2022 TCU Horned Frogs Preview

by Matt Fargo

TCU Horned Frogs

2021-22 Season Record 5-7 (3-6 Big 12) - 2-9-1 ATS - 7-5-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 10
Defense - 7

Overview

TCU has won everywhere it has been and former head coach Gary Patterson was the architect of it all. He was hired in 2001 after Dennis Franchione turned the program into a winner in his three years and Patterson never looked back as his Horned Frogs went 32-16 in four years in C-USA and then dominated the MWC for seven years with a 77-13 record. Going to the Big 12 was a massive move but the transition was smooth with three 11-win seasons in the first six years but starting in 2018, a 21-22 record forced a mutual split midway through last season as the once proud defense completely fell off and the offense was stuck in neutral. Sonny Dykes comes over from SMU and has landed in a great situation with 17 returning starters and a returning production ranking of No. 7. There is no rebuild here which usually comes after a coach leaving and TCU is ready to flourish again.

Offense

This is where things will get exciting as Dykes is known for his high-powered offenses and while TCU finished No. 36 in total offense last season, it needed an upgrade and that it will get. The passing game has faltered over the last few years and last season Max Duggan was ok, throwing for 2,048 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions but lacked the big downfield ability. That will change in the new system but there is still familiarity so it will not be a complete do over with the offense as his top four receivers are back that accounted for 11 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards. The offensive line has a lot of size and experience and helped the Horned Frogs finish No. 27 in rushing offense with 197.0 ypg and while leading rusher Zach Evans has departed, the cupboard is far from empty with Kendre Miller and Emari Demarcado combining for 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Defense

This is where the problem lies as TCU was awful on defense and that word has never been associated with this unit as the Horned Frogs were No. 119 in total defense and No. 118 in scoring defense. They allowed 100 more ypg and 11 more ppg than the previous season so there is work to be done. Dykes brought in defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie who turned the Tulsa defense completely around in his three years and he will improve this unit right away. The main concern is up front as TCU had just 15 sacks last season which was tied for No. 122 in the nation and a new scheme should make a difference with a lot needing to be replaced. The linebackers will be the strength in the 3-3-5 alignment led by Dee Winters and Jamoi Hodge who combined for 132 tackles. The secondary needs help as it has to replace a pair of starters but should be ok as long as the front six generates a pass rush. 

2022 Season Outlook

Replacing a future hall of fame coach is never easy, especially one that was around here for 21 years but Dykes and his staff should make the transition a smooth one. They have excellent Texas ties and already brought in a great recruiting class so the goal is to be noteworthy again starting right now. The Horned Frogs open at Colorado and then host Tarleton St. before Dykes returns to SMU for their final nonconference game. He will get his Big 12 feet wet right away with a game against Oklahoma, one of five on the schedule that also includes Oklahoma St. and Iowa St. The road portion of the slate starts relatively easy with games at Kansas and West Virginia but back-to-back games at Texas and Baylor in late November will be challenging. The O/U win total is set at 6.5 and the over is gettable but will likely come down to the final three games of the season against Texas, Baylor and Iowa St. 

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