September 2, 2013

TCU’s offensive line held its own against LSU

The Frogs’ linemen allowed only one sack to the Tigers’ talented defensive front.

TCU made its share of costly mistakes against LSU, but overall, coach Gary Patterson was pleased with his team’s performance, especially in a couple of areas thought to be concerns.

The offensive line held its own against a very big and talented Tiger front, allowing just one sack.

James Dunbar replaced starting left tackle Aviante Collins in the second half after Collins got “rattled” after someone ran by him, Patterson said. Dunbar, who started at left guard, played well, which bodes well for the rest of the season.

Patterson said Collins will be the starter at left tackle when the No. 20 Frogs (0-1) host Southeastern Louisiana (1-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Patterson said he was happy with how sophomore right tackle and Haltom grad Halapoulivaati Vaitai played in his first start.

“I felt like the offensive line battled,” Patterson said. “That was a great test for us.”

One area not expected to have problems this year was the receiving corps. But several dropped passes and confused route-running didn’t do the passing game any favors. Although the unit is young with no seniors, experienced players including Brandon Carter, Cam White and LaDarius Brown only combined for four receptions — all by Carter.

“We had the potential to throw the ball a lot better than we did,” Patterson said. “We need guys to go out and know what they’re doing. We had a couple young guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. We just have to play better.”

Pass rush struggles

One of the areas TCU struggled with most against LSU was its lack of a pass rush against quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Patterson was pleased with Matt Anderson’s performance at right defensive end. Anderson played in place of suspended starter Devonte Fields, who is expected back against Texas Tech on Sept. 12.

Defensive tackles Davion Pierson and Chucky Hunter combined for eight tackles and played “OK,” Patterson said. But the Tigers’ big offensive line gave Mettenberger a lot of time, forcing TCU defensive backs to defend their receivers longer.

How big a difference would Fields have made?

“A lot of difference,” Patterson said. “A lot of times when they were in their one-back set with three wideouts, the guy was holding it for five or six seconds. Last year, go back and look at any of our film and see if you’re ever seeing the ball being held for five or six seconds. Pass rush is the best pass coverage. But we’ll get better at all that.”

Anderson, playing in his first game in two years after repeated knee injuries, had four tackles, including one for a loss.

“He was the one guy who played really well,” Patterson said. “I’m very happy about that happening.”

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