Friday, August 03, 2007

Five Good Questions with . . . Wendell Barnhouse about the TCU Horned Frogs

Stiles Points is previewing various "small schools" who can possibly make some loud noise come bowl season ala Boise State last season....Wendell Barnhouse of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram responded to my five questions about the TCU Horned Frogs.....

Q1. First off, what can you tell me about head coach Gary Patterson? He has been at TCU for 6 years with a 54-20 record. But is he is defensive or offensive minded coach? How come he has never taken a bigger job?
Patterson is a firebrand-type coach, emotional and animated on the sidelines. So far, that has been a positive more than a negative. Ever since the Southwest Conference disbanded and TCU was not included in the Big 12, the school has had a chip on its shoulder (particularly in regard to football). Patterson fits perfectly in that mind set. His background is in defense and the signature of his TCU teams has been speed on the defensive side of the ball. Patterson seems to be content at TCU; it appeared the Kansas State job would be a food fit (he’s from Kansas) but he never campaigned for that job. Unless and until TCU reaches a BCS bowl, Patterson doesn’t believe his work is finished.

Q2. Every preview magazine has TCU's defense as the best in the Mountain West conference. Who should we keep an eye on? Are there any NFL potential first or second rounders on that defense?
Senior defensive end Tommy Blake (photo - left) is considered the top defensive player in the Mountain West. He’s a disruptive force who could be in line for some post-season awards if he plays like he has the last two years. Chase Ortiz, a senior, book ends the defensive line. He and Blake could be the best DE duo in the nation. Blake and Ortiz probably will be gone on the first day of the NFL Draft. As mentioned earlier, TCU’s defense is all about speed. Defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas’ 4-2-5 alignment basically is four linemen with seven LBs ... or seven DBs, depending on the situation. The players in the back seven can all run and hit.

Q3. How does TCU's offense look this year?
The Frogs must replace Jeff Ballard at QB. All he did was win 90 percent of his starts. Ballard was tough and efficient. His replacement will be either sophomore Marcus Jackson or red shirt freshman Andy Dalton. TCU wants its QB to manage the game and avoid mistakes. The offense relies on its running game; junior Aaron Brown averaged 5.2 yards per carry last season and should be the work horse. TCU’s receivers are solid and the offensive line has three returning starters.

Q4. On September 8th the Horned Frogs play at Texas. Is there any chance for TCU to pull the upset? What must they do if they want to win this game?
TCU can win this game, but it will be a huge challenge. The Frogs have defeated Oklahoma and Texas Tech recently but winning in Austin against a top 10 team might be a stretch. TCU would have a better chance if it had a veteran QB. To beat Texas, the Frogs’ defense needs to rattle UT quarterback Colt McCoy and force some game-changing turnovers.

Q5. TCU beat Oklahoma a few years back, but what must they do to be nationally recognized? How are the football facilities?
Like Al Davis says, “Just win, baby.” TCU has more football history and more of a national name than Boise State. It’s logical that if TCU could go undefeated and win a BCS bowl, it would get as much or perhaps more attention than Boise State did last year. What TCU has done the last six years is amazing and comendable (particularly when you look at the lean years in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The lack of national recognition comes from not winning a meaningful bowl game.

Over the past decade, TCU’s football facilities have improved greatly. Weight rooms, football offices, an indoor practice facility (named for former Frog great Sam Baugh and opened this past spring) indicate the school’s commitment to football. Amon Carter Stadium needs a facelift and that’s next on the “to do” list.

I want to thank Wendell for his is much appreciated...on Monday, my interview with sports columnist Bill Livingston of the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and his thoughts about the AFC North...


Anonymous said...

it's the Fort Worth Star Telegram

GMoney said...

TCU is a bunch of chickenshit cowards. In 2003-04, they turned down a bid to play Big Ben and the Redhawks in the GMAC Bowl and went somewhere else. Their excuse was something about final exams even though no college football player worries about their grades...especially in Texas.

It was the definition of "pussy" but they would've gotten smoked like Louisville did anyway.

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