4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TCU DEFENSE
– As mediocre as the offense was, the season was saved by a terrific year from the Big 12’s top defense. The Horned Frogs allowed just 23 points per game, was terrific against the run, and gave up a Big 12-best 199 passing yards per game. Seven of the top eight tacklers are gone, but it’s TCU. The D will be fine.
– How good was the secondary? It didn’t allow a touchdown pass over the final three games, gave up a low 6.4 yards per pass – terrific for the Big 12 – and closed out with five interceptions in the Cheez-It Bowl win over Cal. Starting with Jeff Gladney, the cornerbacks are outstanding, and the safeties in the 4-2-5 alignment should grow into among the Big 12’s best.
– The linebacking corps is a wee bit of a concern after losing three of the team’s top four tacklers, Ty Summers, Arico Evans, and Jawuan Johnson. Garret Wallow is a good hitter with all-star potential, and with several options being tried out to fill the roles. The pass rush has to emerge up front on the ends, but the tackle combination of Corey Bethel and Terrell Cooper is a good one to build around.