1. Davey OBrien

    Temple was good enough defensively last year to hold down most of the opposing offenses and to allow Temple to play that style of offense.

    Baylor struggled defensively in the back half of the year and has some big concerns in the defensive line if I recall correctly.

    Controlling the tempo with a power running game sounds good and has worked well for K State. The idea of the power running game isn’t really new to the Big 12 as you point out Baylor, as well as OU, Texas, K State, and last season WVU leaned on it. A very big reason why Patterson was so keen on getting bigger on defense after last season.

    Thoughts on Baylor being able to put together a defense that can help keep them in games similar to Temple last season.

    • ianaboyd

      I bet Baylor is pretty bad next season, honestly. They have a lot of really good components like Zach Smith, Taylor Young, Travon Blanchard if he’s exonerated of being a criminal, and maybe Blake Lynch, but they also have holes up and down the roster that’ll be hard to fill. Like, I think they have 6 OL right now or something ridiculous.

      I don’t know how much we should take from Baylor’s struggles because their staff mailed it in last season, the team figured it out pretty quick, and then they started to mail it in as well. The bigger issue to me is the transformation of a roster built for Briles-ball to something totally different coinciding with massive attrition from NFL departures, transfers, suspensions, etc.

      I think I need to see at least a spring game to see how Baylor’s defenders are coming along in executing the fundamentals of base defenses before I make any strong proclamations but my suspicion is that they’re not going to be that great in year one.

      Is Patterson really making the defense bigger this year other than at DT? Sounds like Small, Orr, and Issahaku are the three safeties and that threesome is even smaller than Small-Orr-Johnson. And presumably Howard-Summers will remain the LB pairing, which is great because those guys are good. Seems more like he’ll try and get bigger and more sound up front so that he can afford to be so small on the back end?

      • Davey OBrien

        TCU is definitely making a move to getting bigger defensively. Not Alabama big defensively, but they changes are being made and will start to show next season.

        The area most will notice the change first will be in the defensive line. At tackle they should start next fall camp with Bethley, Blackklock, Broadnax, Ellis, and Tu’ ua all legitimately weighing over 290 and as Philly Frog has mentioned Collier was going into Spring Ball at 280+. I can not remember the last time TCU had six legitimate defensive tackles at that size.

        Defensive end they will be big and getting bigger in the near future as they only have one senior in Boesen. Ben Banogu is a name to remember and close to 260. Same with Isiah Chambers and Epply and Bowen & Overshown have the frames to carry that same type of weight effectively. If TCU does in fact start Collins and Cooper out at defensive end that will give them the biggest group of DE’s I can recall in quite some type.

        Linebacker is a bit of wild card to me in the trend to getting bigger. Does Patterson stay with the recent trend of on linebacker who looks like a traditional backer and a safety or does he go back to what he had with Mallet and Dawson. Meeking and Wallow are two high school athletes they apparently want to grow into the position and both are close to 6’2″.

        Secondary is where change is coming in the future. Texada is smaller and so is Lewis, but Gladney and Raymond are both at least 6′ as are recruits Daniels and Onyemaobi. Patterson has been looking for that big corner for quite some time and Gladney looked very good on Saturday.

        Orr and Smalls are smaller and Issahaku is smaller than Denzel, but the second group of Scott, SImmons, and Gaines all stand over 6′ and weigh over 200 lbs. Very, very positive reviews for SImmons and Gaines this past Spring.

        Patterson can’t make Texada, Small, Orr, and Howard bigger. There is a reason why they were graded done as recruits. He has however recruited bigger players behind them and those are the players that indicate he is serious about getting this defense back to what it was a few years ago.

        • ianaboyd

          Interesting, his best B12 D was definitely big but then he decided to downsize when (as good as it was) it couldn’t handle Baylor’s offense. Also all the LBs got hurt so he had to stretch out his safety roster to cover the rest of the defense.

          Overall I think getting bigger is a tad overrated. You want your players as big as possible but if you have to give something up it’s often not worth it. Especially at corner. If they just sort out corner this year then everything else will probably start to look academic.

  2. Davey OBrien

    I believe Patterson over reacted to the one loss to Baylor which in part was to no running game from the Frogs offense and a lack of depth in the defensive line and secondary.

    The year before three turnovers from Casey resulted in 21 of the Bears 41 points as they ran back two interceptions and recovered a fumble at the TCU one.

    Frogs simply have to get bigger especially in the defensive line facing the offenses in the B12. The defensive line has to be able to control the line of scrimmage without counting on safety support when they play a team like OU or OSU. Frogs stand a chance if the front can protect the linebackers. The other big key for their front is not just a few guys bigger, but multiples.

    I think the corner situation could be much, much better. Remember that Gladney, a redshirt freshman who had missed much of the fall before recovering from a high school knee injury, was the only healthy corner at the start of the year. Texada was not well as seen in the SDSU game and especially that final drive in regulation against Arkansas. Not an accident that Frog defense started to look better when Ranthony started to return to form and Lewis came back earlier than expected from injury. If Texada and Lewis are back to their 2015 forms and the progress we saw from Gladney in the Spring is real that is a very solid three man rotation at corner. Something they have never had since they entered the B12 and then allows them to find a fourth from possibly Raymond or one of the freshmen.

    One point I do believe is that as important as size and athleticism is for the Frogs defense they also lacked basic execution at times in the past two years. Elisha Olabode was small and not the fastest, but you could depend on him to be where he was supposed to be and he could freaking tackle in the open field. They need to get back to tackling akin to those 2012, 2013, 2014 defenses and that has nothing to do with size, etc….

    • Cameron

      Not a huge TCU follower, generally only catch about 4 games a year, but I think the only positions it looked like the Frogs would benefit from increased size is defensive end and tackle. The rest: I don’t see it. And even on the defensive line, you still gotta be careful on how much you bulk those guys up. Unless a guy is a designated clogger, which doesn’t exist in TCU’s defensive system, you’ll end up compromising their athleticism (a little) and endurance (a lot). And against spread offenses, a gassed front might be a death sentence. Just ask Alabama.

      • Davey OBrien

        Alabama this year did not suffer from being too big defensively. They suffered from poor corner play and not enough depth in the defensive line.

        It is one reason why the spread offense works so well in college. Most schools don’t have adequate depth at those positions to stand up over the course of a game and a season.

        TCU fared well defensively in the Big 12 the first three years in large part to the quality of their defensive line in terms of front line talent, size, and depth.

        TCU struggled last year stopping the run at times against better teams and that starts first and foremost in the defensive front.

        In regards to bigger corners it is simply the ability to physically man up and take away the outside receivers as well as hold the edge against the screen game which for so many of the spread teams has become a substitute for an outside run game.

        • Conine

          I don’t think Alabama “suffered” from anything last year. They were a monstrous death machine that annihilated all kinds of spread offenses. They just happened to run into a really good Clemson team with a handful of first round NFL talent, and Bama was probably a year away from fielding a truly dominant offense. They lost one game and only just barely. They’re fine.

          • Davey OBrien

            They haven’t annihilated Ole Miss the past two seasons now have they?

            In fact Ole’ Miss and Clemson were the two offenses Bama faced in 2015 and 2016 that both were able to move the ball effectively against the Bama defense.

            You say Bama lost one game and just barely, but if not for two defensive scores and a punt return they are in big trouble against the Rebels last year in a revenge game situation.

            Bama defensively killed teams that could not force legitimate threats running and passing the football. If they were able to control the line of scrimmage like they did with UW they dominated and in the SEC they don’t see many balanced offenses. They offenses that posed both threats have had some success.

          • ianaboyd

            That’s true. I think their problem is somewhat that Saban has an approach to the spread where he thinks he can sit back and take punches and you just can’t do that against a good spread passing attack. He needs to learn to be more aggressive attacking these teams, I think that’s the bigger issue than the personnel these days.

        • ianaboyd

          Alabama didn’t really suffer at all until they played Clemson and I don’t think DL depth was a problem, they rotated good players even on the last drive. I think they had an overly cautious rush plan trying to stop Watson scrambles so they could play man coverage.

          I agree that TCU could benefit from being a little stouter up front but I think going for size is a risky venture in this league. Texas has never really lacked for size and haven’t played as well on D as TCU did last year in a few years.

          • Davey OBrien

            I know somewhere on the internet a person can find the stats that reflect the yardage the TCU defense gave up solely on running plays last year, but I am too lazy to find them so I will follow the script of 99% of people discussing something on the net and use some numbers that lean to my favor.

            In the four games TCU lost last year to OU, OSU, KSU, and UGA they gave up almost half the rushing yards their defense gave up for the season (1,178 yards in 4 games/ 2,441 yards for 13 games) at a clip that was more than 3 yards per carry (6.2 compared to 3.2).

            Those struggles were not solely the fault of the defensive line, but in any of Patterson’s defenses that played the run well the line was a strength and that was not the case in 2016.

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