The TCU Horned Frogs are entering their second year in the Big 12 and are poised for a big season.
Picked as the third-best team in the conference in the preseason poll, the Horned Frogs should be one of the country's most dangerous teams.
Here's a preview of what the 2013 TCU Horned Frogs will look like.
*All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted
Check out "The Program" and its preview of the 2013 TCU Horned Frogs.
Last season a tumultuous one for TCU.
The team was rocked four games into the year when quarterback Casey Pachall was dismissed from the team following a DWI arrest. Trevone Boykin took over for Pachall and struggled, going just 3-6 as a starter and throwing just 15 touchdown passes to go with 10 interceptions.
Despite the hardship of losing Pachall, the team still made the postseason and appeared in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. There, the Horned Frogs lost to the Michigan State Spartans 17-16.
Before Pachall was dismissed, the Horned Frogs started their season 4-0 with wins against Grambling State, Kansas, Virginia and SMU. But then TCU dropped three of its next four games, with the lone win coming on the road against Baylor.
A 39-38 overtime win against West Virginia followed by a methodical 20-13 win over Texas gave TCU some new life at the end of the year and gave the team the confidence that it can compete in the Big 12.
Boykin finished the year with 2,054 passing yards and a QB rating of 126.4.
Offense: 6 Defense: 9
1. SO Aviante Collins, 6-6, 310
2. SR James Dunbar, 6-6, 305
1. SO Joey Hunt, 6-3, 285
2. SO Brady Foltz, 6-4, 300
1. SR Eric Tausch, 6-3, 300
2. SO Joey Hunt, 6-3, 285
1. SO Jamelle Naff, 6-4, 311
2. JR Michael Thompson, 6-5, 352
1. JR Tayo Fabuluje, 6-7, 315
2. SO Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 6-6, 305
1. JR Stephen Bryant, 6-5, 242
2. SO Griffin Gilbert, 6-5, 220
3. RS FR Buck Jones, 6-4, 228
1. SR Waymon James, 5-8, 203
2. SO B.J. Catalon, 5-9, 185
3. SO Aaron Green, 5-11, 190
1. SR Casey Pachall, 6-5, 226
2. SO Trevone Boykin, 6-2, 215
3. RS FR Tyler Matthews, 6-3, 215
1. JR Cam White, 6-3, 200
2. SO Ja'Juan Story, 6-4, 208
1. SO LaDarius Brown, 6-4, 220
2. SO Kolby Listenbee, 6-1, 185
1. JR David Porter, 6-0, 195
2. JR Matt Brown, 6-1, 189
1. JR Brandon Carter, 5-11, 161
2. SO Deante Gray, 5-10, 180
1. SR Jon Koontz, 6-2, 265
2. SO James McFarland, 6-3, 240
3. SO Josh Carraway, 6-4, 235
1. JR Chucky Hunter, 6-1, 305
2. SO Terrell Lathan, 6-5, 260
1. SO Davion Pierson, 6-2 305
2. JR Jon Lewis, 6-2, 290
3. JR David Johnson, 6-2, 270
1. SO Devonte Fields, 6-4, 240 So.
2. JR Matt Anderson, 6-3, 245
1. JR Joel Hasley, 6-1, 220
2. JR Jonathan Anderson, 6-3, 208
1. JR Marcus Mallet, 6-1, 216
2. JR Paul Dawson, 6-2, 230
1. JR Sam Carter, 6-1, 220
2. SO Derrick Kindred, 5-10, 202
3. SR Trent Thomas, 5-11, 190
1. SR Elisha Olabode, 5-10, 192
2. JR Geoff Hooker, 5-10, 180
1. SO Chris Hackett, 6-2, 200
2. RS FR Zach Jackson, 6-0, 185
1. SR Jason Verrett, 5-10, 180
2. JR Kevin White, 5-10, 174
3. SR Keivon Gamble, 5-10, 180
1. JR Kevin White, 5-10, 174
2. SO David Jenkins, 6-1, 193
3. SO Travoskey Garrett, 6-1, 195
1. SO Jaden Oberkrom, 6-3, 182
2. JR Ryan DeNucci, 6-10, 190
1. FR Bryson Burtnett, 6-5, 225
1. JR Matt Brown, 6-1, 189
1. SO Ethan Perry, 6-4, 230
1. SO Deante Gray, 5-10, 180
2. SR Waymon James, 5-8, 203
3. JR Brandon Carter, 5-11, 161
1. SO Deante Gray, 5-10, 180
2. JR Brandon Carter, 5-11, 161
(Depth Chart according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
WR Brandon Carter
According to a report by Tim Griffin of The San Antonio Express-News, receiver Brandon Carter underwent hand surgery after suffering an injury in a team scrimmage.
In the report, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said that Carter should be fine for Week 1 against LSU.
“He’ll be all right. It’s not a big deal,” Patterson said. “He’ll play in the ballgame. He’ll be practicing next week. When he can tolerate the pain and catch the ball … once he can do that, then he goes.”
The Horned Frogs certainly will need Carter. He's the team leading returning receiver with 36 catches for 590 yards in 2012.
QB Casey Pachall
After his DWI arrest and subsequent dismissal from the team last season, Pachall is back to take the reins in Forth Worth. He is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the league and his reliability will be a huge factor in how well the team does.
"Casey is a very talented young man," TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. "How he handles everything and does will be an indication of how well we do in the Big 12 Conference. If you want to play well in the Big 12, you've got to play well at quarterback."
In the four games Pachall started last year, he racked up 948 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and just one pick.
DE Devonte Fields
Fields burst onto the scene last season, starting all 13 games as a freshman and being named the Big 12's defensive freshman of the year. He racked up 10 sacks and 53 tackles, including 18.5 for a loss.
But Fields' 2013 season will start on a sour note as he is suspended for the first two games of the year for violating a team rule.
CB Jason Verrett
Named to the preseason All-Big 12 team, Verrett is one of the elite playmakers in the conference. Last year, he was named a First Team All-American by SI.com and was a Third Team AP All-American.
He was also named a First Team All-Big 12 player after recording 63 tackles and leading the team with six interceptions and 16 broken up passes. He'll be a huge part of a defense that Patterson sees as critical to making his team competitive on a national stage again.
"When it gets all down to it, we can score a lot of points," Patterson said. "But for us to be a national contender on a national scene, you've got to be able to play great defense in November and December and then January ball games to win national titles."
Gary Patterson (13th year)
Since Patterson took over the TCU Horned Frogs program in 2000, the team has risen to new heights and has become a mainstay on the national stage. Since his arrival, Patterson has five conference titles to his belt and two appearances in BCS bowls, including a 2011 Rose Bowl win.
Patterson took over at TCU after his predecessor, Dennis Franchione, took the job at Alabama. Patterson was the defensive coordinator at the time.
Prior to taking the defensive coordinator job at TCU, Patterson spent time at New Mexico, Utah State and Navy, as well as a variety of FCS and Div. II schools.
DeMontie Cross—Linebackers Coach
Cross spent 2012 as the linebackers coach at Kansas under Charlie Weis before taking the job in Fort Worth. Before that, he was at Wisconsin as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach.
The new linebackers coach at TCU also has experience in the NFL coaching ranks, spending five years with the Buffalo Bills in a variety of roles. In 2010, he was the Bills' inside linebackers coach, the highest position he reached with the team.
Cross played his college ball at Missouri, where he accumulated 415 career tackles and led the Tigers in stops his last two seasons.
Curtis Luper—Wide Receivers Coach
Luper joins the TCU staff after spending the last four years as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Auburn, where he won a national title in 2010.
This isn't Luper's first job in the Big 12, as he was part of the Oklahoma State staff as the running backs coach from 2005-08. Luper also know what it's like to be in Texas, as he's a native of Sherman, Texas.
Prior to entering the coaching ranks, Luper spent time in the United States Army for four years. And before that, he played college football at Stephen F. Austin.
RB Waymon James
2013 Game Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. LSU*
Sept. 7 vs. SE Louisiana
Sept. 12 at Texas Tech
Sept. 28 vs. SMU
Oct. 5 at Oklahoma
Oct. 12 vs. Kansas
Oct. 19 at Oklahoma State
Oct. 26 vs. Texas
Nov. 2 vs. West Virginia
Nov. 9 at Iowa State
Nov. 16 at Kansas State
Nov. 30 vs. Baylor
*Neutral site game
Most Important Games:
August 3, vs. LSU
The Horned Frogs open up the regular season with a huge matchup against SEC powerhouse LSU. The game will be played at AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas.
TCU is looking to rebound from a shaky season last year. Well, the Horned Frogs will sure have an opportunity to do just that against the Tigers. This game will be nationally televised on ESPN and is sure to be one of the biggest draws of Week 1.
This game will also mark the return of quarterback Casey Pachall as he attempts to comeback from his dismissal last year.
October 5 at Oklahoma
Last year, the Horned Frogs had the Oklahoma Sooners on the ropes in Fort Worth, dropping a close game 24-17. But as TCU looks for revenge for a close loss, they'll now travel to Norman, Okla. for the first time as members of the Big 12.
This game is going to be hyped up in a big way, as the Sooners and Horned Frogs should be two of the better teams in the Big 12.
October 26 vs. Texas
The Horned Frogs will be coming off a three-week span where they will have traveled to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. So a big game at home will be well overdue by the time this one rolls around.
Last year's signature win for TCU was it's 20-13 win in Austin. The Longhorns will surely be looking for some payback. But if TCU lives up to their hype, they may be a tough team to beat at home.
Traditionally, the Horned Frogs have one of the best offenses in the country. But last year, that slipped a bit as backup quarterback Trevone Boykin was forced to takeover following Casey Pachall's dismissal.
But with Pachall back, this offense is sure to reach prolific levels.
"Having a Casey Pachall back, I think he was the No. 1 ranked quarterback after four games when we set him aside," head coach Gary Patterson said. "I think tells you when he comes back and plays at that level, it gives us a better chance to win."
Probably the biggest concern for TCU's offense is replacing Blaize Foltz and James Fry on the offensive line. Both were crucial players in providing some consistency for the Horned Frogs' offense last year.
Running back Waymon James is also poised to have a big year. James led the team in rushing in 2011, but missed most of 2012 with a leg injury.
Brandon Carter is one of the most talented receivers in the conference, and he'll surely be a top target for Pachall. He's the team's leading returning receiver with 590 yards and six touchdowns on 36 catches last year.
Style-wise, this team uses a mix of sets and tempos. At times they'll go no-huddle, and other times they'll slow the ball down. Fans saw TCU use a lot less no-huddle last year when Boykin took over.
“Last year we got away from it with a redshirt freshman quarterback,” Patterson said. “We used to be one of the guys that would go pretty fast.”
So with Pachall back, the Horned Frogs should be expected to pick up the tempo a little bit this year, especially to continue their adjustment into the high-octane speed of the Big 12.
Last year, the Horned Frogs gave up the 30th-fewest points in college football at just 22.6 per game.
And that was thanks largely in part to the efforts of defensive end Devonte Fields and cornerback Jason Verrett, both of whom are back this season.
Another name to watch on defense is safety Sam Carter. The junior was a Second Team All-Big 12 member last year after starting all 13 games and racking up 63 tackles and four interceptions.
This defense runs a 4-3 set and is loaded with talent and experience. You can make the argument that this defense is the best in the Big 12.
However, this unit will start behind the eight ball in 2013 with Fields' suspension, which will last two games.
One of the biggest goals for the team is to limit the no-huddle offenses that dominate the Big 12.
"I don't think there's any magic formula, but you can't allow offenses to dictate," head coach Gary Patterson said. "You've got to be able to practice so you can be as multiple as what they are on offense and be able to call it just as fast, and that's one of the things that we try to work on."
If the Horned Frogs want to take a step forward in the Big 12 this year, it will have to come from their defense.
The Rushing Attack
With Pachall and Boykin both at TCU's disposal, it's hard to imagine the squad will struggle in the passing game. However, having a balanced attack is key to any offense. So the production of Waymon James and TCU's ability to run the ball will play a huge role this year.
James is set to come back from an injury which kept him out of most of the 2012 season. Over his career at Fort Worth, James has racked up 1,556 yards and 12 touchdowns on 225 carries (6.9 yards per carry).
K Jaden Oberkrom
Oberkrom was awarded preseason All-Big 12 honors as the league's best kicker. And rightfully so.
Last year, Oberkrom made 9-of-10 kicks from 40-49 yards out and was a perfect 42-of-42 on extra point attempts.
A quality kicker is a huge weapon for any team. And it could come in handy should the Horned Frogs need a clutch kick late in a game. So Oberkrom is certainly one of the biggest tools that TCU has at its disposal.
Can Casey Pachall Stay Out of Trouble?
Pachall will be given another chance to show TCU that he's the man for the job both on and off the field. On the field, he's been one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
But off the field, his run-ins with the law involving drugs and alcohol have led to a turbulent career with the Horned Frogs. But now he's back and, according to head coach Gary Patterson, he's working on focusing on just himself and the team.
"I'm letting him do his thing, keep the pressure off of him," Patterson said. "I think having a two‑quarterback situation that we feel like we have two quarterbacks now that can go win ball games in the Big 12 is a positive as far as the pressure type and go forward."
The Horned Frogs will certainly need the talents of Pachall to stay competitive. The team was ranked 13th in the Coaches Poll prior to his dismissal. Just a few days after Trevone Boykin took over, the Horned Frogs dropped a game to Iowa State.
If Pachall can stay out of trouble, he could end up leading his team to a Big 12 title.
A Brutal October
Over a four-game span in October, the Horned Frogs will play the other three teams ranked in the top four of the preseason Big 12 poll. First, they travel to Norman, Okla. to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Then after a home matchup against Kansas, they go on the road again to face Oklahoma State before returning home to face the Texas Longhorns.
That's a brutal schedule for a team that's looking to contend for a Big 12 title. If the Horned Frogs can win three games in the month of October though, they could have the inside track to a BCS berth.
The TCU Horned Frogs will take major steps forward in their second season in the Big 12. After a Week 1 upset of LSU, the Horned Frogs will finish the season 10-2 with a 7-2 mark in Big 12 play. That will be good enough to win the Big 12 and send the Horned Frogs to the Fiesta Bowl.
Aug. 31 vs. LSU (W)
Sept. 7 vs. SE Louisiana (W)
Sept. 12 @ Texas Tech (W)
Sept. 28 vs. SMU (W)
Oct. 5 @ Oklahoma (L)
Oct. 12 vs. Kansas (W)
Oct. 19 @ Oklahoma State (W)
Oct. 26 vs. Texas (W)
Nov. 2 vs. West Virginia (W)
Nov. 9 @ Iowa State (W)
Nov. 16 @ Kansas State (L)
Nov. 30 vs. Baylor (W)