TCU prepares to get physical with Arkansas


TCU center Austin Schlottmann prepares to snap the ball to Kenny Hill. (Sam Bruton)

By Garrett Podell

TCU’s focus on Saturday will be stopping the Arkansas Razorbacks running game.

Head coach Gary Patterson said at Tuesday’s press conference that he expects a tough game.

“They’re a team that comes right at you,” Patterson said. “Offensively, very physical up front, we’ve got to be able to handle the rush.”

The Frogs are making defensive adjustments. Sophomore linebacker Ty Summers will “probably start the ballgame because we didn’t tackle very well” against South Dakota State, Patterson said.

The Jackrabbits were a challenge, leading at several points during the game before TCU pulled away in the second half for a 59-41 win.

Patterson said across the board they have to play better.

“We found a way to win when we didn’t play good, and I’m not happy, still not happy,” Patterson said. “But now we have Arkansas, so I have to do what Kenny does [after throwing interceptions] and move forward.”

Patterson said playing a Southeastern Conference opponent will add new wrinkles to the Frogs’ game plan.

“We have a couple other surprises up our sleeve because we’re playing a team that’s a little bit different than what we just played and what we play in our conference,” Patterson said.

TCU defensive end James McFarland said the key on Saturday will be stopping the run.

“We have a pretty good Arkansas team coming in who we know is going to try and run the ball on us, and we’re worried about stopping them,” McFarland said. “If we can stop them from running the ball, it’ll be a good game for us.”

McFarland said the Frogs have to be more physical.

“They’re going to try to run us over and we look forward to the challenge,” he said.

TCU and the Razorbacks have a history as both were part of the now-defunct Southwest Conference 20 years ago.  This is TCU’s first match-up against a SEC team since the Frogs defeated the University of Mississippi 42-3 in the 2014 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Under Patterson, TCU is 2-1 against the SEC with the win over the Rebels and another against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Frogs lost the 2013 season opener against LSU, 37-27.

And this will not be the first time Arkansas is facing some of TCU’s offense. Two of TCU’s players transferred from SEC schools; quarterback Kenny Hill transferred from Texas A&M and wide receiver John Diarse transferred from LSU. When Hill was at A&M, he led the Aggies to a 35-28 victory over Arkansas in 2014.

Diarse had four catches for 42 yards last season when LSU played Arkansas.

Patterson dueled with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema in the 2011 Rose Bowl, where the Frogs beat Bielema’s Wisconsin Badgers, 21-19.

Patterson said sophomore wide receiver Jarrison Stewart, who was injured, will play this week. First-year student and wide receiver Isaiah Graham will miss two weeks after suffering an injury in the SDSU game.

Kickoff is 6 p.m. Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.