No one likes to lose, and certainly not twice in three games like TCU has done in October.
“We’ve got the rest of the Big 12 that we have to play,” the senior defensive end said Tuesday during the team’s weekly press session. “It was a tough loss. It wasn’t something we were expecting. But we have to put it behind us and get ready for the rest, because if we don’t get ready for everyone else we have to play, we’re going to be in trouble.”
That’s an accurate statement.
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It’s going to come with time. I know I say that a lot, but I really do believe that this team could potentially be really good.
TCU defensive end James McFarland
For TCU, the next four games, starting with Texas Tech on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium, are matchups against the No. 1-, No. 4-, No. 31- and No. 34-ranked offenses in the country.
Texas Tech, by far, is the most prolific. The Red Raiders are putting out an astonishing 640.3 yards per game following last week’s 854-yard output against Oklahoma. They’re also No. 1 in passing (542.7 yards per game), first downs (33.9 per game) and third-down conversion percentage (59.3 percent) and second in scoring (50.3 points per game).
But the week after that, it’s Baylor and its 549.2 yards and 43.7 points per game.
Then Oklahoma State and its 41.1 points per game.
And Texas and its two-quarterback system.
There’s no rest for the weary.
“All really good offenses,” McFarland said.
In the next four games, TCU faces the No. 1 offense in the country, followed by the No. 4, No. 31 and No. 34 attacks. The next three opponents rank in the top 15 in scoring.
The problem for TCU is, it has to answer with the nation’s 77th-ranked defense. The Frogs are allowing 418.9 yards and 30.6 points per game. They simply aren’t used to giving up those kind of numbers.
Yet in the Big 12, that puts them in the top half of the league for defense.
“Historically, we have been it,” McFarland said, asked where the conference’s defenses have gone. “We’re just struggling this year. It’s a way younger team. It’s going to come with time. I know I say that a lot, but I really do believe that this team could potentially be really good. It’s going to come down to people coming in, getting better day by day. It’s not something that’s going to be done overnight. It’s a process.”
TCU has the offense to match points for points. But last week, Kenny Hill threw for only 148 yards and the Frogs scored only 10 points, their fewest in 38 games.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said he sees growing confidence from the defense. He said the return of cornerback Julius Lewis pumped life into that side of the ball last week.
But he senses a lack of “swagger” from the offense since KaVontae Turpin has been out with a knee injury. The team’s all-purpose leader from last year is expected back this week.
For me, the biggest thing is for our offense to get our swagger back. To me, that’s the big thing that needs to happen with our group, is that they need to believe in themselves.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
“For me, the biggest thing is for our offense to get our swagger back,” Patterson said. “To me, that’s the big thing that needs to happen with our group, is that they need to believe in themselves. I think we lost a little bit when Turpin left because he was kind of our ‘wow’ factor. And now he’s going to come back, so we’ll see when that factor comes back.”
The season is more than halfway complete. Already, the Frogs have lost as many games (three) as they did the previous two seasons combined.
Five games remain for the return of Turpin, Lewis and any other helpful factors to kick in.
“We’re a young team, and it shows,” McFarland said. “We’re definitely going to get better. It’s just going to take time.”
Texas Tech at TCU
2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2