Cracks in TCU offense formed early in the season

Posted Monday, Oct. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Key stat 23TCU’s 23-point loss to Texas is its most lopsided defeat since losing at Oklahoma 35-10 in 2008, and it’s the worst loss at home since losing to New Mexico (and then-Lobos defensive coordinator Gary Patterson) 40-10 in 1997. Quotable “I can’t pinpoint it. Maybe it’s character, maybe it’s the willingness to prepare or just come out and play for the other guys within the team. I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, it needs to change.” — TCU QB Casey Pachall on why the offense has struggled West Virginia at TCU 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Amon G. Carter Stadium Records: TCU 3-5, 1-4 Big 12; WVU 3-5, 1-4 TV: ESPNU

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TCU had good reason to think its offense was on solid footing going into the 2013 season.

Questions about experience and lack of depth on the offensive line were a concern, but with Casey Pachall returning at quarterback and Waymon James and B.J. Catalon returning at running back, the offense appeared to be more potent than porous.

But Pachall’s injury in the second game, coupled with the loss of offensive linemen Tayo Fabuluje and Michael Thompson in August, started chipping away at those high expectations early in the season.

TCU coach Gary Patterson disagreed during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference with a reporter who characterized the offense as “going south.” The reporter had asked Patterson when he first detected the offense was going to struggle.

“I don’t know if you went south,” Patterson said. “I think everybody feels good going into it. You lose a starting quarterback ... but I don’t know if I can actually answer that question for you. Obviously, we’re not doing well, but I don’t feel like we felt like we were going to go south; but I’m not sure we did that. We just haven’t done what we needed to do.”

TCU (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) ranks 114th (out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams) and ninth in the Big 12 with an average of 319.8 yards per game. TCU has 19 touchdowns and 18 turnovers.

The Frogs managed 246 yards in their 30-7 loss against Texas on Saturday.

Asked what the offense could do to improve over the last four games, including against West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Patterson said: “Score more points.”

TCU’s receiving corps has been an unexpected weak spot this season, although Patterson reminded reporters Sunday that he never said the receivers would be a team strength.

“My standard answer was we need to find a go-to guy from the very beginning,” he said.

Eight games into the season, the Frogs are still trying to find a receiver to step up and fill the void left by Josh Boyce.

“When it’s not going well, there’s a lot of ways to point fingers,” he said. “We have four ballgames to win three of them, so that’s what we’re doing. We’re turning it into one-game seasons, and it starts with West Virginia. At this time of year, you don’t end up really being able to fix a lot of things. You are what you are, so how do we make it better? And that’s what we’re trying to get accomplished. If you don’t do that, then you go home for Christmas.”

Iowa State set

TCU’s Nov. 9 game at Iowa State has been set for an 11 a.m. kickoff. It will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest.

Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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