Horned Frogs refuse to dwell on past in preparation for Texas


Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 25, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Christian Horned Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill (7) carries the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Stadium. TCU won 31-9. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

By Robbie Vaglio

TCU will welcome a new-look Texas team to Amon G. Carter Stadium Saturday evening. This game will mark Tom Herman’s first game against the Horned Frogs as the head coach of the Longhorns.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson made few remarks about last week’s performance against No. 25 Iowa State during his weekly press conference. Patterson addressed senior quarterback Kenny Hill’s performance and the unjustified unrest from the Horned Frog faithful.

“They don’t know anything about Kenny,” Patterson said. “They don’t know that a wide receiver didn’t run his route about four times. The easiest person to blame is the quarterback. He’s going to have to play better, but he’s giving us what he’s asked. Everyone has in their mind that Iowa State is the same Iowa State from the past; Iowa State is not Iowa State.”

Now Patterson and his team are on to their next opponent: the Texas Longhorns.

“Texas is a really good football team,” Patterson said. “They’ve been playing really well on defense lately, but they know how to get things done in ball games.

Senior wide receiver John Diarse said he believes there are a few positive takeaways from a loss.

“We still have something to play for, and that makes getting over that process much easier and much faster,” he said. “It could have been worse, and we still have the same undefeated team. There are no new strategies and no new coaches.

Following the loss, Diarse tweeted that this loss was something the team needed.

“I tweeted that because I believe that whenever you reach a high amount of success, there has to be a reset, a clue that you have to stay on schedule to continue to do what we have done to get to this point,” he said. “Saturday was our learning lesson.”

The Frogs will have to have learned from last week’s breakdown, as the Longhorns will enter the stadium as a 4-4 program, but their record doesn’t accurately reflect how well the team has played in recent weeks. Texas holds a 3-2 record in Big 12 Conference action, coming off a 38-7 victory over Baylor in Waco and were forced to play three games against top 12 opponents in a span of four weeks, one of the nation’s toughest schedules. The stretch includes losses against USC, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, and wins against Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State.

One player that the Horned Frogs must pay close attention to in preparation for Saturday’s potential defensive showdown is Malik Jefferson. The junior linebacker leads the defensive force the Longhorns pose. He also leads the team with 76 tackles, including 54 solo tackles. He has a team-high 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and five quarterback rushes. He set a career high for tackles against Oklahoma State where he recorded 14 tackles.

Patterson praised the defensive prowess posed by Texas. The Longhorn defense has been dominant on the line, stopping the opposing team’s run game. Texas is only allowing 87.7 rushing yards per game over their last seven games, holding four opponents to under 100 yards. They rank seventh in the nation in third-down defense (.261), second in fourth-down defense (.143) and first with five defensive touchdowns scored.

TCU is 1-0 when rushing for less than 100 yards this season, defeating the Kansas State Wildcats on Oct. 14. The Frogs rushed for a total of 98 yards on the afternoon.

“They’re fast and they play with a high amount of effort,” Diarse said. “They’re very similar to last week’s opponent. From what I have seen on film, these guys play very well together. From the front four to the back eight, they are talented all over the field.”

Diarse added that he is excited for the atmosphere and the spark that playing at home provides the team.

“It’s always huge playing in the Carter,” he said. “It’s always special. Just being able to be back in front of Frog Nation, they cheer us on and compel us to do what we do best. There’s no better feeling than that.”

Patterson is looking forward to Saturday’s matchup and said that the team has been the “most attentive” during this week’s practice compared to the rest of the season.

No. 8 TCU will kick off against Texas in Amon G. Carter Stadium at 6:15 Saturday evening.