TCU safety Niko Small said there were “a lot of phone calls” from former players last year concerned about the Horned Frogs’ defense.
“Look around the walls. There’s a lot of dudes here that were just amazing at what they did, and they knew how to do it well,” he told reporters Tuesday at the team’s midweek press conference. “We got a lot of phone calls last year, like, ‘What’s going on? Are y’all OK? Is it people injured? What’s going on?’ ”
TCU ranked second in the Big 12 in defense a year ago, but still gave up more than 400 yards a game in a 6-7 season. Coach Gary Patterson called it “very average.”
Small did not take offense to the questions surrounding last season’s performance.
“It was just more motivation for us to try to get back to where TCU needs to be and the standard that we hold,” he said.
This year, TCU is ranked sixth in the nation in total defense and scoring defense. But being No. 1 in the country against the run is especially meaningful.
“It’s an attitude,” Small said. “That’s just really what it comes down to. It’s a mindset, it’s a pride thing. You’re not going to run on us. That’s the mindset that we had to take into the offseason. We tried to carry that throughout the season.”
No. 6 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma
7 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/Ch. 4