Zero sacks. TCU football needs more from their pass rushers


That’s how TCU coach Gary Patterson described his pass rushers through three games. The facts support that label.

The Frogs defensive ends have yet to register a sack this season, something that has to change with Big 12 play getting underway against Kansas on Saturday.

“At some point in time it will turn on,” Patterson said, “but they’ve got to keep getting better. A little bit has to do with the offenses.”

TCU has faced offenses that like to get the ball out quickly and not expose their quarterbacks to sacks. But it’s been a staple throughout Patterson’s tenure that his pass rushers are able to get home.

Most expected TCU to take a step back in this department compared to last season. After all, it’s not easy to replace L.J. Collier and Ben Banogu, two Top 50 NFL Draft picks last spring.

But nobody thought this type of drop off would happen. TCU felt good about the replacements for Collier and Banogu.

Patterson has raved about the potential of redshirt freshman Ochaun Mathis, who opened the season with 2 1/2 tackles for loss in the Arkansas-Pine Bluff victory.

And the hope had been South Carolina grad transfer Shameik Blackshear would fulfill his potential by switching to a rush-heavy defensive scheme.

So far the results haven’t been there.

Asked if he’s seen promising signs of late, Patterson said: “We’ll see. You don’t look in your stocking before Christmas do you? The only way you fill your stocking is to do good and Santa thinks you should be rewarded.

“We had a couple of guys last week I thought played better at that position.”

Mathis had a couple quarterback hurries in TCU’s 41-38 loss to SMU on Saturday. He was credited with a hurry on an interception thrown by SMU’s Shane Buechele to TCU’s Ar’Darius Washington in the first half.

Blackshear flashed late in the game. After TCU pulled to within 41-38 with 3:37 left, Blackshear made a couple tackles on the ensuing series that resulted in a three-and-out and SMU punt.

Backup Parker Workman had a season-high three tackles, including a tackle for loss during a goal-line stand by TCU’s defense in the first quarter.

As far as sacks, though, TCU managed just one by linebacker Garret Wallow and cornerback Jeff Gladney.

The Frogs have combined for six sacks through non-conference play with Wallow leading the team with 2.5 followed by defensive tackle Ross Blacklock (2), linebacker Dee Winters (1) and Gladney (0.5).

Maybe conference play will spark the sacks for TCU.The Frogs had multiple sacks in five Big 12 games last season, including three games with at least four.

Kansas has allowed 1.5 sacks a game early on this season. But KU coach Les Miles understands the challenge TCU’s defense presents, and knows it’s liable to have a breakout game at any moment.

“Gary’s always done a great job with his defense,” Miles said. “That front, that defense is tough, fast, quality kids and they play extremely hard.

“We would expect that coach Patterson would be a very, very capable adversary.”

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