Can TCU's Defense Repeat Last Season's Success?

TCU Horned Frogs College Football Tank Carder

Can TCU's Defense Repeat Last Season's Success?

The 2012 season will mark a huge turning point in the TCU football program, as the Horned Frogs enter their first season as members of the Big East Conference.  In their final season in the Mountain West, TCU will attempt to duplicate 2010's record breaking performance. Coming off of a spectacular season that saw the Frogs go undefeated, win the Rose Bowl, and finish 2nd overall in both the AP and Coaches polls, head coach Gary Patterson will try to do just that, all while replacing the programs all-time winningest quarterback, Andy Dalton. Replacing Dalton may prove to be one of Patterson’s tougher challenges since taking over at TCU in what will be his 12th season as Head Coach, but key returns at various skill positions should make it a little less painful than expected. Returning only four starters each on both sides of the ball, the Frogs hold their spirits high, looking to go undefeated in the season before their Big East debut, and probably wear some really gnarly uniforms in the process.

There will be no re-writing the script coming into this season, as the Frogs biggest asset will be their stellar defense. Led by defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas, the Horned Frog’s defense was ranked #1 overall last year, and is aiming to keep that ongoing tradition alive. Among those returning is DE Stansly Maponga, whose name may be hard to pronounce, but his record is not. Last year he was named an All-Mountain West Conference selection, and was given Freshman All-American honors. He enters this season being named on the preseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive end. Senior CB Greg McCoy, who started all 13 games last year, posted a career high 30 tackles, and made a key defensive stop in last year’s Rose Bowl finale also returns. CB Elisha Oladobe who is one of three freshmen to see action last year, along with CB Travaras Battle, and DE Matt Anderson will also see a lot of playing time.

The Horned Frogs defense is anchored by All-American linebackers Tank Carder (SR), and Tanner Brock (JR), who both made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks last season, and were both named All-MWC selections last year. Carder and Brock teamed up for over 160 total tackles last season alone, and are on pace to give the Frogs yet another top ranked defense.

With the obvious questions at quarterback, many onlookers are hesitant to jump on the TCU bandwagon just yet, but the key return of powerhouse RB Ed Wesley, and the depth at wide receiver with Hicks, Dawson, Boyce and TE Logan Brock should make it an easy transition for greenhorn QB Casey Pachall. When looking at the Horned Frogs’ upward climb over the past ten years, and the fact that TCU has only lost three games over the past three seasons, which were all to undefeated teams, you have to wonder how they did it. If you asked Head Coach Gary Patterson, his response would probably be an easy one. Defense.

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