar? The best threat on the line is defensive end Reggie Walker with 5.5 sacks on the year. Linebacker Sam Sizelove has played in 47 games and the secondary is experienced but they’ll likely be missing their best player on defense in cornerback Duke Shelley, who is out with an injury. He leads the team with 3 interceptions on the year.
TCU Coach Gary Patterson and Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder chat at a 2015 football game. Courtesy of TCU Athletics
The kicking game has been rebuilt as KSU graduated everybody: snapper, holder, kicker, punter, kick returner, punt returner. They’re all new. Blake Lynch won the kicking job and he’s made 9 of 11. Punter Andrew Hicks has a big leg, averaging 44 yards per punt.
It’s going to be a beautiful day at The Carter tomorrow. Come early and get in there and give the Frogs your support. They need it and deserve it and your cheers are the one thing they need that’s not available in the training room.
Come for the opportunity to see Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder. He’s 78 now and who knows how much longer he’ll coach. He’s an all-time great. An amazing coach who saved the KSU program twice and the stadium in Manhattan is named for him and his family. He honed his philosophy as Hayden Fry’s offensive coordinator at Iowa in the Hawkeyes’ heydays of the 1980.
We’re on the air on the TCU Sports Network tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CT. Join us!
October 26, 2018
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for this week to be over so we can get on to game day.
What a week it’s been for Frog fans. Hit from every angle with bad news.
TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson passes in the second quarter as TCU hosts Oklahoma University for the 2018 Homecoming Game in Amon G. Carter Stadium, Saturday, October 20, 2018. Photo by Rodger Mallison
First we learn that quarterback Shawn Robinson is done for the year and will have his shoulder surgically repaired. Then KaVontae Turpin goes down a path that no one should go down and he’s gone. Just like that.
My old coach, FA Dry, used to say, “Don’t ever fall in love with a football player or coach, ‘cuz they’re here today and gone tomorrow.” He told me that in 1982, right after he’d been relieved of his duties at TCU. That same line rings as true this week as it did in November of ’82.
That being said, we must all move on. Set our jaw. Put on our big Frogs pants and get ready to tee it up tomorrow in Lawrence, Kansas, a place that has always been tough on the Frogs since TCU joined the Big 12. The Frogs eeked out a 4-point win in 2014 and a one point victory in 2016. Weird things happen there.
Michael Collins will get the start at QB for the Frogs. Patience will be the key for this offense against a Kansas team that will take chances.
Kansas is a pesky team that is led by its defense. Defensive Coordinator Clint Bowen has been at KU for 19 years. He runs a scheme that’s hard to define but it’s basically a three-man front with a lot of guys moving around. Kind of like Lou Holtz ran at Arkansas when he had Billy Ray Smith (millennials can Google Billy Ray Smith). They fly around to the ball and they create a ton of turnovers. Not good news for the Frogs’ offense, which has had the Turnover Flu this year.
Ball security will be key. The Jayhawks are ball-hawks.
Daniel Wise, KU defensive tackle, is an all-conference caliber player who spends a lot of time in the backfield. Kellton Hollins, TCU center, may not play against a better one all year. Other Jayhawks to look out for: Linebacker #29 Joe Dineen, Jr. is the leading tackler and is a great player. The secondary is led by safety Hasan Defense (yes, you read that correctly) who has three interceptions.
Head Coach Gary Patterson prepares to lead the Horned Frogs onto the field as TCU hosts OU earlier this month. The Horned Frogs travel to Kansas to meet the Jayhawks on Saturday. Photo by Rodger Mallison
Offensively, the Jayhawks have struggled. They want to throw the ball to Stephen Sims, their best wide out, but they’re still looking for an arm. Kansas has huge issues on offense and are still searching for a quarterback. Head Coach David Beaty fired Doug Meacham, offensive coordinator/QB coach, two weeks ago and took over the play-calling and the QB mentoring. Last week at Texas Tech, the KU offense didn’t show much improvement. Three times in that game, the KU defense gave the offense the ball inside the Tech 20-yard line and the Jayhawks failed to cash in with just three points out of the three short field possessions. Kansas is last in the Big 12 in yards per pass attempt and they are leaning on a freshman running back, Pooka Williams and his 7 yards per carry to give the offense some spark.
The Frogs will be looking to notch win No. 1 of 2 in their two-week quest to win the “Sunflower Championship” by sweeping both Kansas schools. Next week it’s K-State at The Carter for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Frogs have not lost to KU since TCU joined the Big 12. Let’s keep it going.
We’re on the air at 1 p.m. tomorrow from Memorial Stadium in Lawrence on the TCU Sports Network. Lend an ear.
October 25, 2018
Coach Jamie Dixon answered questions at the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day on Oct. 24 in Kansas City. Photo by John Denton
Hello from Kansas City and Big 12 Men’s Basketball Media Day! It’s officially basketball season when we make the trip up to the Sprint Center for this annual pre-season run through the gauntlet. Head Coach Jamie Dixon along with guard Alex Robinson and forward J.D. Miller are here to meet with national media.
Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner, announced that the conference championship will remain in KC through 2024 and that’s a good thing. If you haven’t been up here for the Big 12 Tournament, you need to get here. It’s a party and KC does it right. Also, Bowlsby announced the Big 12-Big East Challenge, which will begin next year.
Before we get too far here today, I want to wish my dad, Joe. D. Denton, a happy birthday. On Tuesday he turned 94 and he’s still as sharp as ever. He sees everything and is on top of things as the leader of the Denton clan. He also got a call on Tuesday from Coach Gary Patterson wishing him a happy birthday. Enough said.
My dad taught this: “Whatever you do reflects on the entire family and affects all in the family.”
Wise and especially appropriate words given the events of the week that have left TCU fans hurting and scratching their heads. Big Joe also taught me to keep swinging, work hard and good things will happen. As the Frogs prepare for KU this weekend, it’s back to the hard work.
We’ll take a look at Kansas on Friday. I gotta go, Bob Huggins is waiting and I don’t want to miss a chance to talk with the WVU coach – ALWAYS entertaining.
More in: football,Men's Basketball
October 19, 2018
At the halfway point in the season, the Frogs are exactly there. Half the way.
Halfway to a bowl bid, halfway to finding an offense and all the way done listening to critics.
This is a football team that endured a hellacious September and is now slaloming its way through injuries. College football is a game of survival and the Frogs are leading the nation in that category.
Survival is being able to hang on, get by and keep believing things will get better.
“Nobody’s panicking here,” Gary Patterson said this week. “It’s not my first rodeo.” Timely words for his team, which has had its share of tough rides lately.
This squad reminds me of a similar TCU team: the 1989 Frogs (and no, I’m not referring to Taylor Swift’s latest album — do they call them albums anymore??).
In ’89, the Frogs were struggling for Coach Jim Wacker. At 3-3, the “Triple Shoot” offense was mostly tripping and shooting itself in the foot. Quarterback Ron Jiles was trying to get the Frogs’ offense in gear, and it wasn’t happening. TCU was averaging 17 points per game and limped into a Homecoming match with No. 19 Air Force and their Heisman candidate quarterback Dee Dowis.
With some strong defense (TCU held Dowis to 28 yards rushing) and a boost from backup quarterback Leon Clay’s two second half touchdown passes to Stephen Shipley, the Frogs rolled to a 27-9 win. And just like that things looked a lot different.
It was a perfect day. A day the Frogs badly needed.
After falling to Texas Tech last week, TCU will try to regain its momentum for the second half of its schedule. Photo by Glen E. Ellman
Twenty-nine years later, a similar recipe would be timely for your Frogs. OU rolls into town as the No. 9 team in the nation with another hotshot quarterback. Kyler Murray has the Sooners rolling at 48 points per game. The Frogs’ challenge is to keep pace, limit Murray’s opportunities with the football and harass him like no other team has this year. Number 5 Marquise Brown leads all Big 12 wideouts with seven touchdown catches in six games. He’s a burner.
Defensively, OU has a new leader in defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil, who replaced recently-departed Mike Stoops. There won’t likely be much change from a scheme standpoint, but what does need to change is the Sooners’ poor tackling, which cost OU the game versus Texas in Dallas two weeks ago. The linebackers are the strength of the group. Be on the lookout for #18 Curtis Bolton, who leads the Big 12 in tackles at 12.5 per game. He gets to the football along with middle linebacker, #9 Kenneth Murray.
Also be on the lookout for a great effort from the Frogs. They’ll get some players back from injury, and that’ll help, especially on the offensive line, where center Kelton Hollins and right tackle Lucas Niang are the only linemen to start all six games so far. The Frogs will have to mix some things up in the secondary as Innis Gaines won’t be available and Niko Small is still on the mend.
The rain is supposed to take the day off tomorrow. Let’s hope.
See you on the radio at 10 a.m. for breakfast with the Frogs!
Kick ‘Em High!
More in: Athletics;Football
September 28, 2018
Happy Friday! A lot going on this weekend on campus and it all kicked off last night with the TCU Lettermen’s Association’s Hall of Fame Banquet. It was the 51st class inducted and I was honored to emcee the event. It’s always a great night full of memories and reflection among old teammates. The 2018 Class is great with former Frogs football and track star Brashant Carter, Simpson Degrate who was a part of the Frogs 1971 Southwest Conference Championship team, world-class sprinter Virgil Hodge, Mike Keathley who blocked for LaDainian Tomlinson, lineback Jason Phillips and women’s basketball star Adrianne Ross. Serious talent.
Athletic Director Jeremiah Donati (left) with the 2018 TCU Lettermen’s Association Hall of Fame inductees. Courtesy of TCU Lettermen’s Association | Photo by Glen E. Ellman
Iowa State brings an interesting team, coach and program to town this week for a 6 p.m. kickoff. The Cyclones are 1-2, coming off a win of Mid-America Conference member Akron last week 26-13.
Matt Campbell is a bright, young coach who seems to have turned the Cyclones’ football fortunes. And not just on the field. He and his staff have made inroads in recruiting and he’s stocking up on talent and big linemen. His most prized recruit is a quarterback named Brock Purdy who selected ISU over Texas A&M and… wait for it… Alabama. You might see him tomorrow as ISU’s starter Kyle Kempt recovers from injury. Zeb Noland will likely get the start in place of the injured Kempt, who seemed to beat everyone last year, including the Frogs.
Other offensive weapons that you don’t want to hear about include 6-foot-6-inch wide out #18 Hakeem Butler, who scores ever fourth catch. Running back #32 David Montgomery is an elite back who ran for 1,146 yards last year and is on pace to repeat the 1,000-yard rushing season. The Cyclones are utilizing the tight end in the passing game more, so watch out for #11 Chase Allen, a 6-foot-7-inch target. The offensive line is larger than Iowa State has had in some time.
Defensive tackles Chris Bradley and Ross Blacklock stop a play on the gridiron in 2017 in Ames, Iowa. Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics
Campbell has said he’d like to turn Iowa State into what TCU has become and he’s following the plan with defense. Last year, Iowa State held all but one Big 12 foe below their season scoring average and allowed an average of just 20.9 points per game. They’re right there this year, allowing 21 per game. Only two teams scored more than 20 points in the last 11 games in 2017. They fly around and create turnovers, so the Frogs will have to secure the ball. It starts on the defensive line where the four-man front is led by tackle Ray Lima, who was recruited by TCU. The linebackers are swift and can cause havoc. Watch for #2 Willie Harvey and #4 Marcel Spears, who Campbell calls the heartbeat of the defense. The secondary is one of the best in the Big 12. Corners #1 D’Andre Payne and #10 Brian Peavy are excellent.
It’s Family Weekend at TCU and the Frogs want to show mom and dad that they’re better than they’ve shown the last two weeks. Much has been experienced by this Frogs team and more has been learned. It’s not often that the Frogs lose three games in a row and I don’t think that will happen this weekend. It’ll be good to be home.
Watch for the Hall of Famers on the field at halftime along with Lee Greenwood’s performance. TCU golf legend Angela Stanford will be honored for her major victory at the Evian Championship at the end of the first quarter.
The weather’s going to be perfect. Get your white on — it’s a white out!
I’ll see you on the radio with Brian and Landry and our crew at 5 p.m. on the TCU Sports Network.
More in: Athletics,football
September 26, 2018
First-year starters at quarterback.
At the Sept. 15 Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium, Shawn Robinson posted career highs in completions (24), attempts (40) passing yards (308) and total offense (315) against Ohio State. Photo by Glen E. Ellman
There are always growing pains. It’s a fact of the game of football. The most difficult position on the field. One that touches ball on every play and the one position that’s highlighted more than any other. It’s not easy. There are good days and bad days. And it takes time to grow into the role. What many forget is that the quarterback, from play to play, is a beneficiary and a victim all at the same time — dependent on what the other 10 guys on offense do. Blockers gotta block, receivers gotta catch, etc., etc.
In light of all the quarterback talk this week, I made a list of all the TCU quarterbacks since 1980. I tried to find one that didn’t go through the same trials and tribulations that Shawn Robinson is going through right now. There’s not one. They all struggled early in their tenure as a starter. Some went on to win conference championships, bowl games and even a Rose Bowl. Know this: They ALL went through it.
Here’s the list. Enjoy reminiscing and remember that one day, 35 years from now, Shawn Robinson will be on this list, probably as one of the best ever.
Iowa State’s defense is good. We look at them Friday.
September 21, 2018
South on I-35! Here we go to Austin for a football weekend and a game at Memorial Stadium (that’s what it used to be known as before they added Darrell K. Royal to the name). I’m glad they did it while DKR was still around to see it.
I’ve made hundreds of trips down that highway on Fridays during football season, and I’m as excited as ever to make the trip. The Dentons used to go to Austin a lot when I was a kid. Friday, right after school, eating turkey sandwiches in the Buick on the way so we could get there before my grandparents went to bed. My mom grew up in Austin, right on the UT campus. Her dad, Jim Sansom, Sr., was a mason on the UT campus for 35 years, and the Sansom family lived right there on North 23rd Street, just across the street from the stadium. Mom and her brother, Jim Sansom, Jr., both went to UT: Elouise Sansom Denton, Class of ’48. She’ll be 92 in December. A true UT beauty. She still is.
Those were special weekends getting to go to “Nannie’s” house on Cherrywood Road and team up with my cousins for the best of weekends. Wake up Saturday, eat breakfast and go to the stadium. Normally, 2 o’clock kickoffs back then. Not as much TV at that time. We depended on the Enco SWC Football Network for coverage and score updates. Glenn Brown, Stan McKenzie and Connie Alexander kept you glued to the radio. I wanted to be them. Shoot, Darrell Royal was still coaching and Texas never lost. Or so it seemed.
Austin, though it’s changed a ton since the late 1960’s and ’70s, is still a special place and I still have family there. We’ll all get together for Mexican food tonight. Just like the old days. It’ll be great.
The city of Austin is not the only thing that has changed. The TCU-UT series has changed, too. One of the best parts of life in the Big 12 for TCU fans has been the recent change in fortune for the Frogs against THE state university of Texas.
The Frogs have won four in a row.
And it’s hasn’t been close.
In the four straight losses to TCU, Texas has scored an average of eight points per game.
Signed, Gary Patterson.
Gone are the days of Texas 81 TCU 16. Of 24 straight Texas wins. Of TCU +29 at Texas. It’s a new day and this series is cozier than ever as we approach the 89th meeting.
The UT Athletic Director used to be our AD. Chris Del Conte knows TCU well, and he’s learning his way around UT. His charge is to turn Texas into what he helped turn TCU into over his nine years in Fort Worth. Become what TCU is.
Stop and take that in for a minute.
The Frogs and Horns are coming off big game weekends. The Frogs had No. 4 Ohio State and Texas hosted USC. Both teams performed well and found some things out about themselves. The Frogs learned valuable lessons that will pay off throughout the remainder of the season: They’re as fast as any team in the country; the defense is really good; and quarterback Shawn Robinson ain’t afraid and doesn’t panic.
The Longhorns experienced an explosion of points and dominance over an opponent unlike any game to date in the Tom Herman era. Both games turned on a sequence of plays in about five minutes of game clock.
The answer to who wins in Austin tomorrow is found in who builds the most off of last week.
Texas has confidence on defense. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando feels good about his group. His 3-4 scheme involves a lot of movement and depends on great play from the two linebackers and two safeties — they have to fly to the ball. It’s an interesting scheme that has the ability to stuff the run but has a tendency to give up big pass plays. There are no stars on this side of the ball, but they are playing better as a unit. Watch for the blitzes from linebackers and from the edge — that’s when the Frogs will have opportunities for big plays.
On offense, the Horns are betting on Sam Ehlinger. He’s a big QB, a 235-pound fullback running the offense. Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck say this offense is different from last year, but the offensive line still has a lot to prove. Wide Receivers Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson are big targets. Freshman running back Keaontay Ingram is the back of the future for Texas but is hobbled and may not be available.
The kicking game for Texas is a work in progress. Turpin could have a big day in the return game and the Frogs need him to get cranked up.
Rain is in the forecast, so the Frogs’ running game may be leaned on in this one. You’ll recall the last time in Austin, Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua got loose. Don’t be surprised if that happens again in front of 103,000 on the 40 Acres.
Safe travels to Austin and back. I’ll enjoy every mile. For me, it’s Back to the Future, except for our football program. Thankfully.
Darius Anderson, shown in action during his monster game against Ohio State, ran for 99 yards when TCU beat Texas, 24-7, in Fort Worth on Nov. 4, 2017. Photo by Glen E. Ellman.
John Denton has been the color analyst for the TCU Sports Network from IMG since 1988. A former standout for the Horned Frog football team, Denton went from walk-on to a four-year lettermen as a kicker and punter for the Purple and White from 1981-84 and completed his career at the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl. Shown here with his former coach, the late Jim Wacker, Denton currently serves as the Director of Major Gifts for TCU Athletics.