The Texas Longhorns are trying to do something they haven’t done since 2013, head into Fort Worth and come away with a win over the TCU Horned Frogs. The Horned Frogs are coming off of a loss to their crosstown rival, the SMU Mustangs, but always seem to be ready to go against Texas.
So what TCU team will show up on Saturday? To get an answer to that question we reached out to Melissa Triebwasser (@TheCoachMelissa) of Frogs O’ War (@FrogsOWar)
Burnt Orange Nation: This doesn’t seem like something that a Gary Patterson team would fall victim to, but based on recent trends it seems like TCU may look past the week before Texas and get geared up for Texas. What do you think about that storyline and is there actually something to the trend?
Melissa Triebwasser, Frogs O’ War: I absolutely think there is, maybe less for Patterson though and more for the players. Hell, Gary was mad that we published a story about the kickoff time for the Texas game being set during SMU week, so I think he knew that his guys were already thinking about the Longhorns. Now, that doesn’t excuse getting muscled after a bye week like the Frogs did Saturday, but recent history absolutely shows that this game means a hell of a lot more to the players than whatever comes before it or after it.
Now... this whole “flag-planting, Jerry Kill had a helmet thrown at him, Sonny Dykes didn’t call me” narrative that he’s been stringing along all week? I have no idea what that is supposed to be.
BON: Against SMU, offensively it seemed like TCU had a bit of an identity crisis, which caused them to fall behind SMU and never really catch up. What should we expect to see from Doug Meacham on Saturday against Texas?
MT: I don’t know that TCU had an identity crisis on offense, I would more say that they completely lost who they were on defense which caused them to play catch up on offense and ultimately led to them following a game plan that didn’t make a ton of sense. Why you would ask Max Duggan to throw deep as often as they did while also giving Zach Evans just 18 touches makes no sense, and I can’t justify it. Meach has so far fallen into the trap that drove us nuts with Cumbie: dammit this square peg WILL fit in this round hole eventually!
As far as what to expect from Meach and company? Based on the first three games of the season, your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea who we are on offense or who they are trying to be — or if they are trying to use the personnel that they have to run the offense that they want regardless of whether or not it’s actually working.
What would I like to see them do? Let Zach EAT, maximize Duggan’s skills by using the intermediate passing game and the middle of the field, and take the occasional early-down shot over the top to stretch the defense with Quentin Johnston and Savion Williams. Taye Barber and JD Spielman have proven that they can turn short passes into big gains, so follow the NFL model and use the passing game as an extension of the running game when teams stack the box to stop Evans.
BON: TCU could get anywhere from 2-5 defensive starters back for the game against Texas, changing the landscape and outcome of this game. What should we expect to see different from the TCU defense with those pieces coming back?
I have no idea if we will see Noah Daniels or Khari Coleman on the field, and anyone that says that they know something is flat-out lying. And even if those two do return, will they be good in their first action of the year? I can’t see even a full deck making a huge difference when it comes to play on the field — it’s more about execution and effort than talent in my opinion. Now, the one exception to that could be Corey Bethley, who is apparently a huge difference-maker when it comes to stopping the run based on how inept the defensive front looked without him last week.
BON: Who is one player on the TCU team that you think will have the biggest impact on this game and why?
MT: If it’s not Zach Evans we have royally effed up. He needs a minimum of 22 touches if the Frogs are going to have a chance, and if he has one of those signature-type games, maybe we have a shot.
BON: What’s one storyline you’re watching on Saturday?
MT: Which Gary Patterson team shows up? All we heard all offseason was how much these guys like each other, how hard they play for each other, how locked in they are on the goal. Then you play SMU and look like the JV. Embarrassing. If this team is as good as they wanted us to believe they could be, they better show up and send a message Saturday. Otherwise, the fanbase might be checked out and the seat might start getting really warm for GP. That doesn’t mean they have to win, they just better look like they are trying and that they care.
BON: What’s your score prediction for Saturday?
MT: I don’t believe we can stop the run, and that’s going to allow the Longhorns to control the clock, field position, and set the tempo. 41-31 Texas.