Frogs look for more Mountain West success in 2006 season

The defending Mountain West Conference champions, the Horned Frogs, finished last season (11-1, 8-0), including a win in the Houston Bowl, and are now looking for a repeat performance this year.”We have to play with energy to be great,” said Gary Patterson, head football coach.

If the Horned Frogs are going to reach a BCS bowl this season, they will have to do so without some key players from last season. The Frogs lost a total of 11 starters, according to the 2006 Horned Frog football media guide.

The Horned Frog offense scored 33.2 points per game last season and earned 399.9 yards of total offense per game, acccording to the 2006 Horned Frog football media guide.

This season, TCU will have to rebuild the cornerstone of the offense with only one starting offensive lineman, left tackle Herb Taylor, returning this season.

The right tackle is the only offensive line position we don’t have a lot of experience at, Patterson said.

Jeff Ballard, who, according to the 2006 Horned Frog media guide, passed and ran for a combined 21 touchdowns last season, will need to duplicate his success.

Ballard will have the help of a strong backfield. Over the past four years, seniors Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill have combined a total of 5,177 yards. Hobbs could start the year at fullback, while Merrill and sophomore Aaron Brown would split time at running back, according to the 2006 Horned Frog media guide.

“When we move we are hard to block,” Patterson said.

The defense led the nation in interceptions (26), takeaways (40) and turnover margin (+21) allowing 18.6 points and 107.9 rushing yards per game last season, according to the 2006 Horned Frog media guide.

Part of that success came from the departed cornerback duo of Quincy Butler and Drew Coleman. Red-shirt freshmen Nick Sanders and Rafael Priest are possible solutions according to the 2006 Horned Frog media guide.

The Horned Frogs will start the year’s schedule against the Baylor Bears, a young team on the rise.

“They were a very good team last year,” Patterson said. “They have good coaches and a new offense.”

Another key to any good team is having the support of their fans.

“I have high expectations coming in, just because of what they did last season,” said Aaron Mullens, a freshman premajor.

Some students have even higher expectations.

“I expect to see a lot of touchdowns this season,” said Nestor Gonzalez, a freshman premajor. “I expect a conference championship.