July 17, 2018
TCU looks to continue its success in the Big 12 with hopes of a conference championship.
by Zach Martino
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Topics: Athletics, football
by Zach Martino
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s first order of business speaking at Big 12 Media Days on Monday was to congratulate Jeremiah Donati, TCU’s new athletic director.
Coach Gary Patterson speaks to media at the Big 12 Media Days. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography
Donati and Coach Gary Patterson will be trying to replicate last year’s magic, perhaps with a different result. TCU went 11-3 and made it to the Big 12 Championship in 2017 before falling to Oklahoma 41-17 for the second loss in a month to the Sooners, a team Patterson described as one of the best he’s ever seen. When talking about the upcoming season, Bowlsby said, “I think we’re going to have good games out of the shoot.”
That is certainly true for the Horned Frogs, whose third game of the season comes against Big 10 powerhouse Ohio State. The Buckeyes, a perennial top-10 program, took home the inaugural College Football Playoff trophy in 2014 and have lost a total of five games since. Things don’t get much easier from then on, as the Big 12’s round-robin style — along with the highest percentage of non-conference games against Power 5 opponents — will keep Patterson’s squad on its toes.
Among the chief concerns for the Horned Frogs is starting quarterback, as TCU has amassed a deep roster of young talent in recent years. Shawn Robinson is the likely frontrunner; he played in six games last season, including a start and win against Texas Tech. The sophomore attended Big 12 Media Days, something Patterson said he doesn’t do often with a quarterback, admitting that he brought Robinson for “superstitious reasons.” When Patterson didn’t bring Kenny Hill in 2016, the team went a lowly 6-7. However, the following year he brought Hill and the Frogs were 11-3.
Patterson also spoke highly of transfer Michael Collins and freshman Justin Rogers before almost conceding Robinson as his week-one starter. “Obviously he’s proven himself; he probably has the edge.”
The offensive line is also a concern for TCU, who lost five lineman — four to NFL training camps — last season. However, the backfield will be anchored by the tandem of Darius “Jet” Anderson and Sewo Olonilua. The elusive Anderson and the power of Olonilua will prove tough for Big 12 defenses, along with the speedy and seldom-used Kenedy Snell. “It’s a position where I don’t think you can have enough good tail backs,” said Patterson.
Ben Banogu speaks to media at the Big 12 Media Days. The defensive end said he values Shawn Robinson’s short memory, charisma and his ability to shrug off mistakes and move on. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography
Ben Banogu is another bright spot for the 2018 season. The sure-fire NFL prospect forwent the draft this year in order to play in his senior season. “If I can go in the game and disrupt the offense, make it consistent,” said Banogu, “[then] sacks don’t matter.” The defensive end was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, along with special teams hero KaVontae Turpin.
TCU kicks off its season at home against Southern University on September 1 at 11 a.m. Full schedule is available here.
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