“Best in the nation”– it’s beginning to feel like a birthright for the TCU defense, which has brought home that hardware three years running. No team has done it four times running, at least not since the NCAA started keeping stats. Every year the savants say TCU must replace too much talent to do it again, and (so far) the savants have been wrong, and then wrong again. Can the Frogs make history, while (again!) making other teams cry?
Posts Tagged ‘Tank Carder’
Posted by Ezra Hood | June 7th, 2011 at 9:33 pm
Gary Patterson’s defenses have been the stingiest in the nation three years running; to claim a fourth consecutive title, TCU’s redshirt freshmen in the secondary will have to grow up fast, and the new starters on the defensive line will have to live up to their billing. All of this uncertaintly doesn’t seem to have ruffled any feathers in Fort Worth. “Over the last fourteen years we’ve taught it the same way,” Patterson said early in the spring. “The same coverage got taught today, blitz package, yesterday we taught the tackling drill without pads on. You have to have a starting point, you got to see how much a team can grow in fifteen days.”
Posted by Ezra Hood | February 8th, 2011 at 11:39 am
Purple Wimple Player of the Year: Andy Dalton
No single Horned Frog since LT has come to define TCU’s success over multiple years like Andy Dalton has defined it since 2008. The red-head saved his best for last, his QB rating exceeding 166 this season, while turning in the fourth-best rush totals on the team. Jeff Ballard’s best mark was 138 in ’06, with significantly less effective running. And when it mattered most– on the road at Utah, and in the Rose Bowl– Dalton was near perfect. He said all year that he and his team wished most to win another chance in the BCS, and to make the most of it, and they did just that. En route, Dalton made the fast-rising signal callers at Baylor and Utah look silly. The quarterback led his team to a second consecutive perfect regular season, and in sharp contrast to last year, Dalton took his team onto his shoulders in the bowl, and led them to victory. The senior thoroughly outplayed his counterpart Badger, who had won the senior quarterback award for the season. “I knew everything they were doing,” said Dalton of the Badgers. Wisconsin’s quarterback, in contrast, couldn’t thread the Frogs coverages often, on those pass attempts when he wasn’t being slobber-knocked by purple-clad defensemen. In end Dalton held the better trophy: Rose Bowl Offensive MVP. Likely he’ll enter the NFL as a draftee. TCU will miss this senior’s experience more than any other’s in years. (more…)
Posted by Ezra Hood | January 10th, 2011 at 5:16 pm
“So pray for Andy Dalton’s durability, if you want the Frogs to top 2009 this year. An inexperienced Pachall… isn’t going to best the Utes in Salt Lake City, or manhandle SDSU’s much-improved six-man secondary… in his first year. So let’s hope he doesn’t have to.”
And, perhaps remarkably, the redshirt freshmen never had to take a snap with the outcome of the game in doubt. Neither did the Frogs cave under the pressure to be perfect (another potential landmine noted in September), nor were the Frogs’ efforts in vain because Boise was more perfect than TCU. In fact, speaking of Boise, perhaps it was a gift that this sentiment was true in September:
“Remember, Boise State put that monkey named You’re Still Not All That right back onto the Horned Frogs’ back in Glendale, and if history, including 2009, proves anything about TCU, it’s that the Frogs never—ever—get the monkey off their collective back.”
And since 1938, that had been true, with exactly zero exceptions. Andy Dalton and other Frogs said, over and over, how focused they were on returning to the BCS in 2010 and playing well; on purging the taste of the F-Bowl from their mouths. It was Boise that, by besting the Frogs in Glendale, gave TCU the necessary motivation for success in Pasadena.
That success was a culmination of factors that were visible in September. Two days following the article quoted above, your humble Wimple offered these five reasons to expect 2010 to exceed the heights of ’09. (1) Andy Dalton and his receivers were all back; (2) Jake Kirkpatrick and his brethren in the trenches would dictate, not react; (3) the “ohmygawd backfield;” (4) a favorable schedule in which all the good teams came to Fort Worth (or Arlington), except Utah, and for that game Dalton’s greater experience than Utah’s Wynn’s would be the difference; and (5) with such a high starting ranking, TCU wouldn’t be passed by one-loss cartel teams.
The story of TCU’s tremendous 2010 season is no less than the coming-true of every one of those good predictions, and (somehow!) the coming-false of every one of the bad predictions. It is hard to fathom a more perfect season. Dalton and his receivers indeed had a stellar year; Jake Kirkpatrick won the Rimington, and led a line that generally paved over opponents; the d-line was nearly as dominant; the backfield was outstanding; only one team registered a threat at Amon Carter Stadium, and the Utes’ poor quarterback was so thunderingly confused by TCU’s defense while Dalton had one of the best games of his career; and to top it off, the one-loss cartel teams in fact did not outrank TCU. (more…)
Posted by Ezra Hood | January 4th, 2011 at 12:22 am
When a team gets out-gained, out-first-downed, runs 25% fewer plays than its opponent, but wins anyway, one assumes a gaggle of turnovers. But neither team committed one Saturday in the Rose Bowl. Instead, each team did what it did, and in the end, TCU was better. Wisconsin blew open massive holes for its runningbacks, but couldn’t protect its quarterback, who had a distinctly forgettable day. TCU protected its quarterback, who had one of his career best days. And after all the brouhaha about Wisconsin’s amazing run game, and especially its overstuffed offensive line, it was quarterback and secondary play that made the difference.
The quarterback who won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award couldn’t make his opponent’s secondary pay, despite their poor traction on the wet grass. The quarterback who should have won the award was flawless. And so was Tank Carder, who brought the heat all day from his linebacking position, and carved a nice pre-season niche for himself on every national award list a linebacker can.
The game was unlike any of TCU’s recent wins, going back a few years. The Frogs didn’t win by a punishing ground game, or run-stuffing defense. Andy Dalton carried this team with his smart reads and pin-point passing. Dalton didn’t underthrow the long ball; his receivers didn’t have the dropsies. This was like the F-Bowl repeated, only with the passing game functioning at a high level, meaning this was what the team had hoped to do in Glendale last January.
In fact, this win represents the opposite end of the continuum that began with last season’s resounding thud against Boise State. So many juniors left that game disgusted, but resolved to make another chance to win on so grand a stage. They, none of them more than Dalton, did exactly that in Pasadena.
Their win puts their class at the top of the heap, shoulder-to-shoulder with the mighty ’38 Frogs that claimed a national championship. And while it’s true there’s probably nowhere to go but down, it’s equally true that the view from these heights is exhilarating.
Ezra Hood blogs about all things TCU football at The Purple Wimple.