The Frogs dropped a heartbreaker last Thursday to Texas Tech 14-17. Same story, different game. TCU’s turnover issues remain. Shawn Robinson gave the ball away twice, and Sewo Olonilua fumbled once. This makes at least three offensive turnovers in four straight games and only one tenuous win against Iowa State to show for it. Defensively, the Frogs performed admirably, holding the Raiders to a field goal in the first half and giving up only two big plays the remainder of the game against a normally high-flying offense averaging more than 30 points a game and a nation’s best 591 yards a game.
This game was nothing less than a stinker from an offensive perspective, no matter what color or mascot you rep. Tech’s third-string quarterback, Jett Duffey, was inconsistent but successfully found receiver Ja’Deion High when the TCU secondary blew the coverage. A late quarterback draw gave Duffey, a Mansfield Lake Ridge product, a clear lane to the end zone for the game’s final touchdown. Robinson looked equally inept, throwing errant passes that caused fans to watch this game with paper bags handy –– either to vomit, hyperventilate, or simply wear, take your pick. The air raid offense, which both teams run, is predicated on having a confident quarterback who can pick spots and make multiple reads in a single play. Neither quarterback was comfortable dissecting the defense, which explains the 31 combined points.
What has happened to the TCU offensive line? Injures haven’t helped. Austin Myers and Cordell Iwuagwu are both questionable against OU, but there’s more to it. Robinson looked uncomfortable in the pocket against Tech all night, and Frog backs had another forgettable game. The Longhorns, Cyclones, and Raiders have all brought regular pressure against Robinson. Schematically, TCU’s offense uses bubble screens and quick passes to discourage pressure without utilizing extra backs or tight ends. Robinson’s inconsistencies have created a vicious cycle of boom, bust, or turnover. Big 12 defensive coordinators are hamstringing the Frogs by forcing Robinson to beat them through the air. The sophomore has become one-dimensional, and it’s not his best dimension. It was painful listening to ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit spew his spray-tanned praise all over the Tech defense, who were simply following the formula that has been laid down over the past several weeks.
Time for Collins?
Understandably, many Frog Faithful are clamoring to see backup quarterback Michael Collins show what he can do on the field. There’s probably a reason the staff hasn’t deferred to him yet. Despite wanting to see other options, the coaching staff knows its players on a level that most fans can’t understand. If Collins becomes the better option, we’ll see him. Offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie also can’t simply decide to adopt a power-running concept. When a team has an offensive philosophy, coaches build everything around it –– recruiting, play design, everything. What can be fixed are the turnovers. Robinson and the running backs have to find a way to protect the ball. Robinson had a nice touchdown drive in the fourth quarter punctuated with a gorgeous pass to KaVontae Turpin for a long touchdown. Cumbie might as well have showed us the joystick he was using with Robinson. Every pass in that drive had one read, and the ball was thrown in less than three seconds. Unfortunately, this might be necessary with this young quarterback. It would be nice to see more option reads and designed runs, but this is also problematic considering Robinson’s recent injuries.
Oh, it’s U
The Frogs will get a chance at some redemption after losing their first home game since 2016 this Saturday bright and early at 11am. The Oklahoma Sooners have had two weeks to think about what went wrong in their loss to the Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners fired their defensive coordinator after giving up 48 points to Texas. Defense has been the weakness of a mostly dominant Sooner squad this year. Oklahoma is currently ranked ninth and is led by junior quarterback Kyler Murray, who has been the model of efficiency this year, throwing 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The Frogs defense will have to play as well or better than they did against Tech, limiting a prolific offense to two or fewer big plays. It really comes down to the offense. Will it protect the ball? Can the offense score at least 28 points against a lackluster defense? Patterson’s boys will have to answer with a resounding “Yes!” to have any chance of besting what is still probably the best team in the conference.l