TCU can’t be too upset with how 2015 ended, considering the injuries they dealt with at quarterback and receiver. The Horned Frogs finished with 11 wins, their only two losses at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, and made a miraculous comeback in the Alamo Bowl to beat Oregon. That result should give this team some confidence heading into the new year even without a starting quarterback decided.
The race at QB is between Foster Sawyer and Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill. Sawyer didn’t show much in limited time last year, but he does have experience in this offense, while Hill has more college experience playing with the Aggies. Either way, the quarterback will be joined by a lot of new faces.
Kyle Hicks (262 yards, 3 TDs) is set to be the starting running back after backing up Aaron Green, with Shaun Nixon (47 receptions) expected to help out as well. Receiver may be a bigger question, but KaVontae Turpin (45 receptions, 649 yards, 8 TDs) will still be there. Other than Turpin, it’s a battle for time, with Deante Gray fighting off more inexperienced options. The line will also be mostly new, although TCU exited spring with its five starters. At the least, the Frogs have some experience to work with in Joseph Noteboom and Aviante Collins.
Due to a lot of new pieces on the offensive side, TCU may have to turn to a more defensive approach, as opposed to how they’ve played in year’s past. That may be a little difficult in the offense-heavy Big 12, but Gary Patterson has continued to have success with his team.
To have a chance at the Conference title, TCU’s defense needs to be healthy, something that didn’t happen last year. That includes corner Ranthony Texada, safety Kenny Iloka and end James McFarland. If those guys can stay healthy, this unit will be good to go with depth. Defensive end Josh Carraway is probably the best in the Conference and that position should be a strong suit on the defense.
Linebacker was also a problem last year, but due to that, more guys got experience and this group is now deeper led by Montrel Wilson and Travin Howard. The same can be said for the secondary with young corners Tony James and Jeff Gladney stepping up in the spring, while Nick Orr can play whatever position is needed.
TCU will get to test its offense right off the bat with an early home Game against Arkansas, which could easily be a loss. Getting a win there would be vital to the confidence of the Horned Frogs, as they have to take on Oklahoma only a few weeks later. It doesn’t get any easier for them with a road Game at Baylor and then another one against Texas on only Four days of rest. Even if the defense is good, it may not be good enough since the offense probably won’t reach the same levels as seen in recent seasons. Maybe 10 wins is expected, but winning the Big 12 will be tough.
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2016 TCU Horned Frogs Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. South Dakota State
Sept. 10 vs. Arkansas
Sept. 17 vs. Iowa State
Sept. 24 at SMU
Oct. 1 vs. Oklahoma
Oct. 8 at Kansas
Oct. 22 at West Virginia
Oct. 29 vs. Texas Tech
Nov. 5 at Baylor
Nov. 19 vs. Oklahoma State
Nov. 24 at Texas
Dec. 3 vs. Kansas State