Each week of the football season, Bevo Beat interviews a reporter who covers Texas’ upcoming opponent. Carlos Mendez, TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, answered five questions on the Horned Frogs. Follow him @calexmendez. Thursday’s game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at DKR.
Q: Why did TCU struggle at Kansas [34-30 win, Nov. 15]?
A: What [TCU coach] Gary Patterson has talked about is a sense that the team was tired. They were playing their eighth game in eight weeks, coming off a charged win against K-State, and also beat-up. What’s interesting, though, is that they came out sharp. They scored on the opening drive, forced a three-and-out and had the punt blocked. Instead, it was roughing the kicker, Kansas made a couple of plays, and things started bouncing the other way. Freezing cold, empty stadium, confident opponent, a fluke here, a fluke there — it all made for a bad day. No wonder Patterson said he didn’t even think about trying for a late touchdown. He was just trying to get out of there.
Q: What has enabled Trevone Boykin to go from being an OK quarterback to a Heisman Trophy contender?
A: The biggest thing is TCU invested time and resources in him as a quarterback. He was a quarterback from Day 1 of spring training, stayed at quarterback through the summer and did nothing but be a quarterback in fall practice. The new offensive coordinators, Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, decided early he was their man, and they locked themselves in the film room with him to teach him the offense —it’s Mike Leach’s “Air Raid,” — so Cumbie knows the reads and footwork and throwing windows inside and out. Give Boykin credit. He was a good student.
Q: Name one TCU player that doesn’t get much attention but should.
A: Davison Pierson, the defensive tackle. He and the other DT, Chucky Hunter, really control gaps and pressure the middle of the pocket. But Pierson is the heart and energy of the front seven. Big, mobile, disruptive, plays with passion. Little bit of a mean streak.
Q: Should it get in, is TCU good enough to win the College Football Playoff? (TCU’s currently ranked fifth)
A: Sure. Anybody that can play run defense, get takeaways and pressure you with a dual-threat quarterback has a chance. Those are the Horned Frogs’ strengths. They’ve become a contender because they started scoring points. But the other things they’ve been known for are still there.
Q: There will be at least one major head coaching opening (Florida) and likely two (Michigan) at the end of this season. Do you think Patterson will ever leave TCU for something bigger?
A: No. Patterson’s put a lot of work into this setup. He’s at a Power 5 school, can recruit to that, and is already in position to win conference titles. If he went anywhere else, he’d have another rebuild on his hands. He’s 54. He’s got a chance to coach in Fort Worth for 10 or 15 more years if he wants and get some legitimate chances at a national title in that time. Plus, he can still be an underdog at TCU, and he plays that card well.
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