Toeing the line

September 29, 2023

Editor’s note: Offensive lineman Andrew Coker likes the way things are coming together for TCU Football. The Frogs are averaging nearly 40 points a game in offensive coordinator Kendall Briles’ up-tempo scheme and have won three straight contests. The grind continues Sept. 30 against West Virginia. Coker will be making his 32nd consecutive start, which is as much a mental feat as it is physical. 

We’re doing what people would say is good, but we feel like we’ve left a lot out there, which is encouraging. It shows us how good we can really be whenever we put it all together.

We’ve just got to keep working every week and try to tighten up little things. Who knows how many points we can put up and how good we can be when we’re all doing the right thing.

There was a big emphasis on tempo with Coach Briles coming in and a new offense, but I didn’t think we were going to be that fast. At times I’m like, “Ooh, we’re going fast.”

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It’s good for us. Defenses can’t sub, so when their guys get tired, they have to stay in there. There are times when we’re out there and we’re tired, but they’re more tired than we are. They don’t get set, we might catch them off guard, they don’t have time to really dial up things, and they have to simplify their defense in order to get calls very quickly.

West Virginia is a really good team with a really good defense. I think they’re sixth in the country on third down. They’re really solid, physical guys. I haven’t watched much of their offense, but they hold the ball. They’re going to try to run it and take their shots. They’re a team that can beat you if you’re not ready.

The shorter your third-down distances, the more likely you are to get them. If we could just stay out of third down, that would be great, too. Just get first downs upon first downs. But being great on first and second will lead to good opportunities on third down. That’s our goal.

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The last day we were healthy was the first day of camp — especially the offensive line with as much banging as we’re doing. There’s a big emphasis on taking care of your body and what modalities to use — cold tub, active recovery, passive recovery, stretching, any treatment we have in a training room. 

 I’m just trying to take a professional approach to try to get my body back and my legs back. I do contrast tubs, hot and cold. I do BFR, which is blood flow restriction; passive recovery; and then I go in there and do whatever specific things I need. It’s usually a stem unit or any compacts, any muscle relaxation things like that to get the blood back to it. 

I think the mental part of it is, you’re not the only one. There’s plenty of guys hurting. If there are any guys younger than me or who haven’t started as much as me, it’s one of those things where I have to set the example.

I’ve started 40 games here. Hopefully I can set the example to where it’s like, ‘Coke’s banged up, he’s tired, but he’s still here doing it.’ So I try to set the example, but then also I have to set the example in my own head and not let my imagination get going.

Sitting out is really not an option. If those thoughts ever start to creep in, they get pushed down really quickly. 

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Rivalry talk

September 22, 2023

Editor’s note: Offensive lineman Andrew Coker played Sept. 16 at Houston, near his hometown of Katy, and TCU rolled to a 36-13 victory. Up next on Sept. 23 is the Battle for the Iron Skillet against an improved SMU team. The rivalry game always features some trash talk, and usually the team that wins is the one that stays the most composed.


It was good to be back in Houston. It was good to be home. A lot of those guys who played for Houston, especially on their defensive line, I knew. I talked to them throughout the game, going back and forth. It was fun.

That’s the best game we’ve played so far. We’ve just got to keep on stacking games and stacking games. In all honesty, as a team we felt like we left so much out there, especially on offense.

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We had three drives in a row where the first play was a penalty or big negative play. We feel like, as a team, if this is what we can do when we play decent, imagine what we can do when we play great and when we play mistake-free. So that’s the goal — to keep on chipping away, aiming toward that goal of playing perfect. That’s always the goal. Even though it’s never happened, that’s always the goal.

I think we’ve proven to everybody in this country that if we do what we’re supposed to do, we can beat anybody on our schedule. It’s that simple. If you do your job and have 11 guys pulling in the same direction at the same time, we’ll get where we want to get to.

SMU is a really good team. They’re always going to be excited to play us in a crosstown rivalry. We need to be excited to play them. It might be the best team that I’ve seen them have ever since I’ve been here. It’s going to be a good test for us.

They’re a lot better defensively this year than they were last year. Absolutely. They got a lot of transfers. They fly around. You can tell that they enjoy playing football and enjoy playing football together. It’s a good thing to see. But we enjoy playing good competition.

Usually when we play SMU, it’s about the time when the turning point of the season is — game three or game four. It’s at the time where if we win this game, a lot of good things can happen. I’m excited for it.

Courtesy of TCU Athletics

These rivalries are the games that you look forward to, that are exciting. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, a lot of talking back and forth. It’s going to be fun.

In our situation, there’s a lot of transfers. They don’t understand the rivalry as much as a guy like me would. I’ve been here for five years. Some guys are going to talk more than others. Some guys are going to talk all game. Some guys are going to stop talking. The last game I wasn’t a talker. Some games I am a talker. It just depends on what kind of switch gets hit that day, but it will come out of me sometimes. I’ve got to keep myself in check.

You want to say make no mistakes, but it’s football. We’re going to make mistakes. It’s how we respond to the mistakes, how we respond to adversity. We’re going to start fast, we’re going to get into the flow in the game, and then it’s about how we respond.  

Going Home

September 14, 2023

Editor’s note: TCU Football improved to 1-1 on Sept. 9 with a home victory against Nicholls State, and the Horned Frogs open play Sept. 16 in the Big 12 Conference at Houston. Offensive lineman Andrew Coker is from Katy, just outside of Houston, and his Nigeria-born father came to the United States to study at Houston. This game has special meaning for Coker. 


We can’t get caught up by talking about last year. Last year’s team is last year’s team. We’re a totally different group. 

One thing that we did last season and that we do well is we try to take everything one week at a time. Don’t get caught looking ahead, don’t start circling games on the schedule, and I think we’ve done a good job with that. I think we should keep going, keep moving forward with that. This week we’ve got Houston in Houston, and that’s all we’re focusing on. 

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We’ve had two games where, as an offensive line, I think sometimes, “We didn’t play very well.” There’s an urgency that comes from us trying to feel that desire, that want-to, that attention to detail to be great, because we know if we could put it together on both sides, offense and defense, nobody’s going to stop us. 

I think that’s the big urgency, the big selling point. We’re going on the road. It’s going to be a great atmosphere going into the University of Houston. We have a lot of kids on this team from Houston. I’m from the Houston area, so it means a lot to me and I can’t wait to get down there and play. 

I have as many people coming to the game as I can. I had so many people reach out for tickets, and I didn’t want to tell anybody no. I got my immediate family, and anybody who was wanting to come to the game, I was like, “Listen, I don’t know if I can help you, but I’ll do my best.” But I do have a good number, 12 or 13. 

My dad is a football fan because all of us, his kids, play it. But if we didn’t play, football would be in the back of his mind. He came to America when he was 21 years old and went to the University of Houston and studied accounting, so this game’s going to be pretty special for him. I remember asking him, did he go to any U of H football games when he was at college, and he said no. I think this is the first time he’s going to be in the stadium. It’ll be pretty cool. 

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He just always tells me good job, no matter what. That’s just the dad in him. In my family my mom’s the critic. My mom’s the one going, “Yeah, that wasn’t very good” or “You could have done this better.” My dad is like, “Don’t listen to your mom. You were great.” 

It’s a really big game for me, and I think I felt myself have a little bit of extra juice in practice today. And I don’t know why, but I would almost say it’s because we’re going to be playing the University of Houston. 

Houston’s coach, Dana Holgorsen — his nephews all went to my high school. We’ve known their family for a while. This was back when he was at West Virginia. I have a lot of respect for Coach Holgorsen. 

Houston recruited me. It was Tom Herman and then Major Applewhite. The one thing about Houston is they really want to try to get guys in the Houston area, and they’ve done a good job doing it. 

Three of their defensive linemen I played in high school, so it’s going to be fun. Another defensive lineman went to one of the schools in my district. I just didn’t play him because I think I was two years older. 

I’m excited. I’m excited for this one not only because I’m playing at the University of Houston but we’re playing Houston and they have a good defensive line. It’s going to be a good game, good for me in all phases. I can’t wait. 


Still Looking Ahead 

September 7, 2023

Editor’s note: Things didn’t go as planned for TCU Football in its season opener, but the Horned Frogs have 11 games remaining and can still reach their goals for the 2023 season. However, they can’t overlook Nicholls State, a Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) team.

Andrew Coker looks back at the Sept. 2 game and dials in on the focus for the Sept. 9 contest, also at Amon G. Carter Stadium.


It’s football. It happens. It does us no good to just sit there and feel sorry for ourselves. It’s all about the next one and moving forward. We still have 11 more left. We can still do what we want. All of our goals are in front of us.

I wouldn’t say that it has to be explained. I think it’s my job to be a leader and help us bounce back. I think “explain” is like, it happened already. Why it happened? It doesn’t matter why it happened. I’m here to try to lead guys and get guys back into the mindset that we need to go win this thing.

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I’m a firm believer in that the most improvement is made from Week 1 to Week 2. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. A lot of those first-game miscues get cleaned up by Game 2. The false starts, running the wrong routes, formation issues, communication issues, those normally get cleaned up now in practice before the next week. So, I feel good about it. I feel good about us getting those things cleaned up so we can go out and play Nicholls State and play fast.

It’s one of those things where, yeah, you watch film and you see technical things wrong. When you see false starts, that’s just attention to detail and focus. Whenever you see we’re messing up formations or running wrong routes or missing assignments up front, that is just focus, attention to detail, being locked in, knowing what you’re doing and communicating. We get a lot of things cleaned up in the film room. Out at practice is where we make the most improvement.

I don’t think it really matters who we’re playing, honestly. It really just matters that, like with me, and I know a lot of the guys on the team, we’re just ready to get back on the field. We’re just ready to get this taste out of our mouths. It’s such a sour taste, and we all hate it. We’re ready to get back out there. Nicholls State is just next on the schedule.

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Whenever I watched them on film yesterday and I watched their last game against Sacramento State, I was like, “These guys aren’t bad ballplayers at all.”

It’s one of those things where I could feel today in practice that we weren’t taking them lightly, at least as an offense. We got in the offensive team meeting, and we basically just said, ‘These guys are DI-AA, but these guys are good ballplayers and they’re good enough to embarrass you if you don’t have the right technique and you don’t know what you’re doing.’

And teams like that have nothing to lose. They’re trying to come in here and do whatever they’ve got, all the wrinkles, to try to beat us.

I think that we have to, as a team, adjust to being hunted. We’ve always been hunters. We have to realize how excited and how much teams want to beat us, and we’re going to get everybody’s best every single week. Week in and week out, no matter who we’re playing, bigger schools or smaller schools, we’re going to get everybody’s best.

We have to adjust to them and match where they’re at. Obviously, we didn’t do that very well against Colorado, but it is what it is. It’s in the past, and we just have to learn from it. 

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Another Go-Round

September 1, 2023

Editor’s note: Fall camp is over, and it’s time for TCU players to hit somebody else. The Horned Frogs open the season Sept. 2 against Colorado, which comes to Amon G. Carter Stadium with new coach Deion Sanders and essentially a completely new roster from the one TCU beat 38-13 to open last season. Oh, and a lot of hype. 

 Andrew Coker, in his diary debut, breaks down the game and what he might be feeling as he takes the field. 


We knew this was going to be a big game as soon as we started to have success last year, and it became an even bigger game whenever Deion got hired as the head coach. And it became even a bigger game whenever Colorado decided they were coming to the Big 12. So, at different instances it just became bigger and bigger and a more anticipated game.

Colorado is just completely different from last season. Wholesale changes. They have more than 50 players they’ve added after spring. That’s just unheard of. They’ve probably got a lot to figure out who they are as a team, but it’s hard to game plan.

It’s a lot easier as the season goes on. You can turn on the tape, you can watch personnel and watch the scheme. Now, it’s a little bit harder. You have to dig to find different things, to find personnel and then the tactics. Alabama is who we’ve really been watching. It’s where their defensive coordinator came from. It’s a little bit more difficult, but it’s just a task. It’s something we have to do.

We need to execute at a high level. That’s what we really need to do from an offensive perspective. We’re going to have to push the tempo. We have to go fast. That’s something we pride ourselves on. That’s one of the things we’re going to have to do from the get-go. 

So, playing fast and executing are the two most important things, and eliminating the little mistakes that we can eliminate. The stuff that we do to ourselves, try to eliminate that or keep it to a minimum because it’s probably going to happen. It’s football, it’s inevitable, we’re humans, but keep it to a minimum.

I might be a little bit nostalgic for my fifth season opener. But that’s something I’ve got to get over real quick, right? Maybe my last game here I can live in the moment a little bit longer. But for that first game, I’ll be like, ‘Wow, this might be my last here. OK, time to play.’ It’s going be really quick and back to the point.

Whenever people ask me about my college experience, this is the place where I found out who Andrew Coker was. I’ve loved every single second of it. If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d do the same thing. There’s nothing that I regret here. Just meeting people and growing as people and being around, even two different coaching staffs. The relationships are most important, my teammates especially. I met my hope-to-be-wife here, and my best friends are here. It’s just been an awesome experience.

I’ve learned since I’ve been here that Andrew Coker is a very hard-working individual that will do whatever it takes to get the job done. He’s determined. He’s a guy that whenever things get tough, he’s going to persevere, and he’s a guy who loves people and loves relationships. There’s nothing more important to me in life, really, than relationships and memories, and I figured it out while being here.

I’m so blessed to be able to play for this team for five years, and I’m so honored. I love the black and purple with all my heart. I’ve seen a lot of guys come in and out, I’ve seen a lot of players grow. I’ve seen a lot of players develop it. It’s awesome to see boys turn into men.

You see a lot of young kids come in and they’re not sure really what the world is or what football really is. They come here, and by the third or fourth year you can see how far they’ve come, and that process is just amazing. It’s great to see. It’s going to keep going even whenever I leave here.