Preview 2008 - TCU Offense
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2008 TCU Offense
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2006 CFN TCU
What you need to know:
Maddeningly inconsistent and almost never explosive, the TCU
offense was a big disappointment. However, it might have been a
step back to take a giant leap forward. Injuries shuffled things
up a bit on the line, and now four starters return to a group
that should be far better for the running game while continuing
to be decent in pass protection. QB Andy Dalton needed all
season to figure out what he was doing, but he eventually grew
into a solid starter. Now he needs receivers, and while there's
a ton of big-time upside in a corps with four good-looking
sophomores, to go along with top tight end Shae Reagan, there
needs to be more production. The big key will be the health of
the running backs. If Aaron Brown can stay healthy, after
breaking his ankle last year, and if Joseph Turner can return
from a torn up knee, the running game will be devastating.
Passing: Andy Dalton
222-371, 2,459 yds, 10 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Joseph Turner
115 carries, 597 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Donald Massey
29 catches, 364 yds, 0 TD
Star of the offense: Senior RB Aaron Brown
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
WR Jimmy Young
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Jeremy Kerley
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Shae Reagan
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Brown, 2) C Blake
Schlueter, 3) OT Marshall Newhouse
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, Running backs
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver, running back
One of the surprises late last summer, 6-3, 210-pound sophomore
Andy Dalton took the starting job by the horns and went on
to complete 60% of his throws for 2,459 yards and ten touchdowns
with 11 interceptions. He set the TCU school record for
completions in a season with 222 and got better as the season
went on as he limited his mistakes while cranking up the passing
production. On the year, four of his interceptions came against
Utah, two against Air Force, both close losses, and he didn't
give away more than one pick in any other game. While he's not a
dangerous runner, he's mobile enough to take off from time to
time and good around the goal line with five touchdowns to go
along with his 232 yards.
Projected Top Reserves:
Last year was supposed to be when now-junior Marcus Jackson
took the team and made it his, but he made way too many
mistakes in practices and lost out to Andy Dalton for the
starting job. Even so, he's a veteran who can step in and lead
the team at any time, and can even add more of an explosive
element with his excellent rushing skills. Even though he's not
the most effective passer, he was was fine when he got the
chance completing half his throws for 368 yards and three
touchdowns while running for 187 yards and two touchdowns. The
6-1 and 216 pounder has a great arm to go along with his
mobility, and while he won't beat out Dalton for the No. 1 spot,
he'll rotate in and see time here and there.
Being groomed for the future will be freshman Yogi Gallegos,
who has a game to go along with his great name. While he's only
6-0 and 182 pounds, he's a great passer with a live arm and just
enough mobility to take off from time to time. In a perfect
world he's able to redshirt and grow into backup role over the
next few years and be ready to take over the starting job in
Watch Out For ... Jackson to play a role. Even
though Dalton's the main man, Jackson proved he can move the
team with some key scoring drives coming off the bench late in
the year. This is Dalton's offense, but the more Jackson can be
involved, the better.
Strength: Experience. Even though Dalton's just a
sophomore and Jackson's a junior without many starts, the team
can win with either one under center. The coaching staff has a
relief pitcher in case Dalton struggles or gets hurt.
Weakness: A number three. There are only two scholarship
quarterbacks on the roster until Gallegos gets to campus this
fall. If something happens to Dalton and Jackson, which isn't
out of the realm of possibility considering they run and get out
of the pocket, and neither is afraid to take the big shot, it'll
be up to a true freshman to save the day.
Outlook: The TCU bread won't be buttered with the
passing game, but the quarterbacks have to be efficient and
effective. Dalton can bomb, but his real worth is,
potentially, as a game-manager who limits his mistakes and
improves as year goes on. He's not going to throw for 300 yards
every game out, but if he can complete around 60-65% of his
throws and avoid the multi-interception game, he'll have done
his job. Jackson is No. 1A, able to step in and start at
any time and with the experience to come off the bench and
produce. Freshman Yogi Gallegos will be the No. 3.
Can Aaron Brown stay healthy?
Banged up all of last year, he finally got knocked out for the
year with a broken ankle to finish with a mere 490 yards and two
touchdowns. Even with his limited work, playing parts of around
nine games, he still finished with 24 catches for 161 yards and
a touchdown. When he's right, the 6-1, 196-pound senior is one
of the Mountain West's best players with a tremendous
combination of speed, quickness and power. However, the team
simply can't count on him. He's never been a workhorse,
splitting time as a sophomore before last year's injury-plagued
campaign, and while he got 25 touches against Colorado State and
26 against Stanford, both wins, he hasn't proven he can do it on
an every-game basis.
Needing to play more of a role is 5-10, 195-pound senior
Justin Watts, a career reserve who came through clutch in
the Texas Bowl by running for 46 yards and a touchdown once
Turner went down. A bit more of a speed back than the other
options, he's going to have to show he can handle the workload
with the top two backs trying to come back healthy. At the very
least he can be used as a third down back with good hands in the
passing game, but he'll start out lined up at fullback.
Projected Top Reserves: With Aaron Brown trying to
work his way back from a broken ankle, this would've been a
perfect chance for junior Joseph Turner to establish
himself even more in the running game after leading the team
with 597 yards and six touchdowns, but he suffered a torn ACL
against Houston in the Texas Bowl game and will likely need all
off-season and a little bit of the regular season to be ready.
At 6-1 and 226 pounds, he's a load of a back with just enough
speed and quickness to take advantage of openings. If nothing
else, he has to be ready for the San Diego State game after
tearing off 83 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries against
the Aztecs as a freshman, and then rushing for 226 yards and
four scores on 33 carries last year.
junior Chris Smith is ready to se time at fullback and as
a big tailback after spending the last few years
behind William Jackson. He saw a little bit of work in four
games running eight times for 18 yards, but his role will
increase in a big way as a blocker. Don't expect many carries or
catches, but he should be decent in pass protection and a good
lead man for the backs; he's been around long enough to know
what he's doing.
Redshirt freshman Jai Cavness is the X factor. At 5-8 and
175 pounds, he's not all that big but he can really, really
move. While he might turn out to be more valuable as a receiver,
he has the speed and the home-run hitting potential to get the
ball as a runner who'll try to turn the corner and make big
things happen at the second level.
Backing up Smith at fullback will be redshirt freshman Luke
Shivers, a 6-0, 205-pound undersized blocker who started out
as a linebacker before moving over to the offensive side. He'll
be worked in slowly and won't likely see more than a few games
Watch Out For ... Watts. It's asking a
lot for Turner to be ready right away while Brown still needs to
be eased back into the mix. Watts might not have the
same talent, and they sure don't have the same inside power, but
they can be effective in a variety of ways.
Strength: Options. At some point this year, if all is
well and if everything works out perfectly, the Horned Frogs
will have at least four good backs with different skill sets to
play around with. Watts is a quick
runner, Turner is the power back, and Brown is the star who can
do a little of everything well.
Weakness: Health. While there's decent developed depth, there's
a big drop-off from the Brown and Turner to Watts. Brown is a
star who can carry the team to big things, and if he's not
around, the rest of the offense has to adapt and adjust.
Outlook: The running game had to piece together
starter throughout last season with Brown suffering a
variety of injuries before getting knocked out for the year with
a broken ankle, and then Turner was lost in
the bowl game with a knee injury. Brown is expected to be back
right away, but Turner is questionable for the start of the
season, so it might be tailback by committee for a while as
Watts gets folded in to keep Brown fresh.
At 6-4 and 206 pounds, senior Walter Bryant has the size
to provide some big matchup problems at the inside Z position.
Now he has to start producing. A decent option over the last few
years, he hasn't used his bulk enough around the goal line with
only one career touchdown, coming in last year's loss to Air
Force, and he didn't start making noise until the final two
games of last season. He's become better at cranking out big
catches, but after making 27 grabs for 364 yards and the one
score, he has to grow into more of a true number one.
6-1, 190-pound sophomore Bart Johnson was a key special
teamer last season and had three, two-catch games for a total of
63 yards with two touchdowns. He's a good athlete with just
enough size and toughness to grow into a key target at the H.
Watch for him to eventually be a clutch receiver who makes
plenty of third down catches.
Taking over at the outside X position will be 6-1, 200-pound
sophomore Jimmy Young, a breakout star who made 23
catches for 175 yards and a touchdown. With good deep speed and
home run potential, scoring from 70 yards out in the win over
Stanford, he's a dangerous, consistent option who'll grow into
the team's most dangerous playmaker in the passing game.
True sophomore Jeremy Kerley is back on the Y after
making nine catches for 97 yards with five of the grabs coming
in the final two games. Used a bit as a runner, and even a
passer completing two passes for 27 yards each, he can do a
little of everything and will once again be used in a variety of
ways. He was a star recruit for the program last year, and the
5-10, 185-pounder has the quickness to become a major player
once he figures out what he's doing. A quarterback in high
school, he could still use a bit more seasoning.
Back at tight end is senior Shae Regan, a 6-4, 261-pound
receiver who made 11 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown in a
disappointing season. With great speed and excellent size, he
has pro potential if he can stay healthy, something he wasn't
able to do last year. He came to TCU has a quarterback, but now
he's a pure tight end. If he can improve a wee bit on his
blocking, he'll be special.
Projected Top Reserves: 5-11, 188-pound junior
Ryan Christian started out his career at receiver, was moved
to tailback, where he finished third on the team with 321 yards
and two touchdowns, and now is back at receiver. With good
hands, making 18 catches for 139 yards out of the backfield,
he'll be one of the first players off the bench playing behind
Bart Johnson at the H.
Is Donald Massey ready to have a big senior year? A
tremendous athlete with elite deep speed, he has yet to break
out as a receiver even though he was second on the team with 29
catches for 364 yards. He'll get a few starting nods somewhere
in the receiving corps, most likely at the Y, but his real worth
will be as a kick returner with a career 21.4-yard average.
Playing behind Shae Regan at tight end will be sophomore Evan
Frosch after getting three starts last year. While not
nearly the prospect Regan is, Frosch did a good job of filling
in when needed with five catches for 35 yards. Even though he's
not huge, the former linebacker is a tough blocker.
Watch Out For ... more from the receiving corps.
This was supposed to be a bit of a work in progress last season,
and while there were several options and a lot of plays coming
form a lot of players, the receivers weren't as good as they
should've been. This year's crop of targets has more potential
and more weapons.
Strength: Young talent. There's not a lot of sure-thing
experience to count on, but the trio of sophomores, Jimmy Young,
Bart Johnson and Jeremy Kerley, along with Curtis Clay, should
all form one of the Mountain West's best receiving corps. It
just might take a year or two to get there.
Weakness: A number one. Ervin Dickerson was the team's main
weapon last year catching 40 passes with four touchdowns. Now
someone has to step up and fill the void. While there's plenty
of potential, there aren't any sure things.
Outlook: How fast can the young prospects become
reliable starters? Reagan, if he can stay
healthy, might be the team's most dangerous target, but Young
and Kerley have talent to grow into stars. It would
be nice if Bryant could use his size and experience to
become a No. 1 man, but it's probably not going to happen. There
will be several big plays from this group and a lot of wow
moments, but there might not be much in the way of consistency
until next year.
Four starters return to the line, but the loss is a big one with
all-star Matty Lindner gone at left guard. It'll be a battle for the
starting job with 6-6, 293-pound senior Preston Phillips the most
likely first option after seeing plenty of backup time over the last two
years and even getting a start against New Mexico. He has decent size
and just enough experience to be decent.
The anchor of the line will once again be 6-3, 272-pound senior Blake
Schlueter, an athletic rock up front who's a strong quarterback up
front. He lived up to all the potential and all the promise from a
strong 2007 off-season and was tremendously consistent. While not a
dominant, flattening run blocker, he opens up holes.
The tackles are once again set with junior Marshall Newhouse on
the left side and junior Nic Richmond on the right. The 6-3,
317-pound Newhouse earned honorable mention All-Mountain West honors and
was the team's most dominant all-around blocker. A true junior who's
been part of the mix from the start, he's the one the line will revolve
around on the really big plays. He's the cousin of former Dallas Cowboy,
Robert Newhouse, and former Baylor star receiver, Reggie Newhouse.
Richmond isn't the blocker Newhouse is, but he's turning into a strong
pass protector. At 6-8 and 298 pounds, he has the long frame with big
arms that gives pass rushers fits. Able to play either tackle spot, and
consistent throughout his first year as a starter, he's growing into a
key part of the line and a potential all-star.
6-5, 295-pound senior Giles Montgomery returns after starting all
13 games last season. The former defensive tackle took over the job in
2007 fall camp and never let it go as he bulked up, got better in the
running game, and showed enough mobility to handle himself against the
quicker interior linemen.
Projected Top Reserves: Battling it out with
Preston Phillips at left guard is sophomore Josh Vernon, a
squatty 6-2, 295-pound bowling ball who saw a little bit of action last
year and will almost certainly be the starter next year. A top recruit a
few years ago, he'll get every shot at winning the job, or at the very
least seeing more time in the rotation.
On the way is top recruit Zach Roth, a JUCO All-American who's
good enough to be part of the lineup right away. At 6-5 and 298 pounds,
he's built like a tackle with just enough strength and experience to be
tested out at guard.
Back in the mix soon will be 6-5, 315-pound senior Heath Raetz.
He's simply had no luck, missing most of 2006 with a knee injury and
only getting time in three games last year before getting hurt again. A
tackle by trade, he moved inside to guard where he doesn't need to be as
mobile. If he's right, he's the starting right guard.
The future star of the line is 6-5, 319-pound sophomore Marcus Cannon,
an excellent reserve who saw time in every game at right tackle. With
his size, strength, and upside, he's just good enough to possibly knock
out Nic Richmond from the starting spot.
Watch Out For ... the line to be as good as any in
the Mountain West. It overcame injuries to jell into a strong all-around
unit that did a little of everything well, and now it should be dominant
Strength: A nice mix of talent and potential. There are
sure-things in all-stars Schlueter at center and Newhouse
at left tackle, while there's tremendous upside with emerging prospects
like Cannon at right tackle and Vernon at left guard.
Weakness: Left guard. While there are several options, losing
Lindner isn't a plus. Phillips has seen action and should
be serviceable, but in a perfect world, the time is now for Vernon.
Outlook: The Horned Frog line was strong in pass
protection all year and will be even better with four starters returning
and a battle for the left guard spot. There's decent depth, good
experience, and proven all-stars to form a good base for the rest of the
offense to build around. While the line wasn't quite as good as it was
expected to be for the running game, experience and rising talents
should make this a potentially dominant front five.