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2011 TCU Preview - Offense
TCU QB Casey Pachall
TCU QB Casey Pachall
Posted Jun 22, 2011 2011 Preview - TCU Horned Frog Offense

TCU Horned Frogs

Preview 2011 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: Everything came together for the TCU offense last season with four-year starting QB Andy Dalton leading an all-star cast that dominated throughout the regular season with depth, explosion, and clutch playmaking ability. While the attack isn’t starting from scratch, it’ll have to rely on a slew of new players to try to maintain the same high level of play. It all starts at quarterback where the tremendously talented Casey Pachall has major expectations to live up to. The backfield is loaded with outstanding runners with the trio of Ed Wesley, Matthew Tucker, and Waymon James forming a terrific rotation. The receiving corps loses Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young, but Josh Boyce is a great young target and the recruiting class is loaded with future stars. The problem could be the line that has to replace four starters, and while the production might not fall off the map, replacing talents like OT Marcus Cannon and C Jake Kirkpatrick will be a problem.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Casey Paschall
6-9, 78 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Ed Wesley
166 carries, 1,078 yds, 11 TD
Receiving: Josh Boyce
34 catches, 646 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Junior RB Ed Wesley
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore QB Casey Pachall
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT James Dunbar
Best pro prospect: Dunbar
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Wesley, 2) Dunbar, 3) RB Matthew Tucker
Strength of the offense: Running Back, Mobile Quarterbacks
Weakness of the offense: Veteran Offensive Linemen, No. 1 Receiver


State of the Unit: Andy Dalton might not have always been the flashiest quarterback around, but he was a peerless winner, a great game-manager, and when he needed to be, he was a tremendous playmaker. TCU would’ve been good with another quarterback, but it wouldn’t have beaten Wisconsin, and it might not have even been in the Rose Bowl, unless Dalton was being Dalton. Fortunately for TCU, there’s plenty of talent waiting to step up and play a big role.

Waiting in the wings over the last few years has been Casey Pachall , a promising 6-4, 208-pound sophomore who saw a little bit of time in blowouts and stepped in for a banged up Dalton in the layup over New Mexico. He only completed 6-of-9 passes for 78 yards and a score on the year, and ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns, but he has the dual-threat ability to do become a statistical superstar. Can he be the same leader and the same steadying force that Dalton was? That’ll be the big question going forward, but there’s no denying the talent considering several of the big name big boys wanted him. A star recruit, he might be a better all-around player than Dalton by the time his career is up.

With Yogi Gallegos leaving the program, the No. 2 job is there for redshirt freshman Matt Brown to own. The 6-1, 185-pounder doesn’t have the presence of Casey Pachall, but he’s a dangerous dual-threat option with excellent mobility and a live enough arm to be a factor for the passing game. While he was a strong recruit, he’s not the prospect that Pachall was. Even so, he’ll get every shot to show that he can be the main man.

Watch Out For … Pachall to add more of a rushing element to the equation. Dalton was mobile and finished fourth on the team with 435 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry, but Pachall has the potential to hit the 750-yard mark if he’s given the opportunity to carry the attack.
Strength: Mobility. Pachall and Brown can both move better than Dalton and both add more of a rushing threat to the equation. Defensive coordinators had to worry about Dalton leaving the pocket, but they’ll have to gameplan to stop Pachall and/or Brown.
Weakness: Andy Dalton. Yeah, Florida wanted Pachall, and he could’ve had his pick of several top programs, and Brown was a hot prospect, but Dalton was special and he’ll be remembered as one of college football’s greatest winners. He was the ultimate gamer and it’s unfair to try to replace what he brought to the program.
Outlook: No, Pachall and Brown might not be Dalton, but if they can be efficient throwing the ball and if they can keep the chains moving, they’ll be more than fine. There’s a chance that Pachall could be a more dangerous player with a little bit of time, and with the size and the skills to become a more dangerous passer, he could end up adding more to the equation than Dalton. Does he have the intangibles? That’ll be the big question.
Unit Rating: 7

Running Backs

State of the Unit: TCU might not have the brand name running backs that other top programs do, but it can boast one of the deepest rotations in college football with the three top runners back and a slew of tremendous prospects waiting in the wings to show what they can do. As last year showed, the offense could plug in any of the options in at any time and get production. It should be more of the same this year, but the overall role of the backs could be decreased a wee bit if Casey Pachall turns into more of a running quarterback than Andy Dalton was.

5-9, 200-pound junior Ed Wesley was a promising veteran coming into last season after running for 638 yards as a freshman, but he exploded with a phenomenal first half of the season including a 209-yard, two touchdown day against Air Force and with 165 yards and two touchdowns against Baylor. While he’s not all that big and he wore down a bit and was held to just 13 yards on four carries in the Rose Bowl, he was the main man for the running game in key stretches during the season. A tremendously quick, tough back who isn’t afraid to pound out the hard yards when needed, he has to stay healthy and he has to be on a bit of a pitch count; he’s not going to be a 25-carry workhorse. The Doak Walker semifinalist led the team with 1,078 yards and 11 touchdowns averaging 6.5 yards per carry.

Combining forces to help out Wesley will be Matthew Tucker , a 6-1, 210-pound power runner with good enough speed to get by. Following up a phenomenal freshman season, when he averaged 6.4 yards per carry, he only averaged 4.8 yards per pop last year but ran for 709 yards and seven touchdowns highlighted by a save-the-day 131 yards against San Diego State.

Tucker will be starter No. 1A in the rotation, while sophomore Waymon James might be No. 1B. The 5-8, 203-pound plugger was the closer late in the season as he came on to finish third on the team with 513 yards and five touchdowns averaging 5.9 yards per carry. While he was a star against San Diego State with 102 yards and a score, he’ll forever be remembered by Horned Frog fans for coming up with the team’s final first down of the Rose Bowl. A big-time recruit after a phenomenal high school career (running for 4,732 career yards and 54 touchdowns), he averaged 11.3 yards per dash as a senior. Able to work inside or out, he’ll once again be used in a variety of ways.

Several extremely talented backs will push for time, and considering TCU’s history of not being afraid to give untested runners a shot, everyone will get a chance. Junior Aundre Dean was one of the team’s top recruits a few years ago, but the 6-0, 215-pounder hasn’t quite been able to get through the mass to stand out. Even so, he got a little bit of work running for 223 yards and a touchdown averaging seven yards per carry. Joining him will be 5-10, 218-pound redshirt freshman Dwight Smith , a very quick, ultra-productive Texas high school back who can cut on a dime and can bring a bit of power to the inside.

When TCU uses a fullback, veteran Luke Shivers will once again get the call. The 6-0, 220-pound senior didn’t get the ball in his hands too often as a sophomore, but he was an ultra-reliable goal line back last year with five touchdowns on just nine carries. Mostly a blocker, his hands are just good enough to be used like an H-Back or tight end if needed.

Watch Out For … James. It’s Wesley’s plane to fly as long as he can hold up, and Tucker will have his games and will provide a jolt now and then, but James showed over the second half of last year that he’s good enough to get more time. He could be a statistical superstar with 150 carries.
Strength: Depth. Start with Wesley. If the coaching staff wants to mix things up, it’ll go with Tucker. Throw in James from time to time, or Dean, or Smith, or any of the talented runners the Horned Frogs have amassed. Finding someone to run for 100 yards won’t be a problem.
Weakness: Receiving. It’s more of a function of the offense than anything else, but the backs don’t do much of anything for the passing game. Tucker and Wesley tied for the lead for the most catches by a running back with eight.
Outlook: The running game should be fantastic. TCU ran for 3,415 yards and 41 touchdowns last year, and while the quarterbacks will be a factor in the equation, there’s enough depth and talent at running back to do most of the heavy lifting. Consider it a stunner if Wesley, Tucker and James don’t combine for over 2,000 yards.
Unit Rating: 9.5


State of the Unit: Leading receiver and do-it-all playmaker Jeremy Kerley is gone, but the Horned Frogs have more than their share of talented options ready to pick up the slack. However, the goal throughout the offseason and early on in September will be to find a reliable No. 1 target. Kerley might have only averaged 10.3 yards per catch, but he caught 56 of the team’s 218 completions and ten of the 29 touchdown passes.

Appearing ready to take on the starring role is Josh Boyce, a CFN Freshman All-American catching 34 passes for 646 yards and six touchdowns. A gamebreaker, he averaged 19 yards per grab including a 93-yard backbreaker in the blowout over Utah. At 6-0 and 203 pounds he’s a big, tough target who isn’t afraid to go inside while also showing off the speed to be the team’s most dangerous option on the outside.

Senior Antoine Hicks was never quite right last year with a few nagging injuries limiting him to just 13 catches for 175 yards and two scores, and a rushing touchdown, in 12 games, but he appears to be ready to take on a bigger role again. Promising as a sophomore, the 6-2, 212-pounder averaged 20.8 yards per catch with six touchdowns, and now he’ll be asked to be a home run hitter at the outside X while moving around where needed inside.

5-10, 175-pound junior Skye Dawson is a flash of lightning who has to show off his wheels a bit more. It’s not like he was bad last year catching 12 passes for 170 yards, but he only averaged 14.2 yards per catch and didn’t score. The team’s fastest payer was the Mountain West 60 meter champion and now has to show off more of his speed. He’s a football player running track, and not the other way around, but he needs the stats to prove it.

Ready to be a bigger part of the rotation is senior Jonathan Jones, a 6-4, 215-pound veteran who has been around long enough to know what he’s doing, but didn’t catch a pass last year. Senior Jercell Fort is in the same boat. He’s a 5-11, 195-pound veteran who has been good in workouts but has mostly been used as a runner with 64 yards on 14 carries last season. Those two are getting their chances in practices, but they’re just keeping the seat warm.

On the way are three phenomenal weapons from the latest recruiting class. Ladarius Brown was the star of the haul blowing off Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, and others to be a Horned Frog. A big-play target with deep skills, he’s also not afraid to hit and is a terrific blocker. Cameron White is a slot receiver who’ll do the dirty work across the middle and has the wiggle to be a big yard-after-catch guy, and Brandon Carter , who blew off Oklahoma for TCU, is a thin, lightning-quick prospect who could be used at running back if he doesn’t find a home as a receiver.

Senior Logan Brock will once again be used mostly as a blocker, but he has the hands and potential to be more of a factor at tight end. The 6-3, 260-pound veteran averaged 18.3 yards per catch with two grabs, but he only caught six passes for 110 yards with two scores. He’ll be working with 6-6, 255-pound junior Corey Fuller and 6-4, 270-pound senior Robert Deck , who’ll only be used as blockers. Fuller caught a few passes, but he’ll hardly be a featured part of the passing attack.

Watch Out For … Boyce. He’s not Jeremy Kerley, but he has the talent and the ability to become the go-to target the team will need early on. He’s not just a speedster on the outside; he can do it all.
Strength: Speed and toughness. The TCU receivers all have a nice blend of things happening. On the one hand, they’re gamebreaking speedsters who stretch the field and make big things happen, but they’re also great at blocking and making the running game go.
Weakness: An established No. 2. It’ll be a question mark whether or not Boyce can pick up Kerley’s slack and be the team’s main man, and it’ll be an even bigger concern over who the second guy will end up being. Hicks should be it, but he couldn’t stay healthy last year. One of the star newcomers could fill the bill.
Outlook: It takes a village. Even with Jeremy Kerley shining throughout last year, TCU still spread the ball around with four receivers finishing with 31 catches or more. The offense will revolve around the running game while the goal of the passing attack will simply to be efficient and effective, but if the freshmen can shine right away, the talent will be there for an explosive year.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Offensive Line

State of the Unit: Only one full-time starter returns, but the line isn’t starting from scratch with several experienced players ready to step in. However, it’s asking a lot for the same cohesion and production as last year’s veteran line came up with. Led by Marcus Cannon, the line that had been building to a big 2010 came through with the season everyone was hoping for finishing fifth in the nation in sacks allowed while paving the way for 3,413 rushing yards and 41 scores.

So who’ll be the main man and the anchor up front now that Cannon is off to the NFL? The hope will be that sophomore James Dunbar will become TCU’s next great offensive tackle after seeing time in every game. At 6-6 and 305 pounds he has good size, and while he won’t necessarily be a mauler, he can move. On the other side will be senior Jeff Olson at right tackle after getting four starts last year as the understudy. At 6-4 and 282 pounds he’s not all that big, and he’s not going to win any all-star honors, but he’s a reliable veteran who won’t make any mistakes. He was more than fine in the win over Utah.

The one true returning starter is longtime masher Kyle Dooley at left guard. The 6-3, 315-pound senior is a former walk-on who benefitted from playing next to Marshall Newhouse and Marcus Cannon. It’s his third year as a starter, and he has been an ultra-reliable rock and a good producer for the ground game. Now he’ll have to be the steady anchor until the line jells.

Stepping in at right guard is Blaze Foltz a 6-4, 310-pound junior who saw plenty of action over the last two years and has been a part of the rotation at both guard spots. A good talent who hasn’t been able to crack the starting rotation on a full-time basis until now, he has the upside to quickly be one of the team’s better run blockers. All he needs is time.

While replacing Cannon is a big issue for the line, the bigger concern could be finding a replacement for Rimington Award winning center Jake Kirkpatrick. 6-3, 290-pound junior James Fry saw a little time last year, but Kirkpatrick was a rock who never came out. 6-3, 295-pound sophomore Eric Tausch will get every shot at the position and he could end up at guard if Fry wins out.

The backup tackle situation will be worth paying attention to for the pecking order. TCU has a few very good, but very different prospect pushing for time. 6-6, 275-pound sophomore Nykiren Wellington is a quick, athletic tackle who can get out on the move and make things happen down the field. 6-7, 317-pound sophomore Tayo Fabuluje transferred over from BYU and has the size and the frame to be a whale of a pass protector at left tackle. 6-5, 320-pound sophomore Ty Horn is a massive blocker who’ll work at right tackle but could be moved inside without a problem.

Watch Out For … Dunbar. TCU is quickly becoming a factory for top-shelf left tackles and Dunbar appears to be the next in line. While he doesn’t quite have NFL left tackle size, he has the frame to add about 15 more pounds of muscle to become a bigger prospect.
Strength: The system. Yes, four new starters are stepping in, but the TCU coaching staff does a nice job of mixing in players to boost up the depth and to prepare for the future. It’s not like the line is starting from scratch.
Weakness: Four new starters. Yeah, the system is great and TCU always gets production out of its linemen; the program reloads at this point. But last year’s line boasted four all-star caliber starters including a NFL first-round-caliber talent at tackle (Cannon) and the best center in college football (Kirkpatrick). You don’t just replace players like last year’s line had with live bodies.
Outlook: The line isn’t going to be bad, but it’s not going to be anywhere near as strong as last year’s line that allowed a mere nine sacks and dominated in the ground game. The talent level isn’t there compared to last year’s front five, but that could quickly change of a slew of the sophomores start to shine as hoped for. Dunbar will be a good one, but the best players could be working in the twos. If might be next year before the line finds the right combination. The production will likely be better than the talent level.
Unit Rating: 6.5

- 2011 TCU Preview | 2011 TCU Offense
- 2011 TCU Defense | 2011 TCU Depth Chart
- TCU Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006