TCU football is looking to bounce back from a lackluster season in 2016, but coaches around the Big 12 don’t appear to have high expectations for the Horned Frogs this season.
Big 12 coaches spoke anonymously to Athlon Sports about their conference opponents ahead of the season. Many of them weren’t very high on the Frogs, especially after their performance on defense last year.
“They always had so many good defensive linemen, especially the interior of their defense,” one coach said. “A couple years ago, their linebackers were awesome. They just don’t have that kind of linebacker play anymore, that disruptive type of player they’re used to having, and because of that I just don’t think they’re as formidable.”
Another coach said TCU is “a step down personnel-wise overall on defense.” Gary Patterson’s program has been known for years as a defensive powerhouse, but TCU has had trouble on that side of the ball the past two seasons.
The Frogs are trying to remedy those issues. They added a lot of size on the defensive line after giving up more rushing yards in 2016 than ever before under Patrerson. They get former starting linebacker Montrel Wilson back from injury, plus JUCO transfer Alex Bush. Meanwhile, starting linebackers Travin Howard and Ty Summers both have the athleticism to play multiple positions.
But until TCU proves those changes mean better results on the field, other Big 12 coaches will remain skeptical of the Frogs’ potential.
“Gary wasn’t happy with their defense or their offense last year, so I think you’ll see some changes, but you’re limited by your personnel,” another coach said. “And I just don’t see them being back in the top half of the conference.”