TCU Horned Frogs
We'll be breaking down the pros and cons on the TCU Horned Frogs for the upcoming BCS Rose Bowl vs the 11-1 Wisconsin Badgers.
TCU has put together another impressive season by dominating almost every opponent they faced this year. Still questions will loom of how they will truly stack up against the powerhouse of Wisconsin.
Although overlooked for most of the year due to lack of national media exposure, lets see why the Horned Frogs might give Wisconsin a run for their money.
TCU has Andy Dalton running the offense for his fourth year. Texas' own Dalton has had a stellar season this year, putting up 26 TDs with only 6 INTs.
His ability to maneuver around defenders is shown by him only being sacked eight times all season, and total over 400 yards rushing.
The state of Texas turns out a plethora of big QBs each year, and at 220 pounds, 6'3", Dalton fits the mold.
He has continued to improve each season and this year had his career best 66.2 completion percentage, and a career best 9 yards per pass attempt.
The kid from Katy, Texas will be completing Sunday passes on a TV real soon.
TCU Running Game led by Ed Wesley
Led by Ed Wesley, the Running Backs at TCU are the true engine of the offense. The ability to run means you can control the clock, and at over 3,000 rushing yards this year, TCU keeps the opponent's defense on their heels.
Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker, both Sophomores, not only are reliable backs who read the seams that their offensive line creates, but are also difficult to tackle.
These two may not break many long TD runs, like that seen by Arkansas's combo of McFadden and Jones a few years back, but they do consistently grind out the yardage to keep the chains moving and the opponent's offense off the field.
Add freshman Waymon James, who ran almost 500 yards, and its clear this squad has a future running the ball for years to come at TCU.
TCU's Jeremy Kerley
TCU was led in receptions this year by senior Jeremy Kerley. Kerley, another Texas native, caught 50 passes this year and added 10 touchdowns.
Freshman Josh Boyce led the Frogs in over 600 yards receiving. Add Jimmy Young and Bart Johnson to the mix, and you have four targets which are agile enough to break a simple screen pass into a TD at any time.
With most of their duties blocking, the Tight Ends for TCU don't catch a lot of passes. The TE corps this year was led by Logan Brock with a meager six receptions.
One thing's for sure, with the already proven running game of TCU, QB Dalton has a multitude of weapons to throw at the Badgers on New Year's Day.
TCU's Tank Carder and Tejay Johnson
Speed, Speed, Speed.... summarizes the heart of the TCU defense. Implementing a twist with a 4-2-5 defense, TCU relies more on reacting to the ball vs. clogging up the holes with linebackers.
Having five 'safeties', you would think TCU gives up a lot of running yardage, but the TCU defensive line, and linebacker corps are top notch.
Tank Carder leads a slew of stars on defense which include First Team All MWC selections of Carder, DE Wayne Daniels, S Tejay Johnson and LB Tanner Brock.
The greatest advantage of a 4-2-5, is constantly changing formations which keep opposing QB's confused of where the passing lanes will be.
TCU will have its hands full for the Rose Bowl, though, with a powerful force of Badger running backs like James White and John Clay, combining for just under 2,000 yards combined rushing this season..
TCU's Ross Evans
TCU takes exceptional detail in their special teams. They understand how important kicks, punts, and turnovers are in relation to their offense and defense.
Under a detailed scheme of role players, TCU shows very specific plans in where to place a kick or punt, how coverage is attacked and studies how important field position plays in the percentage a team scores.
They also know when receiving a punt or kick (usually with star WR Jeremy Kerley), how much easier it will be for their team to score with great field position.
Looking at stats, Kerley's return numbers wouldn't appear staggering, but what's not seen is how often a punter kicks so far away from him, that the opposing punts go out of bounds way short of their intended distance.
Anson Kelton heads up the punting for TCU and averages a respectable 42.2 yards a punt.
Ross Evans handles the kicks. His stats are hard to read since TCU rarely attempts field goals (average only one per game). He has missed five extra points this year, however.
TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson
So how does Gary Patterson, Head Coach at TCU compete in recruiting and performance against the 'Big' named colleges in the area?
He has a heart of compassion to let all players have a chance to bring their best to the playing field. That may sound simple, but too often coaches overlook players for certain spots because they have their minds made up too early.
Patterson expects his players to compete for a Championship every year. The staff's motto, “Take young men where they cannot take themselves," says a lot for the expectation he has on himself and his staff.
His has spent 10 years at TCU and has led them to at least 11 wins in four of the last six seasons. Remarkable.
With so many teams having much more media coverage than TCU, you can only wonder why.
More balanced conferences elsewhere? No Big Name Players? Liberal Media? Who knows?
But what is known, is that the TCU Horned Frogs are a well-coached, well-balanced, disciplined bunch that have shown they can compete with the best in college football.
On Jan. 1, 2011, at the 97th Rose Bowl, they will have their biggest stage in decades. Now we can just see if they can earn more respect in the national fan base and pollsters. A big win over the talented and red hot Wisconsin Badgers could do just that.