The TCU football outlook for 2016 season. The Horned Frogs showed they had what it takes to get near the top. Now they have to reload and keep the momentum going.
The program has been terrific under Gary Patterson, but it had to adapt after being a Rose Bowl-winner from the Mountain West and struggling early on as a Big 12 team. The offense worked with co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie putting together a juggernaut, but without Trevone Boykin under center, and leading rusher Aaron Green, and all-star receiver Josh Doctson, and without four starters up front, it’s overhaul time.
Patterson has been able to do that with the defense over the years, but can he and his staff perform a successful overhaul on the offensive side? If the system really does work, this year the Horned Frogs will be able to show whether or not they’ll have the staying power to keep cranking up the big numbers, or if the hope is to get more from the defense and hope the offense can come close.
It’s also the year to see if TCU can really and truly be a Big 12 champion-caliber program with all the changes.
Last year, it was the preseason No. 2 in most polls because of the offense, and with everyone blowing off the concerns and injuries on defense. It’s not going to be the same way this time around now that the situation is reversed, but overall, the team might be better.
Josh Carraway leads a talented line with the depth and talent to be the best Patterson has had in a few years, while the linebacking corps might really be TCU’s best since moving to the Big 12 – and that includes the Paul Dawson group of 2013. The linebackers will clean up everything the emerging line can’t hold down, while the secondary should be excellent as long as Ranthony Texada is back to form at one corner after missing most of last year with a knee injury.
But, of course, all the question marks are on the other side.
If the system is that good, Kenny Hill – or even Foster Sawyer – will be a superstar as the new starting quarterback.
If the system is that good, Kyle Hicks and pass-catching back Shaun Nixon should be more than fine in the backfield in place of Aaron Green.
If the system is that good, lightning quick KaVontae Turpin should emerge as the new top receiver and the leader of a dangerous corps full of talented options.
The system is that good, Patterson has brought in the players who should fill in the roles, and now the offense that put up 1,101 points over the last two seasons after sputtering in its first two years in the Big 12 should be able to show off early on and prove that this all wasn’t just some fun flash. The hype and the respect was real, and now is not the time to jump off the bandwagon.
Patterson has proved time and again that he knows how to make this all work, and with Baylor in trouble off the field, the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State games at home, and with Texas still trying to figure it all out, there’s no reason to think that TCU can’t make the necessary changes and be right back in the chase for the Big 12 championship.
The Horned Frogs have shown they have what it takes to get near the top. For them, staying there won’t be all that difficult.