Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a continuing series of early preseason previews examining the good news and the bad news surrounding each of the 10 Big 12 football teams heading into the 2014 season.
TCU Horned Frogs
2013 season record: 4-8, 2-7 in the Big 12, tied for 7th place
After going 2-7 in the conference and finishing near the bottom of the Big 12 in virtually every offensive category, TCU head coach Gary Patterson had had enough and brought in two new assistant coaches to take over the offensive responsibilities. Doug Meachem joins the Horned Frogs’ coaching staff from Houston, and Sonny Cumbie is now on board from Texas Tech.
The offensive backfield has a good nucleus back in juniors B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green. The offensive line should be better in 2014 after suffering through injuries and personnel issues for most of last season. Patterson will move junior Trevone Boykin to slot receiver to begin the 2014 season, which opens the door for Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel at quarterback. Joeckel played behind Johnny Manziel for two seasons and has a year of eligibility remaining.
One thing you can almost always count on from a Gary Patterson-coached team is outstanding defensive play. The Horned Frogs were No, 2 in the league to Oklahoma a year ago, yielding just over 350 yards a game. The 2014 Horned Frogs’ defense returns eight starters, including 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields, who was out all of last season with an injury.
The TCU defense is as solid as ever. All of the issues are on the offensive side of the ball. The Horned Frogs biggest areas of concern reside on the offensive line (which should be improved, but that is still a big if) and at wide receiver. TCU was supposed to be in great shape a year ago at the receiver position, but that was the opposite of what actually happened. One of the Frogs’ leading receivers, LaDarius Brown, was dismissed from the team, and Brandon Carter’s return is uncertain because of academic issues. Adding to that, newcomer Matt Joeckel played very sparingly at Texas A&M and is an unproven entity as a starting QB.
TCU will go as far as its offense will take it this season. The defense will make it tougher than most against the big-play offenses that exist throughout the Big 12, but it is highly questionable if the TCU can generate enough points in the coming new season to win more games than it losses.