The Sports Daily > College Football Zealots
2013 Pre-Season Preview: TCU Horned Frogs

2012 Record: 7-6 (4-5 in Big 12)

Head Coach: Gary Patterson (116-36 at TCU, 4-5 in Big 12)

Last Bowl Game: 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: lost to Michigan State 17-16

Stadium: Amon Carter Stadium in Ft Worth, TX (capacity = 44,358)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 55th out of 69 BCS teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Out of Conference: 8/31 vs LSU, 9/7 SE Louisiana, 9/28 vs SMU

Toughest Home Games: 10/26 vs Texas, 11/2 vs WVU, 11/30 vs Baylor

Toughest Road Games: 10/5 at Oklahoma, 10/19 at Oklahoma State, 11/16 at Kansas State


Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stats to Fear: had 29 turnovers in 2012 (last in Big 12), converted on just 33.51% of third downs (9th in Big 12), scored on just 71.93% of red zone trips (9th in Big 12), allowed 29 sacks in 2012 (last in Big 12)

Stats to Cheer: held opponents to 29.95% on third downs (1st in Big 12), held opponents to 47.37% TD rate inside red zone (1st in Big 12)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 22nd out of 124 teams



Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 7, Defense: 6, Special Teams: 2

Key Defensive Returnees: DE Devonte Fields (10 sacks, 53 tackles), CB Jason Verrett (63 tackles, 6 INT), FS Elisha Olabode (71 tackles, 4 INT), S Sam Carter (63 tackles, 4 INT), S Chris Hackett (61 tackles)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Casey Pachall (948 yds pass, 66% completions, 10 TD, 1 INT), QB Trevone Boykin (2054 yds pass, 57.2% completions, 15 TD, 10 INT), RB B.J. Catalon (584 yds rush, 4.83 ypc), WR Brandon Carter (36 rec, 6 TD),WR LaDarius Brown (27 rec, 5 TD)

In it's debut season in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs ran into issues before the 2012 season even started when four players got kicked off the team. It continued during the year as they lost QB Casey Pachall. All things considered, TCU came out of it pretty good at 7-6. While that might not have been the goal when they were practicing in the spring, the Horned Frogs had a lot of adversity thrown at them and they weathered the storm. Can they put it back together for the 2013 season?
Casey Pachall is back and now the Horned Frogs have two QBs that bring different sets of skills. Pachall is an accurate QB who can throw the deep ball. On the other hand, Trevone Boykin is a dual-threat. Even though Patterson hasn't named a starting QB yet, Pachall gives TCU the best chance to win. The RB corps for TCU was disappointing last year. Injuries and players leaving caused the unit to fail to live up to expectations. TCU returns BJ Catalon at RB. As a true freshman, he was pushed into the rotation rather quickly and performed well but failed to score a rushing TD or notch a 100-yard rushing game. Waymon James also returns after injuring his ACL last year after playing in just three games. In 2011, he was the Horned Frogs leading rusher at 875 yards with an eye-popping 7.23 ypc. In addition to those two, the Horned Frogs also welcome former Nebraska Cornhusker Aaron Green. The talent is definitely there for the Frogs at RB, but will it show on the field this year? At WR, Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson will be missed but there is still talent. Brandon Carter (36 rec), LaDarius Brown (27 rec) and Cam White (21 rec) all return and this unit will only get better if Pachall is under center. The OL loses it's two most tenured players and also recently learned that starting tackle Tayo Fabuluje has left the team. That leaves this OL with just two players with double-digit starts.
Under Patterson, TCU has made it's bones on defense. Last year, they weren't as dominant as they used to be in the MWC but they still had a top tier Big 12 defense allowing 22.6 ppg which is very good in the Big 12. The DL is in good shape as it must replace just one starter and returns stand-out DE Devonte Fields. The DL is rated by both Athlon and Phil Steele as the best in the Big 12. The LB corps must replace leading tackler Kenny Cain and also just had second leading tackler Joel Hasley leave the team so the LB corps is now the biggest question-mark on the defense. The defensive backfield is stocked and in the pass happy Big 12 that's a good thing.
TCU is getting a lot of pre-season love and some of it is definitely deserved. The biggest key is Casey Pachall and the OL. TCU is going to be a very difficult team to beat because they are going to play tough and they are going to play close games. The schedule is tough with an opening week game against LSU and road trips to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. TCU will improve this year but I'm still not convinced they will be a Top 25 team when the season closes. 
Prediction: 7-5

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