Extra Points

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. 


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

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

We Have Reasons to Be Thankful in the TCU Community

September 12, 2018

9/11, flags

Flags on the east side of TCU’s campus commemorate 9/11. Photo by Amy Peterson.

The excitement over week three in the Horned Frogs’ long football season has certainly gone over the top already. The high-profile matchup featuring No. 4 vs No. 15 has finally arrived and along with it tons of predictions, what-ifs and even ESPN’s College GameDay in The Commons on Saturday. We’ve come a long way in the past 20 years and we have a lot to be thankful for in the TCU community.

But this week is full of things that help us keep a college football game in perspective. And I’m not talking about the Frogs having to stay focused because it’s Texas next week and Iowa State after that, etc. etc.

I’m talking 9-11 and hurricanes.

The images, sounds and gravity of that morning in New York City 17 years ago all came to the front of our minds yesterday. I’m not sure I can remember any event in my lifetime that has been more stunning, more impactful, more surreal. For most of us, it was getting to witness war firsthand. On our soil. Kind of the Pearl Harbor of the time.

The total confusion, the scrambling to assess the situation and the nation rallying as one was happening so fast.

I have two vivid memories of that day that I’d like to share: The first, that morning, my young daughter (who’s a freshman at TCU this fall) pointing at the television saying, “Candles!” as she pointed and I turned my attention to see the smoke coming off the top of the first tower hit at The World Trade Center. Candles.

The other was later in the day at my then-office near DFW Airport as plane after plane landed quickly in accordance with an order shutting down all U.S airspace. On a normal day, a plane came over our office every 40 seconds; we got used to it.   For the next several days, there were none. Nothing but the wind whistling. The quiet around DFW Airport was a constant reminder that things were about to be different. And never the same again, especially if you travel often by air. One other thought on 9-11 is that it totally derailed the presidency of George W. Bush. Prior to 9-11, the hot topic and debate was over stem cell research and its appropriate uses and application. TCU’s football game versus Marshall on September 15th (along with hundreds of others around the U.S.) was cancelled.

Then there’s Hurricane Florence. The “Storm of a Lifetime” they are calling it. It’s huge and barreling down on the East Coast, taking aim at North Carolina and South Carolina. We go through this every year, and the storms bring devastation and danger during and after the storm. The scenes of interstate highways being turned all one way — OUT. These, too, are life-changing events for those who are affected, and it takes faith, guts and time to get through it all. Say a prayer for those folks today, especially those who choose to “ride it out.” Their challenge begins late Thursday.

The Frogs’ challenge will not be the weather, as the roof will be closed at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. We’ll look at Ohio State on Friday.

Until then, Remember and…


Kick Em High!

Sonny Dykes Leads SMU Against TCU

September 7, 2018

Happy Friday, everyone! It also happens to be game day. Game two already and as we get deeper into the season, it seems that the challenges keep coming faster — especially this short week.

During the season opener agains Southern, TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson became the first Horned Frog since 2006 to account for five touchdowns in the first half. He had three scoring passes and two touchdown runs. He completed 17-of-24 passes for 182 yards in playing just the opening two quarters. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

During the season opener agains Southern, TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson became the first Horned Frog since 2006 to account for five touchdowns in the first half. He had three scoring passes and two touchdown runs. He completed 17-of-24 passes for 182 yards in playing just the opening two quarters. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

As I worked the TCU-Southern game last Saturday, and then watched more games last Saturday night, I realized how glad I am to see the college football season underway, not just because we have games to watch and enjoy, but because that’s where college football is it’s best. College football is about game day. Thankfully, the season got here because college football had a rough off-season, especially in August. Now the focus is back on the field: the players, the matchups and the games. And the games come fast.

Tonight’s game at SMU brings an intriguing situation. Sonny Dykes – another SMU coach in a long line is trying to take the team to another level. He took the job last winter after spending a year as an offensive analyst on Gary Patterson’s staff, seeing how things are done, sitting in staff meetings and absorbing the way the Frogs are built, trained, plan for opponents. Dykes is a smart guy. He’s been a head coach and his teams are always well-prepared. At Louisiana Tech, his teams were tough with big offensive lines and a smash-mouth style on both sides of the ball. In the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl, TCU has to fight every second of the game to grab a win over La Tech, 31-24.

The big question tonight is what will show up for SMU and Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs had high hopes going into last week’s game at North Texas and hit a wall, almost from the start. The Mustangs got down early, couldn’t protect quarterback Ben Hicks and couldn’t run the ball. Linebacker Trevor Denbow got ejected for targeting early in the first quarter (he’s a big part of the SMU defense) and the tailspin began. SMU went deep into the second half with only one first down to show for their offensive effort. North Texas rolled 46-23. It was not the type of start Sonny Dykes had planned.

Jack White '49 created this cartoon when times were different for TCU and SMU. The Mustangs were successful in gridiron challenges against TCU in the 1940s. Was this illustration also a predictor of things to come: SMU coach Sonny Dykes reeling in transfers like Notre Dame transfer CJ Sanders? Courtesy of the TCU Archives

Jack White ’49 created this cartoon when times were different for TCU and SMU. The Mustangs were successful in gridiron challenges against TCU in the 1940s. Was this illustration also a predictor of things to come: SMU coach Sonny Dykes reeling in transfers like Notre Dame wide receiver CJ Sanders? Courtesy of the TCU Archives

Sonny Dykes has a vision for SMU. He’s gone out on the recruiting trail and pulled in players from all over, including several transfers from Division I-A programs like Notre Dame, West Virginia and even an offensive lineman from KU. He’s creative and he’s already making moves on the recruiting trail. Some experts rank his 2019 SMU recruiting class the best in the Group of 5 (non-Power 5 conferences). That’s saying something.

The question for today, however, is what does he roll out tonight and get from this SMU team vs TCU? My guess is that SMU is not nearly as inept as they showed vs. UNT. The old adage says you see the most improvement in a team from game one to game two. For SMU, there’s much to prove. For TCU, there’s much for which to prepare.

The offense that Dykes wants to run involves running the ball a lot. To do that you must have a big offensive line and a stable of larger backs (over 200 lbs.). To start in that direction, Dykes hired Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator. Lashlee comes from UConn and spent most of his career working for Gus Malzahn at Auburn, where they’re run heavy. The long-term goal for Dykes & Co. is to install a run heavy system and meld it with Dykes’ quick strike passing attack that he picked up while working for Mike Leach at Tech. So the task for Gary Patterson and the TCU defensive staff has been to watch video of the following offenses to get ready for tonight: UConn, Auburn, Cal (where Sonny Dykes was head coach for three years), Louisiana Tech (where Dykes was head coach before he went to Cal) and last week’s SMU/UNT video. That’s a lot of material to sift through, but that’s what this game tonight is all about.

What will SMU do? Sonny Dykes needs to pump some life into his team and let them have fun. To me that means they pull out all the stops, go for broke against the No. 16 team in the nation. An upset would quickly erase the loss to UNT. How do you keep a superior opponent off balance? Keep them guessing, try things that are illogical. Show looks that they haven’t seen before. In other words, the Frogs need to be ready for any and all things. The bag of tricks may actually hold the game plan for SMU.

But how? SMU’s offensive line gave up nine sacks last week to UNT. Pony quarterback Ben Hicks got knocked around. He’s pretty good, but without time to throw, he can’t make the plays SMU needs to win. Or keep drives alive for that matter. Gone are NFL-caliber wide outs Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn. The best receiver on the Hilltop is #3 James Proche, who was a TCU recruit but decided to go to SMU.

Frog fans faced temperatures in the 90s for the season opener against Southern. Tonight's game against SMU comes with a 40 percent chance of rain. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Frog fans faced temperatures in the 90s for the season opener against Southern. Tonight’s game against SMU comes with a 40 percent chance of rain. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

On defense, the line is the strength of the unit, but the linebacker group is much improved, thanks to the insertion of junior college transfer Trevor Denbow (who TCU recruited) and Richard Moore (a transfer from Texas A&M.) #23 Jordan Wyatt is the best of the defensive backs, but he was not himself last week.

Frogs have won 16 of the last 18 in the series and the last six in a row. The biggest SMU win in Dallas was in 2005, the week after TCU had upset Oklahoma in Norman, 17-10. Now I know you’re thinking, “Why did Denton have bring to that up?” Well, I can bet you that Coach P has reminded the Frogs of that game multiple times this week. A coachable moment that says, “Don’t let THIS happen to you.”

Stunning “I’m getting old” thought: Current freshmen at TCU were five years old when the Frogs lost to SMU in 2005.

Take the afternoon off and head to Dallas for this one, Frog fans. It’s a luxury to have a road game so close. I’ll stop in at Campisi’s for the Hamburger/Canadian Bacon pregame pizza. You should do the same. And bring your rain gear. Horned Frogs are built for all conditions.

I’ll talk to you from Dallas at 6 p.m. on the TCU Sports Network.

Kick ‘Em High!

TCU Eyes Neighbor SMU

September 4, 2018

OK, Game 1 is in the books and we can all cool off after the win over Southern. The Frogs did what they needed to do: Maximize the upside, play 80 players and minimize the injuries. Check. Check. Check.

This week’s different. It’s SMU.

SMU is more personal. We know them. Like a nemesis neighbor from down the street, we know when they back out of their driveway and hit out garbage cans and they know when we make a move. It’s been that way for a long, long time. Friday will mark the 98th meeting at the mailbox.

TCU true freshman wide receiver Derius Davis was named the Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week for his efforts in the Sept, 1 win over Southern 55-7. Davis, from St. Francisville, La., had three receptions for 49 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown, while also returning a punt 73 yards for a score. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

TCU true freshman wide receiver Derius Davis (#12) was named the Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week for his efforts in the Sept. 1 win over Southern, 55-7.
Davis, from St. Francisville, La., had three receptions for 49 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown, while also returning a punt 73 yards for a score. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

From 1915, when the Frogs won the first three games in the series by a combined point total of 102-3 to the 1918 TCU forfeit when the Frogs’ bus got stuck in the mud in Grand Prairie to the 1935 heartbreaker in new, state-of-the-art TCU Stadium, it’s been cozy. Don’t forget the Doak Walker years and the resurgence of Mustang Mania in the late-70’s and early 80’s with the Pony Express running attack with Craig James and Eric Dickerson almost leading SMU to a national championship. At one point from 1972 through 1986, SMU rattled off 15 straight wins over TCU. Then, in 1987, the Death Penalty came down on Mockingbird Lane and SMU took two years off. It took World War I to cause the only other two-year hiatus in the series in 1919 and 1920.

While the TCU venue for the series hasn’t changed since 1930, SMU has had multiple homes: The old Ownby Stadium on the SMU campus, the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium in Irving from the late-70s to the mid-80’s, back to Ownby Stadium in 1989, then to the Cotton Bowl, then back to campus to the new Gerald J. Ford Stadium in 2000. (Note: some people think the stadium is named for former President Ford – it’s not – he’s Gerald R. Ford, R-Michigan). Gerald J. Ford is a generous donor to SMU.

There’s even a connection among coaches. Now, I’m not referring to the fact that current Peruna head coach Sonny Dykes officed at Amon G. Carter Stadium last year as a member of Gary Patterson’s staff.

There’s another one.

Coach Matty Bell, who led SMU to the 1936 Rose Bowl with a win over TCU in the 1935 game of the century, was actually TCU’s head football coach from 1923-1928, before he defected to Texas A&M. He was handed the reigns at SMU in 1935, after tiring of College Station. He coached SMU through the 1941 season, then returned after World War II to coach the Mustangs from 1945-1949 to enjoy the Doak Walker era. Walker won the Heisman Trophy in 1948, then when Walker was done at SMU after the 1949 season, so was Matty. Apparently he knew when to get out.

Speaking of getting out, make your plans to get out early Friday and get to Dallas to support the Frogs. Leave at lunchtime — the Frogs need you in Dallas. Sure it may rain, but it’s going to be warm and Ford Stadium is waiting for you to take it over. Get your tickets at 214-SMU-GAME.

SMU is the focus. No peeking.

Kick ‘Em High!

TCU Faces Southern Without Injured Starters

August 31, 2018

Well, here we go! It’s just about time to turn your compass heading toward Amon G. Carter Stadium, where the Frogs have played since 1930, some 88 years ago.

And speaking of the 1930’s, tomorrow we’ll celebrate Davey Day in commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Davey O’Brien’s 1938 Heisman Trophy. It will be a special day as Davey’s family will be on hand and the Frogs will wear special stickers on their headgears.  There’ll also be special #8 caps on sale tomorrow only inside the stadium. And they look pretty cool.

Trivia Question: Davey O’Brien’s number 8 was retired long ago. I’m my lifetime, no one has worn 8 at TCU. Who was the last player to wear number 8 at TCU?  

OK, now – remember that you’re out of practice going to football games and it’s been 10 months since TCU’s last home game. Here’s your pregame checklist:

  • Make sure you have your tickets – the right tickets. You’d be surprise how many fans either forget their tickets or bring the wrong ones.
  • Make sure you have your parking pass – all parking passes have bar codes this year. No pass, No entry. ( for more info)
  • Get there early – parking lots open at 6 a.m.
  • Get that cooler packed – with lots of water. It will be warm.
  • Get over to the Walk of the Frogs – it’s moved due to stadium construction. The Frogs will arrive in front of Schollmaier Arena and walk past the big Frog statue and touch it on the nose for Good Luck. Make sure you do the same after the team goes through. It’s a new tradition, kind of like Howard’s Rock at Clemson.

Horned Frog Statue Relocation

The look of progress. Our iconic Horned Frog statue has moved to a new home in front of Schollmaier Arena as part of the preliminary procedures for the Amon G. Carter Stadium expansion. More info:

Posted by TCU Athletics on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Saturday morning the Frogs go for their fifth straight win in a season opener against the Southern Jaguars of the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference). The SWAC is a 10-team league that historically produces great players – too many to name, but consider Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams from Grambling and Michael Strahan, a Texas Southern alum.

Southern is coached by Dawson Odums and they’re better than you want them to be. Odums is in his 7th year at the helm in Baton Rouge and over the last five years, his teams have averaged eight wins a year. In 2013, they won the SWAC Championship.

The Jaguars run a multiple offense – a mix of 5-wideout, power stack formations and option wrinkles every now and then. It’s an offense that keeps you guessing and my guess is that the Jags will take a lot of chances Saturday.

The offensive line is big – they average 314 pounds and the left side of the O-Line averages 335! They’ll be protecting a new quarterback. Sophomore John Lampley will get the nod. He was a hot shot high school quarterback in Georgia. In his time at Southern, he’s thrown a total of 26 passes and played in seven games. Watch for running back #9 Devon Benn and wideouts #6 Jamar Washington (the team’s leading returning receiver) and big #4 Hunter Register, a 6′ 5″ transfer from Minnesota.

On defense, Southern runs a 4-3 package that’s built on speed up front and size at linebacker. The defensive line is the deepest group at Southern in years. Linebacker #52 Calvin Lunkins covers a lot of ground along with #44 Middle Linebacker Alfred Palomino. Cornerback #14 Demerio Houston is the leader in the secondary.

We’re less than 24 hours away from kickoff and the Frogs are ready to get the season going. Opening day is always special and anything can happen — that’s what makes college football so much fun (and interesting). And the games will start coming fast. A week from today, the Frogs will be at SMU and in the space of a less than week the season will be two games old.

The Frogs will have to get healed up quickly. Coach Gary Patterson, at the Frog Club’s Patterson Luncheon Thursday, said the team will be without as many as 10 starters tomorrow. Stay tuned for more news on this. Brian, Landry and I are on the air tomorrow at 10 a.m. on the TCU Sports Network. Join us!

Have a great season, Frog fans! Get your purple on!

Until tomorrow,

Kick ‘Em High!