2014 TCU Horned Frogs Team Preview
Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
2013 Record: 4-8 overall, 2-7 Big 12
2013 Bowl Result: None
2014 Returning Starters: 8 offense, 8 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship Game: 200/1
Odds to Win 2014 Big 12 Championship: 14/1
Regular Season Wins: under 8 -165 / over 8 +135
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Last season, TCU had a forgettable 4-8 year and missed out on a bowl game for only the second time since 1998. This year, TCU returns 16 starters and looks to return to post-season play. Let’s take a look at TCU on offense, defense, special teams and also at the Horned Frogs schedule.
The offense struggled last year averaging 345 yards per game and only 25 points a game. The run game was especially anemic averaging only 119 yards per game which was only better than a handful of teams in college football. That won’t work in the Big 12 which is loaded with high scoring offenses. New offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie have installed a new no huddle offense to give the offense a boost.
Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel will be the starting quarterback and has one year of eligibility left. He was the back-up to Johnny Manziel for the Aggies and would have been in line to start this season for A&M. Trevone Boykin started at quarterback for five games last season when troubled Casey Pachall was suspended for drugs. Boykin now moves back to wide receiver as he was supposed to before Pachall was suspended.
Running backs B.J. Catalan and Aaron Green should benefit from the new system. Catalan had 107 carries, 569 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 78 yards. Green had 72 carries for 232 yards, plus a touchdown catch. The Frogs must replace Wayman James though. James had 55 carries, 242 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 8 catches. Boykin rushed for 313 yards and 7 touchdowns last year, but he likely won’t get 105 carries as a primary receiver.
The receiving corps must replace David Porter, LaDarius Brown and Ty Slanina who combined for 81 catches, and 8 of TCU”s 14 receiving touchdowns last year. Josh Doctson is the leading returning receiver with 36 catches, 440 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brandon Carter, Boykin, and Cam White will also get plenty of targets as well.
TCU had to reinforce the offensive line after the unit struggled in 2013. It was one of the reasons why the offense struggled so much. If it doesn’t improve it could be another long year in Fort Worth.
TCU had a top 16 defense allowing only 324 yards a game last season. However, they gave up 25.3 points a game, mainly because they would get tired staying on the field for so long because of the inept offense. Eight starters return from that unit and TCU could have one of the top defenses in the Big 12.
End Devonte Fields missed 9 games last season with an injury. He was the Big 12 defensive player of the year as a freshman. He looked to return to those glory days but was suspended indefinitely by the university after surrendering to police on a misdemeanor assault charge against his girlfriend. The unit takes a serious dip in quality without Fields, but tackles Davion Pierson and Chucky Hunter are top notch.
Paul Dawson, Marcus Mallet and Jonathan Anderson headline a solid linebacking corps. Dawson led the Horned Frogs in tackles in 2013.
The secondary must replace All-American cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Elisha Olabode. However, corner Kevin White and safeties Sam Carter and Chris Hackett do return and should anchor a unit that should be among the best secondaries in the conference if not the country.
Kicker Jaden Oberkrom returns for his third year as a starter. He made 14 of 18 field goals and has made a school record 79 straight extra points. Punter Ethan Perry is also a third year starter. He averaged 40.8 yards per punt and planted more than a third of his punts inside the 20. Catalan averaged 26.5 yards per kickoff return with a touchdown. Cameron Echols-Luper averaged 13.4 yards per punt return last year.
Last season, TCU went 1-4 in games decided by 4 points or less. Two more wins in those games would have given TCU six wins and made them bowl eligible. Besides a blowout loss to Texas, TCU had chances to win every other game.
This year TCU opens with home games against Samford and Minnesota before traveling to Dallas to face metroplex rival SMU. They should be 3-0 but then comes a brutal four game stretch that includes home games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech sandwiched around a road game at Baylor. The schedule lightens up in the second half, but they still have to play at Texas, Kansas and West Virginia, along with home games against Kansas State and Iowa State. I think 7 wins and a bowl berth is likely for TCU.
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