TCU Horned Frogs 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record: 7-6 (4-5)
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Odds To Win The Big 12: 15-4 See the Latest Odds
TCU Horned Frogs
Head Coach: Gary Patterson (116-36) 13th Year
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Record: 7-6, 4-5 Conference
Last Bowl Appearance: 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 17-16 L vs. Michigan State
8/31 LSU at Arlington
9/7 SE Louisiana
9/14 at Texas Tech
10/5 at Oklahoma
10/19 at Oklahoma State
11/2 West Virginia
11/9 at Iowa State
11/16 at Kansas State
2012 Review: TCU was a mainstay atop the Mountain West for the bulk of its stay in the conference, but detractors will ultimately point to their 4-5 conference finish as evidence that joining the Big 12 last season was merely an ill-fated attempt at marrying up. Granted, the Mountain West is a couple rungs down from a BCS conference in terms of overall talent, but the Horned Frogs were certainly not outclassed in 2012. In close losses to Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, TCU put up a combined 1,210 yards and 84 points, despite the loss of QB Casey Pachall, who was suspended from the team a quarter of the way through the season after being arrested for a DWI. But rather than get swallowed up by the prospect of having to navigate their first Big 12 campaign with a red shirt freshman at QB in Trevone Boykin, the Horned Frogs embraced it and managed to avoid getting steamrolled by bigger and better competition. The highlight, of course, was the 20-13 win at Texas on Thanksgiving Day.
Player Ready to Shine: Senior QB Casey Pachall (6-5, 230). Before last season’s misfortunes, Pachall was poised to take the Big 12 by storm, throwing for 948 YDs, 10 TDs, and 1 INT on 66% passing in the four games prior to the start of the Big 12 slate. With nearly a year to digest how much is at stake, expect a hyper-focused Pachall to emerge as the NFL prospect he was always destined to become.
Offense: The QB situation obviously looks solid with the return of Pachall. Soph. QB Trevone Boykin (6-2, 215), though, not only proved his ability to run this offense in 2012, he showed glimpses of the future of TCU football and, after Andy Dalton and Paschall, the more mobile brand of quarterbacking waiting in the wings. As far as targets, Paschall will enter 2013 with some questions at the WR position. Jr. WR Brandon Carter (5-11, 186) leads the unit’s returning talent, with 36 catches for 590 YDS and 6 TDs last season, while Juniors Cam White (6-3, 200) and David Porter (6-0, 197), and Soph Ladarious Brown, (6-4, 220) round out the First Team depth chart coming out of spring workouts. In the backfield, the return of Waymon James (5-8, 203) from a season-ending knee injury last season in week 2, will likely have a huge impact. Soph. B.J. Catalon (5-9190) became the workhouse in James’ absence, rushing for 582 YDs on 123 carries as a freshman. Joining James and Catalon on the depth chart at RB will be Nebraska transfer Aaron Green (5-11, 200), who sat out last season. As a true freshman with the Cornhuskers, Green ran for 105 YDS and two TDs. The O-Line is green. Soph. Guards Jamelle Naff (6-4, 325) and Joey Hunt (6-3, 288) lead the depth chart heading into the season and their play will be pivotal to the success of the ground game. Sr. C Eric Tausch (6-3, 300), Soph. T Aviante Collins (6-6, 285), and Jr. T Tayo Fabuluje (6-7, 315) should provide some depth, with a combined 39 starts between them, but last year’s sputtering ground game coupled with thin pass protection needs fixing. JUCO transfer Jr. Lloyd Tunstill (6-4, 305) and Fr. Matt Pryor (6-7, 350) could also see playing time.
Defense: In 2012, The Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in total defense and run defense, although their record was hardly indicative. This season, they could be one of the nation’s best, with Sr. All-American CB Jason Verett (5-10, 176) its standout. Verett recorded 63 tackles (46 solo) and 5 for a loss, with six INTs in 2012. He’ll be flanked by Jr. CB Kevin White (5-10, 174), 37 tackles and one pick in 2012. Jr. SS Sam Carter (6-1, 215) was a second team All-Big 12 selection last season with 63 tackles, six for a loss, and four INTs last season. Soph. Derek Kindred (5-10, 210) will get the start at FS after seeing significant playing time as a true freshman last season. The LB corps lost its most productive member in Joel Hasley, who started ten games as a walk-on in 2012 and recorded 79 tackles. Expected to step in at MLB is rangy Jr. Jonathan Anderson (6-3, 220), a former Safety with blazing 4.4 speed who recorded 28 tackles in a limited role last season. Along with Anderson, Juniors Marcus Mallet (6-1, 227) and Paul Dawson (6-2, 230) lead the unit’s depth chart heading into the season. The D-Line is stout, with returning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year DE Devonte Fields (6-4, 240) as its anchor. As a true freshman in 2012, Fields posted 53 tackles, including 34 solo stops, 18.5 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks. Opposite Fields at DE will be Sr. John Koontz (6-2, 265), 16 tackles, four for a loss, last season. Jr. DT Chucky Hunter (6-1, 300) will be the plug in the middle. Hunter earned second team All-Big 12 honors in 2012 with 26 tackles, 8 for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. Soph DT Davion Pierson (6-2, 305) and Jr. DT Jon Lewis (6-2, 290) round out the D-Line depth chart.
Special Teams: Sophomores K Jaden Oberkrom and P Ethan Perry are two standouts that should excel in 2013. Oberkrom, a semi-finalist for the nation’s top placekicker in 2012, hit 22 of 30 field goal attempts and a perfect 42 of 42 extra points. Perry, a freshman All-America in 2012, averaged 44.5 yards per punt. Soph. WR Deante Gray (5-10, 175), averaged 22.4 YDS per punt return last season and could see double duty as a kick returner this season. WR Brandon Carter is another return option. He averaged 25.1 YDS per kick return in 2012.
Final Thoughts: Things are looking up for TCU with the return of what should be more than half of its offense in Pachall and James, but scheduling LSU the first game of 2013 could lead to early trouble, with huge conference games at Texas Tech and Oklahoma looming in weeks three and five. Proving their Big12 worth this season has to be high priority for the Horned Frogs, so heading into the meat of the conference schedule as close to unblemished as possible is of paramount importance.
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