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Tag:Tank Carder
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Keys to the game: Poinsettia Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TCU WILL WIN IF: How's a trip to San Diego before Christmas for a Mountain West swan song sound? The Horned Frogs dominated conference play for the final time, including a memorable upset of Boise State, and will head to one of just four bowls matching up conference champions. Motivation would normally be a factor for some teams coming from two straight BCS bowls but not for one coached by Gary Patterson - as intense and well-prepared a coach as you will find.

"I think the key is, the team that wins bowl games is the team that wants it the most," Patterson said. "What I’ve found is that you usually find out in the first five minutes of the ballgame how that’s all going to go down, with the intensity level and how they do it. I think this is going to be one of the games people talk about, one of the better ball games in the bowl season."

A win in the bowl game would also give TCU 11 wins for the seventh time in a decade. Though they've taken a few lumps, this team is built on defense and linebacker Tank Carder is looking to cap off a great career by slowing down Louisiana Tech's high-powered offense with help from the secondary. The offense is pretty good too, rounding into form as the season progressed. The Horned Frogs have scored at least 27 straight in every game this year and if quarterback Casey Pachall and the offense - sans coordinator Justin Fuente - keep turnovers to a minimum, they should be riding off to the Big 12 with a bowl game win.

"This ball game is a challenge for us," added Patterson. "Not only is it a challenge at the end of the season but it’s a challenge to go into next season, to teach our kids what it’s about to play at a high level. There are no two ways about it."

LOUISIANA TECH WILL WIN IF: The Bulldogs certainly can score some points, averaging almost 450 yards of offense and 35 points per game ever since Colby Cameron took over at quarterback and started throwing the ball around. The offense gets most of the attention but the defense isn't too shabby either with 20 interceptions on the year - good for third in the nation.

"This will be a bit of a measuring stick for our program and where we are headed," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "This has been a great team to coach, we’ve had a fun ride."

A sound game plan that mixes up a few runs as Cameron finds top wide receiver Quinton Patton should be able to move the chains and find the end zone. If the defense can make some plays and slow down the TCU offense, special teams will come into play and the team has a great weapon in Ryan Allen, who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter and can help flip the field position battle in favor of LaTech.

"Our guy Ryan Allen had plenty of punts," said Dykes. "We won ball games because of him, especially when we were trying to find an identity offensively early. We were making a quarterback switch and trying to find which direction we were going. Our defense was playing pretty consistent football and our punter was giving us a chance to win. He is a weapon."

"This is the biggest bowl game for us, probably in school history, so we have to see this as an opportunity."

THE X-FACTOR: As always, turnovers. Pachall has been pretty good in not throwing interceptions or fumbling the ball but he has to keep that up in this game. Give Louisiana Tech extra chances to score and things might get interesting. Spread offenses - Baylor, SMU - have hurt TCU already this year and the WAC champions know how to beat teams if the game is close.


Posted on: September 24, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 1:31 pm
 

TCU starting LB Tanner Brock out for year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

One of the nation's best linebackers will miss the remainder of the year with an ankle injury--and a TCU defense that was already struggling with its rebuilding job will have things that much tougher.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday morning that junior Tanner Brock's injured ankle has not recovered from a reaggravation suffered in the Frogs' openeing-week loss to Baylor, and after missing TCU's previous two games he will go on to sit out the rest of the 2011 season. Brock underwent ankle surgery early in the summer but practiced throughout fall camp was deemed healthy enough to start the opener.

Brock's absence won't make any difference today as the Frogs take on FCS Portland State. But it make a very big difference down the road, as Brock was TCU's leading tackler a year ago with 106 stops and came into the season on the Butkus Award Watch List alongside more celebrated teammate Tank Carder. Junior Kenny Cain is expected to start in Brock's place.

In a typical TCU season, even the loss of a potential All-American like Brock wouldn't be the end of the world. But after the 50 points given up in week 1 to Baylor and the surprising first-half success of ULM's spread attack last week, the Frogs would seem to need all hands on deck to handle opponents like Boise State or maybe SMU. In short, it's just one more reason TCU's 2011 looks like it just won't be there 2009 or 2010.


Posted on: August 31, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:38 pm
 

PODCAST: Previewing Week 1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's always going to be a metric ton of excitement surrounding the first week of the season. But 2011's first week ought to cause even more than most Week 1's: Oregon vs. LSU. Georgia vs. Boise State. Notre Dame's newest Return to Glory taking on Lou Holtz's own son from USF. Wounded Miami traveling to Maryland. Baylor's electric Robert Griffin taking on Tank Carder and TCU in Friday primetime. And more.

It's somehow all happening this weekend, and our Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst break it all down for us right here on the College Football Podcast. Listen below, download the mp3, or listen in a popout player to continue browsing. And -- if you like what you hear -- subscribe to the CFB podcast on iTunes.

Enjoy:




Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:55 pm
 

MWC's Boise State among non-AQ favorites

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Several non-AQ conferences have held their preseason media days and polls, and it won't surprise anyone to learn that the Mountain West's edition has anointed newcomers Boise State the league favorites in their first MWC campaign.

The Broncos earned 28 out of a possible 31 first-place votes, with reigning champion TCU picking up three nods to finish second in their final MWC preseason poll before 2012's jump to the Big East. Air Force placed third, followed by San Diego State.

Personally, we'd have slid the Aztecs into the third slot* thanks in large part to Ronnie Hillman, the explosive sophomore running back who was named to the MWC's preseason all-conference team, also announced Tuesday. But it was the Broncos who predictbably dominated the list of honorees, earning a conference-high seven selections. In addition to Kellen Moore (who was named the preseason MWC Offensive Player of the Year), the Broncos were also saw less-household names like safety George Iloka, defensive end Shea McLellin and offensive tackle Nate Potter.

TCU
picked up four selections, including preseason Defesnive Player of the Year Tank Carder. No doubt the MWC itself is hoping the media have their predictions right; having the Broncos oust the Frogs in the two teams' only shared conference season would be a feather in the league's cap as TCU departs (and the MWC fights for a BCS automatic berth.

But as mentioned, the MWC isn't the only league that's been busy issuing its preseason polls. Checking in on two of their non-AQ brethren:

MAC: The Mid-American Conference held its Media Day Tuesday and announced the league's press had selected up-and-coming Toledo the league favorite for 2011. The Rockets return a league-high 18 starters in the third season of Tim Beckman's tenure, including dynamic receiver/returner Eric Page, a Biletnikoff Award Watch list member.

But the Rockets were far from a slam dunk choice, gaining only five of the 13 votes cast for MAC champion. Reigning divisional champions Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) each picked up three nods, with Ohio and Western Michigan each picking up a token vote. All in all, seven different teams earned votes as champions of one division or the other--promising a well-heated MAC race this fall.

SUN BELT: The SBC doesn't issue a media vote, but last week the league's coaches released their own picks for the 2011 Sun Belt standings, with an unfamiliar name at the top: FIU.

Behind co-preseason Offensive Player of the Year (and CBSSports.com College Football 100 member) T.Y. Hilton, the Golden Panthers usurped usual league overloards Troy, receiving five of the nine votes in the poll. And in maybe the quirkiest single vote in any of those polls mentioned in this post, someone is very high on Western Kentucky; despite going 2-10 last year (and 2-22 the past two seasons), the Hilltoppers received one first-place vote.

*Yes, despite the devastation in the SDSU receiving corps. Between a veteran line, Hillman, and senior QB Ryan Lindley, they'll be fine. 

Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:00 pm
 

TCU wraps up spring practice

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT WORTH, Texas - Amid the construction at Amon G. Carter Stadium, TCU wrapped up their own reconstruction project Thursday afternoon, finishing spring practices in an up-tempo two hour session at the Horned Frogs' home field.

"We got better," head coach Gary Patterson said. "Now we'll see how much better is."

TCU lost 14 starters from their Rose Bowl-winning 2010 team. Linebacker Tank Carder, expected to be the heart of the defense next year, was limited most of the spring while recovering from surgery but wore a red jersey normally reserved for quarterbacks and practiced in non-contact situations. Despite Carder's absense, the biggest issue of the spring might have been to find a replacement for All-American safety Tejay Johnson and figure out the rest of the secondary. In addition to senior Johnny Fobbs, sophomore Trenton Thomas and redshirt freshman Sam Carter both looked ready to handle the added responsibilities.

"I don't know if we're good enough to win but we got a lot better at the safety position," Patterson said. "I thought the young safeties, there was a sophomore and the rest of them were freshmen, did a great job. Running the defense, all the things we do, they did a great job. We have to keep getting better at corner and the linebackers, we should be good there with everyone coming back."

Sophomore defensive end Stansly Maponga looked good during team drills for the Horned Frogs and junior Jeremy Coleman looked quick inside at tackle. The defensive line might actually be the strength of the team if they can figure out a few things before taking on Baylor in the opener.

"With the defensive line, we have to keep getting stronger and better inside at the tackle position," Patterson said. "With the first front, we have a chance to be better than we were a year ago."

Sophomore starting quarterback Casey Pachall looked sharp and clearly had a better grasp of the offense than backup Matt Brown. Pachall threw several very nice passes and didn't mind tucking it and running with it when the pocket started to collapse. With just two quarterbacks on the roster at the moment, Patterson pointed to the offensive line as the only thing stopping TCU from continuing their run atop the Mountain West in their final season in the conference.

"On offense, I think the whole thing comes down to the offensive line progressing and being what we need it to be," he said. "We've got our motto of do it now. Everybody thinks we need a year to grow up but our goal is to come back and win a lot of ball games and do it now."

TCU's 2011 schedule was released earlier in the day and features the team playing three times on CBS Sports Network in their final season before moving on to the Big East in 2012.

Posted on: March 7, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: TCU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at TCU , who began practice over the weekend.

Spring Practice Question: Do the Horned Frogs have the offensive firepower to slam the door in the Mountain West's face on their way out?

Remember how when NBA legends like Julius Erving would announce their retirement, their final season would be a long series of tearful goodbyes as the legend-in-question would be showered at each road venue with gifts and well-wishes? And you know how this is TCU's final season in the Mountain West, the conference it's won three times and helped shape into a national power on the cusp of an automatic BCS bid? Yeah, that season is going to be the complete opposite of that NBA thing.

Because the Mountain West has done all it can to skip the bouquets and send the Horned Frogs off to the Big East with a giant kick in the pants. Not only did the league unilaterally force TCU to forgo their biggest home game of the year in exchange for a brutal road game at Boise State, they ignored the Frogs' choice for a bye week in favor of giving them weeks off before New Mexico and UNLV ... two miserable teams the Frogs could have swept in a doubleheader the week after going to Boise if they had to. It's safe to say there's nothing the MWC wants more than to see TCU flail their way out of a league that spent the year proving it didn't need them; it's equally safe to say there's nothing Gary Patterson would like more than to say good-bye with the raised middle finger of a third straight conference championship.

But entering spring practice, the odds look much longer than they did in either 2009 or 2010. While part of that is the enhanced schedule -- even the Frogs' undefeated showdowns with Utah the past two seasons won't present nearly the challenge of taking on the Broncos on the blue turf -- the much larger part is facing down that schedule with so much lost on offense. Eight starters are gone from the unit that helped bring home a Rose Bowl title, a group headlined by four-year quarterback starter and career 10,000-yard passer Andy Dalton.

But the losses go much deeper than that. The Frogs' second-, third- and fourth-leading receivers are all departed, including top go-to possession wideout Jeremy Kerley and the reliable Jimmy Young. Bookend 6'6" tackles Marcus Cannon and Zach Roth have both graduated. In the interior of the line, the Frogs must replace 300-pound guard Josh Vernon and 308-pound All-American center Jake Kirkpatrick, only the 2010 Rimington Trophy winner.

The good news for TCU is that particularly at the skill positions, they seem positioned to weather the storm. Quarterbacking heir-to-the-throne Casey Pachall was one of Patterson's most highly-regarded recruits, has drawn rave reviews in practice, and should be more than ready as a redshirt sophomore. The tailback tag-team of juniors Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker -- who combined for 1,787 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in 2010 -- returns intact. Top receiver Josh Boyce is back after a breakout redshirt freshman season that saw him average an eye-popping 19 yards per reception.

But there's only so much all that skill-position talent can do if the four new starters up front aren't up to the task. Spring camp should give Patterson and the TCU fans an excellent chance to gauge their progress across from one of the perennially best-coached defensive fronts in the country (not to mention Tank Carder). If the line shows potential, Pachall lives up to the hype, and some member of the Frog receiving corps steps up to provide some measure of balance across from Boyce, it won't be too early to start dreaming about yet another BCS season.

But if not? Boise's going to start licking their chops (to say nothing of teams like BYU, San Diego State, Baylor, etc.), and the MWC bigwigs can start their dreaming about having the last laugh.


Posted on: February 22, 2011 2:19 pm
 

Heisman talk should talk about defense

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Pop quiz, hotshot: who had the higher (public )* vote total in the 2010 Heisman Trophy balloting, Stanford fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic or DaQuan Bowers, Nick Fairley and Patrick Peterson ... combined?

Since we're asking the question in the first place, you can probably guess that the answer is Marecic, who collected three first-place votes and 16 points, while arguably the three best defenders in the country totaled just one confirmed second-place nod and a smattering of third-place votes. This post isn't about Marecic (though we would like to take a moment to condemn his attention-seeking supporters like David Whitley , who decided that thanks to Cam Newton, they were justified turning the voting for "most outstanding" into a holier-than-thou morality play), since the question that needs answering isn't Why did Marecic get so much support? but Why do even the best defenders in college football get so little Heisman love?

It appeared things might be changing in 2009, when Ndamukong Suh finished fourth , coming as close as any defensive player since Charles Woodson to claiming the award. But after a year in which even a Lombardi Award- winner playing for the national champions couldn't get more than a few token mentions, it appears that defenders aren't actually any closer to full Heisman citizenship.

That point was driven home by the 2011 Heisman watch list released today by popular Heisman-tracking site Heisman Pundit. No one will argue that superstars like Andrew Luck or LaMichael James don't deserve their status as front-runners, or that superb skill-position talents like Alabama tailback Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon haven't earned their spots on the list. But of the 22 players mentioned by Heisman Pundit, every one is a running back, quarterback, or wide receiver. Given the Heisman's track record, yes, those are probably the 22 most likely candidates for the coming season, but shouldn't the conversation surrounding the game's "most outstanding" player at least consider those guys on the other side of the ball?

So in that spirit, we offer five defensive players that deserve to enter 2011 as part of the Heisman talk, our own defense-only "Watch List":

Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska: The senior ably filled Suh's shoes as the central anchor for one of the nation's best defenses in 2010, and will likely begin this fall bearing "the country's best defensive tackle" billing.

Mark Barron, S, Alabama: Barron's already been dotting All-American teams for two seasons, and as the highest-profile player on a loaded Tide defense that should keep Nick Saban and Co. in national title contention throughout the season, he'll have plenty of opportunity to put his name in the Heisman hat.

Tank Carder, LB, TCU: Like Barron, Carder (pictured) should benefit from being the best, most-recognized player on a defense itself widely recognized as one of the nation's best; his MVP performance in the Rose Bowl defeat of Wisconsin won't hurt him, either.

Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon: The only defender to ever win the Heisman did so not only blanketing receivers at corner, but returning punts and kickoffs for highlight reel-touchdowns; if Harris can continue doing the same for Oregon as the Ducks win a third straight Pac-12 title, he'll draw his fair share of attention.

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame: A wildcard, but if the Fighting Irish (and specifically, the Fighting Irish defense) take the quantum leap forward many expect, the former five-star recruit and budding star could find himself the media-friendly face of the Irish's latest "Return to Glory."

Honorable mention: Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State; Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma; Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall; Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College.

*The Heisman only makes official the ballot totals for the top 10 vote-getters, but the site StiffArmTrophy.com compiles all available public votes, including (in this case) those few cast for Peterson, Bowers, or Fairley.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 8:48 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Rose Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TCU says "Hello, BCS!" and beats Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl to finish season 13-0

TCU


Offense: It wasn't a great game by the TCU offense in this one, as while the Horned Frogs came out blazing in the first quarter and scored touchdowns on their first two drives, they only managed 7 points over the final 45 minutes.  Still, the Frogs got as many points as they needed, and didn't turn the ball over, using field position to their advantage throughout the second half.

Andy Dalton was on fire out of the gate, but TCU then got a bit pass-happy in the second half and his performance fell off a bit.  He did finish the game with 247 total yards and two touchdowns, running the offense efficiently enough to win the offensive MVP of the game.  That being said, had TCU been a bit more productive with the ball late, it wouldn't have had to sweat so much at the end.  Grade:B

Defense: His name is Tank Carder, and this game wasn't as much the Rose Bowl as it was the Tank Carder Show.  Carder was everywhere on the field for the TCU defense.  Knocking Scott Tolzien to the ground repeatedly, swallowing runners in the backfield, and knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage.  If you didn't know Carder's name before this game, you do now.

The only problem for TCU was its interior run defense.  While it was able to utilize its speed every time Wisconsin tried to stretch runs outside, the defensive line was getting manhandled up the middle quite a bit.  Still, considering how impressive Wisconsin's offense was over the final month of the season, holding the Badgers to 19 points is nothing to be ashamed of.  Grade: B+

Coaching: The only complaint I have about the job Gary Patterson and the TCU coaching staff did in this game was abandoning a game plan that was working so well at the start.  Andy Dalton was having successful early throwing the ball and running out of the read option, but for some reason TCU ditched this attack after the first quarter.  Instead Dalton just kept dropping back to pass, and things got a bit too predictable.  Grade: B

Wisconsin


Offense: Just looking at the statistics and not the scoreboard, you'd think Wisconsin won this game.  The Badgers rushed for nearly five yards a carry, converted nearly half of its third downs, both of its fourth down attempts and didn't turn the ball over a single time.  So what went wrong?  Well, once the Badgers got to the red zone things seemed to stall and the team had to settle for field goal attempts, one of which they missed.

Which was a big miss given the final score.

The big problem on offense was that Wisconsin just wasn't very efficient throwing the ball.  The Badgers have never been a passing team, but they've utilized play-action all season to pick up big chunks of yards and move the ball down the field.  Tolzien couldn't do this against TCU on Saturday, and it cost Wisconsin points in the end.  Grade:C+

Defense: Aside from the first quarter, Wisconsin's defense played pretty well.  It's just Wisconsin had trouble getting off the field on third down, which lengthened TCU drives and took more gas out of the tank as the game wore on.  The Badgers did a good job stopping the run and made life difficult for Dalton at times, but in the end, the Badgers defense had to make a play, and they simply didn't.

A turnover or two would have gone a long way in this game.  Grade:B

Coaching: Why did Wisconsin lose this game despite the stats? Coaching decisions.  Now, I loved Bret Bielema calling a fake punt deep in his own territory in the first half, but other than that, he left me scratching my head quite a bit.  There was the questionable clock management at the end of the first half that forced Wisconsin to settle for a field goal, as it seems Bielema thought unused timeouts carried over to the second half.  The biggest gaffe, however, came at the end of the game.  On Wisconsin's final drive the Badgers ran the ball right down TCU's throat with John Clay and Montee Ball.  After finally punching the ball into the end zone, the Badgers had to go for two, so what did Wisconsin do?  They spread it out with four receivers and decided to throw.  A Tank Carder fly swat later and TCU was Rose Bowl champions.  Grade:F

Final Grade


The first quarter gave me the feeling that this was going to be an epic Rose Bowl, one that would go down in history.  Things didn't quite play out that way, but it was still a very interesting game up until the last few minutes.  It was a huge win for TCU, and one I thoroughly enjoyed watching.  With or without the questionable decisions at the end.  Grade: A-
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com