#34 TCU Football 2014 Preview

TCU Horned Frogs

Overall Rank: #34
#5 Big 12

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The 2013 season was forgettable for TCU. From day one nothing went right and the Horned Frogs won just four games. TCU is joining their conference mates by changing to a faster no-huddle offense and that may be a good thing for the long haul. But for now the offense will go through some growing pains. But an ineffective offense is nothing new for TCU, but the team will still play tough defense.

2013 Record: 4-8, 2-7
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Gary Patterson (120-44 at TCU, 120-44 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Meacham, Sonny Cumbie
Defensive Coordinator: Dick Bumpas

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: B.J. Catalon, RB, 569 yards
Passing: Trevone Boykin, QB, 1,198 yards
Receiving: Josh Doctson, WR, 440 yards
Tackles: Paul Dawson, LB, 91
Sacks: Terrell Lathan, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Sam Carter, S, 5

Other Key Returnees: WR David Porter, S Chris Hackett, LB Marcus Mallet, LB Jonathan Anderson, K Jaden Oberkrom

Key Losses: QB Casey Pachall, WR LaDarius Brown, DB Jason Verrett, S Elisha Olabode

Over the years TCU has had some great defenses. This may not be one of the premiere units for the Horned Frogs, but they will keep this team in just about every game. It starts up front where TCU will benefit greatly from the return of Devonte Fields, if he is suspension is lifted. The defensive end earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman back in 2012. Fields played in just three games in 2013 before a foot injury ended his season, but now he is suspended during an ongoing legal investigation. James McFarland and Terrell Lathan will battle it out for the starting spot opposite of Fields. Tackles Davion Pierson and Chucky Hunter will handle the middle of the very talented line. Both linebackers in Coach Gary Patterson’s 4-2-5 defense are back and that does not even include Paul Dawson, the team’s top tackler in 2013. Jonathan Anderson and Marcus Mallet, who combined for 136 tackles last season, will be the starters, but there is plenty of quality depth behind them. The secondary has a big hole to fill with the absence of cornerback Jason Verrett, but everybody else is back. Safeties Chris Hackett and Sam Carter are talented enough to help cover for the loss of Verrett while a new cornerback is getting broken in.

The offense never got rolling in 2013 and the change of scheme will make the numbers look better. Part-time starting quarterback Trevone Boykin is back, but he may spend more time at wide receiver. The starting job will likely go to Texas A&M transfer Matt Joecekl. He is a big quarterback who can get passes out in a hurry. But somebody has to catch those passes and the TCU receivers had a bad case of the dropsies in 2013. Ja’Juan Story and Josh Doctson are the big outside receivers. Story is a transfer from Florida who caught just seven passes last season and Doctson was the team’s top pass catcher with 36 catches for 440 yards. David Porter is a candidate for a breakout season. He is a nice fit as a big play slot receiver. B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green are good backs who will put up much bigger numbers in the new system. However, the offensive line was pretty bad last year and their new found depth and experience needs to pay off if this offense is going to work quickly.

The Bottom Line:
The Big 12 is never easy, but TCU has a favorable schedule with five conference home games. Road games against West Virginia and Kansas are actually winnable and this is a team that can stay competitive with the elite of the conference in Fort Worth. That could lead to a massive turnaround for the Horned Frogs after their disappointing 2-7 conference mark a year ago. But the offense better be ready by their October 4th Big 12 opener against Oklahoma or they will be heading into the heart of the season with little momentum.

Projected Bowl: Liberty Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 118.6 (110th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 226.3 (72, 5)
Total Offense: 344.8 (104, 9)
Scoring Offense: 25.1 (87, 8)
Rushing Defense: 130.8 (21, 1)
Pass Defense: 225.6 (58, 6)
Total Defense: 356.4 (24, 2)
Scoring Defense: 25.3 (54, 5)
Turnover Margin: -0.20 (74, 8)
Sacks: 2.67 (25, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (55, 5)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#24 Devonte Fields
#103 Sam Carter

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#198 Varshaun Nixon


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