Tank Carder has often held the hearts of many TCU fans in his hands over his stellar career. His last-second swatted pass to break up Wisconsin's two-point conversion attempt in last season's Rose Bowl win put Horned Frogs fans everywhere in the palm of his hand.
Sunday afternoon at the San Diego Zoo, Carder literally held a Horned Frog in his hands as he and teammates visited the famous facility in conjunction with the Poinsettia Bowl. TCU (10-2) meets Louisiana Tech (8-4) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Snapdragon Stadium (also known as Qualcomm Stadium).
The Frogs and Bulldogs visited the zoo after practicing Sunday morning. TCU is practicing at Mesa College, and Louisiana Tech is practicing at the University of San Diego. Today both teams will visit SeaWorld.
Carder and teammates including running back Ed Wesley enjoyed handling the reptile. Others, including Greg McCoy, preferred to stick to the one adorning his jersey.
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"I was scared to hold it," McCoy said with a laugh.
"They said it spits blood at cats and dogs but everything else it rolls over and plays dead," said Carder, who has a membership at the Fort Worth Zoo. "I was surprised."
Players from both teams mingled throughout the zoo, many taking the opportunity to grab some grub before heading back to their hotels.
"You think about the game, but I'm enjoying my bowl trip," linebacker and Arlington Martin ex Kris Gardner said. "I'm in San Diego with my friends, who are also my teammates. We're having fun."
East side goodbye
A wrecking ball will begin knocking down Amon G. Carter Stadium's east side grandstands at 9 a.m. today. Crews have already cleared much of the infrastructure underneath. Like the west side, the original 20 rows on the east side will remain intact.
The wrecking ball will be located in the northeast corner of the stadium and knock the stands down in sections. The $160 million renovation is scheduled to be completed by June. The Frogs' first game in the completed stadium will be against Grambling State on Sept. 8.
Gardner plays Mad House
TCU linebacker Kris Gardner, a budding standup comedian, planned to do a three-minute set during open mike night at Mad House Comedy Club in downtown San Diego on Sunday. Gardner recently took the stage at a club in Fort Worth.
Senior running back Jercell Fort will be close to home for the holidays for the third time in four years. Fort, who attended Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, was a redshirt freshman when the Frogs played in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2008 and last year at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Fort has 56 career carries for 220 yards and a touchdown.