2009 TCU Horned Frogs Football Preview
2008 Record: (11-2, 7-1)
2008 Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl vs. Boise State (W 17-16)
Coach: Gary Patterson (73-27 at TCU, 73-27 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jarrett Anderson and Justin Fuente
Defensive Coordinator: Dick Bumpas
Other Key Returnees: OT Marcus Cannon, RB Ryan Christian, G Kyle Dooley, K Ross Evans, WR Bart Johnson, S Tejay Johnson, OT Marshall Newhouse, CB Rafael Priest
Key Losses: RB Aaron Brown, WR Walter Bryant, S Steven Coleman, LB Robert Henson, S Stephen Hodge, G Giles Montgomery, DT Cody Moore, DE Matt Panfil, LB Jason Phillips, TE Shae Reagan, C Blake Schlueter, DT James Vess
Texas Christian dominated on the defensive side of the ball last year. The team ranked first in the nation in rushing defense and total defense and second in scoring defense, giving up a mere 11.31 points per game. Coach Gary Patterson has some major holes to fill on that side of the ball, but the Horned Frogs are known for their stingy defense and that should not change now.
However, the strength of the team could be on offense where just about everybody returns. TCU rushed for over 220 yards per game and they could be even better this year. Aaron Brown is gone, but Joseph Turner, who led the team with 577 rushing yards in 2008, and Ryan Christian form a dynamic backfield duo who most defenses will have trouble stopping. The offensive line did a great job last year and should be strong once again led by tackle Marshall Newhouse. The news on the offensive side of the ball just keeps getting better with the improvement of quarterback Andy Dalton. The junior now has two years of starting experience under his belt and he is ready to take the next step. Even as a sophomore he connected on nearly 60 percent of his passes and only threw five interceptions. With Jimmy Young ready to emerge as a superstar receiver, Dalton should be in for a big year.
It is really difficult to call the TCU defense a weakness, but only four starters are back. One of those starters is defensive end Jerry Hughes. Last year he tallied an amazing 15.0 sacks and 19.5 tackles-for-loss. However, Hughes had players like Matt Panfil and Cody Moore by his side and that helped distract the opposing offensive line. Teams would certainly focus on Hughes when possible, but Panfil and Moore made it very difficult to do so. That may not be the case this year if the Horned Frogs cannot find another pass rusher or two. In TCU’s 4-2-5 defense, the two linebackers had to be versatile and dominating players. Jason Phillips and Robert Henson certainly fit that description and finding a way to replace those two will be nearly impossible. Most of the starters who are returning are in the secondary, but Nick Sanders and Steven Coleman will not be as effective without a consistent pass rush from the rest of the team.
The Bottom Line for the Horned Frogs:
There are holes to fill on defense, but TCU has talented players like linebacker Daryl Washington who should be able to fill the void. It may take a little while for everything to come together, but the Horned Frogs are not going to lose games because of their defense very often. And if the offense can develop into something special, this could be a big, big year for Texas Christian and Coach Patterson.
By Joel Welser
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