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TCU Hoops Start Promising Season

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

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!

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High

A Tale of Two Injured Teams: TCU to Meet K-State

November 2, 2018

November calls.

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 formation against Texas A&M. Game footage is copyright ESPN.

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

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!

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

TCU Faces KU Without Key Players

October 26, 2018

Happy Friday!

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

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

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.

Kick ‘Em High!

It’s Officially TCU Basketball Season

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

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.

Kick ‘Em High!

Halfway through the season, and Oklahoma is coming to town

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

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!

TCU Football Prepares for Iowa State Game

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

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

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.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Shawn Robinson — Have patience with the quarterback

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

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.

Kevin Haney

Steve Stamp

Eddie Clark

Ruben Jones

Anthony Gulley

Anthony Sciaraffa

Scott Ankrom

David Rascoe

Ron Jiles

Leon Clay

Matt Vogler

Darren Schultz

Tim Schade

Matt Vogler

Max Knake

Scott McLeod

Chance McCarty

Jeff Dover

Fred Taylor

Todd Stanford

Derek Canine

Kevin Colon

Patrick Batteaux

Casey Printers

Sean Stilley

Tye Gunn

Brandon Hassell

Kyle Kummer

Jeff Ballard

Chad Huffman

Marcus Jackson

Andy Dalton

Casey Pachall

Matt Brown

Trevone Boykin

Matt Joeckel

Bram Kohlhausen

Foster Sawyer

Kenny Hill

Iowa State’s defense is good. We look at them Friday.

Kick ‘Em High!

TCU Aims for Five in a Row over Texas

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. 

8.   

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.

 

Kick ‘Em High!

 

Darius Anderson TCU

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.

TCU Recognizes Angela Stanford’s Big Win

September 19, 2018

There’s a lot of news on the TCU front today and it’s a busy week. As the rock band Rare Earth used to sing, “Get Ready!”

First, a shoutout and tip of a cap to a TCU alumna (yes, that’s the correct term) Angela Stanford on her win at major championship, the Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in Évian-les-Bains, France. (You know… the place where the mineral water comes from – it’s really at town in the north part of France!) Stanford battled all week to come away with a one-shot victory over fellow American Amy Anderson. It was Stanford’s 76th start in a major without a win. In 18 years on the LPGA tour, she had played in 435 events. At 40, she battles talented teenagers and 20-somethings every week. And this week was the week. She fought through some opening-round trouble (double bogeyed the first hole of the tournament), held on to her “stick-to-it-iveness” and let her talent and experience take over on her way to the victory. She joins 1971 Masters Champion Charles Coody as the only two Horned Frog golfers to win a major.

This is a great story. Even greater if you know Angela and that she captured the biggest win of her career at a time when her mom, Nan, is battling cancer for a second time. Say a prayer for Angela’s mom’s recovery.

Angela is a class act and supports TCU Women’s Golf and the Horned Frogs in a number of ways. She makes it to a lot of TCU Basketball games and always stops by the broadcast table to say hello. I’m very happy for her and you should be, too. She’s one of us. When one of our alums win, we all win. Let’s just leave it this way: Stanford won and so did TCU.

Now, I mentioned it’s a busy week around TCU Athletics. Since TCU Football got so much attention last week (and will again this week), I thought I would highlight some of our other sports, many who dive into Big 12 play this week.

TCU Athletics Highlights

Wed, Sept. 19TCU Volleyball has it’s Big 12 opener tonight vs. Oklahoma at 7 p.m. at the University Recreation Center. Get there early to get a ticket.
Thu, Sept. 20-Sun, Sept. 23TCU Women’s Tennis hosts the Big 5 Challenge on campus.
Fri, Sept. 21Equestrian hosts Texas Tech at 12:30 p.m. (Go watch Haley Schoolfield’s team ride! It’s a short trip to Springtown.)

Eric Bell’s No. 9-ranked TCU Soccer team opens Big 12 play vs. Iowa State at 6 p.m.
Sat, Sept. 22TCU Swimming & Diving welcomes UT-Permian Basin to let them wash the West Texas dust off at 10 a.m. Then TCU Football takes on Texas at 3:30 p.m. Fewer than 6,000 tickets remain for that one in Austin. (More on that game Friday.)
Sun, Sept. 23TCU Rifle hosts UTEP and TCU Soccer is at home against West Virginia.
Next WeekFamily Weekend on campus and TCU Lettermen’s Hall of Fame Weekend. Iowa State comes to visit the Frogs on the gridiron.

For you golfers out there, the 40th Annual Horned Frog Classic is coming up on Monday, October 15th at Colonial Country Club. This iconic TCU event generates funds for scholarships for our TCU student-athletes. Sign up today at www.tcufrogclub.com.

I’ll be back with you from Austin, Texas, on Friday.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

TCU vs. Ohio State is College Football’s Big Game of the Week

September 13, 2018

These are great days. It’s what college football is all about and where the focus should be.

Excitement on campus, ESPN College GameDay and the distant whistle of a big game coming down the track. Don’t miss the 7:05 on Saturday — as the O’Jays sing in their ’70s hit “Love Train,” — “If you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you.”

It’s No. 4 vs. No. 15 in the featured game of the week in college football. This will be a test for both teams. You can almost hear the late, great iconic announcer Keith Jackson … “There’s Ohiooo State! And here come the Fuh-roogs!”


TCU football player KaVontae Turpin protects the football with both hands as two players from Southern chase the play.

KaVontae Turpin, seen here in a play against Southern, was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week following the 42-12 victory at SMU. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Both teams have cruised through their first two games with wins.

Both teams have new starting quarterbacks with similar experience levels.

Both teams have loads of talent.

One team has lots of size.

One team has lots of speed.

Only one team will win — where does the difference show up?

Thankfully as we head into this one, we know that the weather will not play a factor in the game. It’s a dry, fast track at AT&T Stadium.

Neither TCU nor Ohio State has been taken to the mat yet in the young season. Ohio State hung 77 on Oregon State and then cruised over Rutgers last week. The Frogs’ biggest challenges so far have been lighting and weather delays.

Ohio State’s offense is a multiple system that uses a deep rotation of running backs and wide receivers, and all are strong with the ball. The offense also utilizes the tight ends well, mostly as blockers placed off the line of scrimmage. But watch out for the tight ends as pass targets near the goal line. Quarterback #7 Dwayne Haskins has taken over for J.T. Barrett. Much like TCU’s Shawn Robinson vs. Texas Tech, Haskins made one big appearance last year as the backup QB, taking over for an injured Barrett against Michigan and engineering a 31-20 win over the Wolverines. Haskins is six feet three inches tall and runs the offense well. There are many weapons and Haskins has a tendency to overthrow receivers — there’s an INT out there somewhere. Haskins hands it to #2 J.K. Dobbins, a well-built running back who is a double threat as a pass catcher out of the backfield. The Buckeyes’ #25 Mike Weber, Jr. gets his share of carries as well. The wide receivers are many. Ohio State returns its top six pass grabbers from last year, led by #1 Johnnie Dixon, who’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball. I also like #11 Austin Mack and #83 Terry McLaurin. All the wideouts are strong and will require gang tackling.

This offense works behind an experienced offensive line with three of five starters standing six feet seven inches, and all five are over 310 pounds.

Defensively, the Buckeyes feature one of the top two defensive lines in college football in their 4-3 scheme. Defensive end #97 Nick Bosa, younger brother of OSU great Joey (San Diego Chargers) warrants watching and double teams. He’s a speed rusher who nobody’s blocked yet in two games. Ohio State had 45 sacks last year and looks to match that number this year. The linebackers are large (all around 240 pounds) and the best of the bunch is middle linebacker Baron Browning, whose dad, Barry, played for TCU in the late ’90s. The secondary is solid as always, even though it replaces three starters. Amazing stat: Since 1997, Ohio State has had 33 defensive backs drafted to the NFL, with 13 of those being first-round picks! The coverage scheme involves lots of tight coverage and a lot of zone. The Frogs can use their speed to make plays underneath — watch for that.


The stage is set for a great night and a bowl-like environment early in the season. ESPN’s College GameDay is setting up and the show starts at 8 a.m. Then Frog fans, you need to get to Arlington and get ready. Get your Purple On – the Frogs, the home team, will be wearing purple chrome helmets. I don’t think you’ll want to miss this.

Get some rest.  Saturday’s coming.

 

Kick Em High!

 

 

Hundreds of TCU students, in the stands at TCU's season opener against Southern, hold up three fingers to indicate a third down. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Horned Frogs and Buckeyes alike are expected to fill the 80,000-seat AT&T stadium on Saturday as TCU faces Ohio State. Photo by Glen E. Ellman