From Tigers to Lions

The Horned Frogs are looking for their first win of the season on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: Kent Gilley
The Horned Frogs are looking for their first win of the season on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: Kent Gilley

By Will Martin

There are several schools of thought that experts of the gridiron like to pontificate on when a perceived powerhouse of a program loses to a more established program in a different conference. Then the loser of that game goes home to tackle a perceived powder puff of a performance.

Enter SE Louisiana to Ft. Worth at Amon Carter Stadium!

Indeed there were quite a few things that worked in last week’s defeat to LSU, especially on special teams. You also had a couple of ill-advised turnovers that were costly late. BJ Catalon is always one touch away from paydirt on a kickoff or a handoff.

Casey Pachall will in all probability get the lions share (no pun intended) of the snaps as the season progresses. For now Gary Patterson continues to speak about platooning with Trevone Boykin.

Catalon’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against LSU tied for second longest in TCU history, behind only a 105-yard effort by Charles Casper against Texas in 1933. That play earned him Big 12 Special Teams Player Of The Week.

Gary Patterson addressed the media earlier this week on a multitude of topics.

On this week’s game …
“Southeastern Louisiana is a good football team. They have a couple guys who are nominated as Players to Watch for the Senior Bowl. They’ve also had a couple guys drafted. They are always going to have good players. They played on a Thursday, so they’ve had some extra days to get ready for us. As a head coach when you’ve played a really big ballgame perception wise, you always worry about the emotions of your football team.

Week two is the week you want to get better. There were seven (FBS) schools who got upset in the last week by FCS schools. We just need to go take care of our business. I’m sure they have aspirations. They have some Texas kids on their team, so they know a little bit about us. We’ve got work to do.”

On if the TCU defense will have to make any adjustments in facing USL …
“We’re going to play people who will do exactly what they do. Texas Tech, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State also have running quarterbacks. They all run a lot of the same stuff. There are a lot of things we will work on that will prepare us for others down the road.”

On whether it is difficult to prepare for a team with new players from the junior college level …
“We’ve seen the one ballgame they played at home. Like I told my team, this is not just about them. This is about us. We’ve always approached these games, especially the second week of the season, on how we prepare and take what we did in the first ballgame and move forward. This week is no different. It’s a five-week span when you have the Thursday game (Sept. 12) and then two weeks off. We’re able to do everything we need to do knowing we’ll be playing on a Thursday night in a week and two days, and then we’ll have 16 days off to grow our team up.”

On whether he has to remind his team not to overlook FCS opponents …
“I always talk about the Northwestern State game (a TCU loss in 2001). It is not what anyone else thinks. It’s about us having confidence and a good thought process going into the game.”

On the difficulties in preparing for Southeastern Louisiana …
“Defensively, they’re all over the place. It is really hard to tell how they do things. They cause people a lot of problems. For our young wide receivers, that is a problem in picking up coverages and blitzes. They do everything offensively, including every personnel group under the sun. We have to prepare for them while not knowing which grouping they’re going to use this week.

I broke them down five games from last year and their opener. You have a quarterback who has been at Oregon and played in ballgames at a high level. He goes along with three really good tailbacks and an offensive line that has most of their starters back. They have 18 starters returning. This won’t be anything new for them. They played (FBS) opponents last year in UAB and Missouri.”

Today marks the second season the TCU Horned Frogs play at Amon Carter Stadium following 164 million dollars in renovations. It should also be noted that TCU (under Gary Patterson) is 24-8 following a loss in the regular season.

Kind of a rarity, this marks a rare Bayou Exacta in that the Frogs face a team from Louisiana a second time. TCU has won 28 of its last 33 games with a record of 58-11 under Coach Patterson at Amon Carter Stadium.

Ron Roberts is in his second year as Lions coach after a 6-6 year in 2012. His career record in seven years as a coach is 53-22. Look for Quarterback Bryan Bennett to do a lot of passing, rushing, misdirection and play action. SE Louisiana has been compared to a 1A team that may not necessarily defeat you but they will wear you down physically.

Rasheed Harrell, Jeremy Meyers, and Jeff Smiley may be a cause of concern offensively for the Frogs to supplement Bryan Bennett. Defensively Jacob Newman and Jeremy Williams will try to be a disruption to Casey Pachall, Brandon Carter, and BJ Catalon.

This isn’t a question of if, only how much, TCU wins this game by. My guess is this game will be close to the vest before adjustments are made at halftime before TCU pulls away say 41-14. Short of saying this is a must win the next two weeks for TCU are crucial before enjoying a two week break. Look for special teams to continue to shine against a Lions squad hurt by injuries.

Happy Frog Watching.