Final Analysis: TCU's 2016 Season

TCU ended 2016 at 6-7, quite the bummer after back to back seasons of ten wins or more. We predicted TCU as a dark horse playoff contender, technically we were right, right? Whatever, the Frogs' roller coaster has come to an end.

Let’s take a look back at 2016.

Identity

We harp on this because it's critical, what's the identity of a program? In other words, beyond the "core values" and marketing, what does a program do well? What do they do that makes them special, potent, or hard to deal with? If a program isn't intentional about what it wants to do, it's just hoping things go right and hope ain't a strategy.

TCU underwent a transformation three seasons ago with the introduction of offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meachum. The Frogs went from a more conventional attack to an offense with real Air Raid tendancencies. All this coincided with Trevone Boykin’s introduction as TCU quarterback. What followed were two magical, dynamic years, then Boykin and his playmaking abilities shuffled off to the NFL. 

Enter transfer Kenny Hill. Under Hill the offense fell from back to back top five finishes in total offense to a respectable 29th. Not a tragic slip, but a definite slip in productivity. What also slipped was TCU’s turnover margin, well kept slipping. Back in the glory that 2014 TCU was a whopping +18 in turnover margin, in 2014 they broke dead even, in 2016 the Frogs were -4.

So did TCU just forget to emphasize turnovers? No kids, turnovers are based as much on luck as anything. The ball is shaped weird and it bounces in different directions. There are no turnover magicians, well other than the Honey Badger, but he don't give an F. Turnovers and injuries, they keep coaches up at night because they can't control either. 

Defensively, Gary Patterson has always been ahead of the curve. He cut his teeth coaching defense and he’s been able to shape and mold playmakers on that side of the ball. His 4-2-5 was revolutionary. Well, the revolution has been co-opted as more teams copy and utilize his schemes, it’s harder to stay ahead of the curve. TCU has finished 64th in scoring defense the past two years, falling from 8th in 2014.

This may sound redundant, but TCU was much better defensively in wins than in losses. The Frogs allowed 19 points a game in wins, 34 in losses, so good defense is still possible, TCU just isn't consistent. One oddity is that TCU was 14 points allowed worse at home vs. on the road.

On the redundancy theme, TCU was good against bad team, not so good against good ones. The Horned Frogs beat an FCS team and five FBS teams with a combined 22 wins and 39 losses. When TCU played the upper echelon of the Big 12, the results weren’t good.

Best win…

With the above in mind, the only team TCU beat with a winning record was Baylor. TCU didn’t just beat Baylor, they demolished the Bears in Waco. Kyle Hicks rushed for 7 plus yards a carry and Kenny Hill didn’t throw an interception and the Frogs rolled.

Worst Loss…

Coming off a big win in Austin the Frogs laid a giant, ugly egg at home against Kansas State 30-6.

Answers we have…

 Kyle Hicks

Kyle Hicks

Kyle Hicks, when healthy, is one of the best backs in the Big 12. Only a handful of backs were able to gain more yards than Hicks on less carries. If he's 100% he give TCU a huge edge.

Speaking of skill guys, TCU has a ton returning including do everything KeVontae Turpin, big targets Emmanuel Porter and Taj Williams, the productive John Diarse, handsy Ty Slanina, and mighty mite Desmon White.

The Frogs return 21 of the 22 off their 2-deep, only losing tackle Aviante Collins to graduation. Assuming they aren't hit hard by early draft defections, TCU will bring back the most experienced offensive unit in the Big 12. 

Defensively Travin Howard is the truth. An All-Big 12 selection, Howard led the Frogs in tackles with 130. He’ll be rejoined by running mates Montrel Wilson and Ty Summers at linebacker, easily the deepest returning defensive unit. 

At corner rising senior Ranthony Texada recovered from an injury that cost him his 2015 season to have an All-Big 12 season.   

Answers we need…

 Kenny Hill

Kenny Hill

Is Kenny Hill going to turn into an elite quarterback? Hill put up the big time numbers you’d expect, but he also threw a lot of interceptions. We’ve been fooled by TCU before, but if Hill can shore up the turnovers, TCU has the talent coming back to challenge in the Big 12. We made that statement at this time last year, so you know don't trust us. 

TCU loses three of four starters from the defensive front including All-Big 12 selections Josh Caraway and Aaron Curry, plus James McFarland. The Frogs will need a bunch of young defensive lineman to play early and well. 

If Kyle Hicks wasn’t running, TCU wasn’t running. The Frogs need someone to step up from a bunch of returning backs. There’s hope that rising sophomore Sewu Olonilua, a big back, could be more of an option in 2017.

2017 Schedule

The Horned Frogs 2017 schedule is out, they open with Jackson State before a critical trip to Arkansas and the Iron Skillet game at home vs. SMU. In league action, they travel to Norman, Stillwater, and Lubbock.

9/2 Jackson State
9/9 @ Arkansas
9/16 SMU
9/23 @ Oklahoma State
10/7 West Virginia
10/14 @ Kansas State
10/21 Kansas
10/28 @ Iowa State
11/4 Texas
11/11 @ Oklahoma
11/18 @ Texas Tech
11/25 Baylor

2017 Recruiting

24/7’s composite rankings put TCU at 48th, 7th in the Big 12. The jewels of the class are without a doubt two metroplex kids, quarterback Shawn Robinson from DeSoto and receiver Jalen Reagor. Robinson could be a difference maker for the Frogs, a huge talent. Add to Reagor Omar Manning from Lancaster and TCU could be have one of the deepest receiver groups in the country. 

Offensive lineman Wes Harris is a big time prospect up front from Aledo.

Scout Rank Name Pos Pos Rank Ht Wt 40 Time School
NR Tyreece Lott DT 6'3" 265 Ardmore, OK
NR Alex Bush OLB 6'2" 225 Cerritos CC
NR Noah Daniels CB 6'0" 180 4.51 League City, TX
76 Omar Manning WR 10 6'3" 203 4.66 Lancaster, TX
91 Jalen Reagor WR 11 6'0" 182 4.41 Waxahachie, TX
NR Garret Wallow S 103 6'2" 200 River Ridge, LA
NR Kenedy Snell WR 127 5'8" 167 4.5 Waxahachie, TX
NR Dennis Collins DE 67 6'2" 250 West Monroe, LA
NR Lakendrick Van Zandt ATH 46 6'0" 196 4.55 Henderson, TX
64 Shawn Robinson QB 6 6'2" 205 Desoto, TX
NR Wes Harris OG 21 6'4" 295 Aledo, TX
Posted on January 3, 2017 and filed under TCU, Southwest Round-Up.