We all know what's about to happen to K-State, but that's no excuse not to talk about it, right? To that end, we've hooked up with our pal Jamie Plunkett, the big bossman over at our excellent sister site Frogs O' War, to chat about TCU in general and about that other thing we're all scared of.
Jon: You've been rivals with Baylor for a long, long time; I lived just a mile from the TCU campus once upon a time, and was well aware of it (as well as the historical reasons behind it). The profile of the rivalry is such now that it seems more vicious and nasty, though. But I'm still an outsider, regardless of my exposure on the fringes. As an alum, do YOU feel it's gotten testier now that the stakes are more tangible?
Jamie: Absolutely. The tension between the two fan bases has increased dramatically now that the stakes are higher. There used to be more friendly banter (but it was always laced with sincerity) between the two fan bases, but now it's all about #61-58 and 12-1 >11-2. If you ask the appropriate fan base, Art Briles/Gary Patterson is a classless, out of shape, pile of hot garbage who has no clue how to be a decent human being.
Mudslinging happens far more often than it used to, and both fan bases have basked in the schadenfreude of the other school's time in the negative spotlight this year.
All that being said, there are still Baylor fans who can come on to our site and have a reasonable conversation, and I'm sure there are Frogs who go over to Our Daily Bears and do the same thing.
Jon: Younger TCU fans really don't even remember the Frogs being a bad team. Do you have a sense of what moving into a Power 5 conference and leaping to the top means to the older members of the Frog fanbase?
Jamie: I think it means a great deal to all members of the fanbase. For those that are older it certainly provides some sense of vindication after the years and years of wandering in the desert, mowing down the San Diego States and New Mexicos of the college football world, to enter the Big 12 and bring home a conference championship within the first three years. It's even more vindicating now that the team looks like it has the potential to not be a one-hit wonder. It took Baylor 18 years in the Big 12 to win their first conference championship. Texas Tech is still waiting. A&M won one, but claims three or four. Now, TCU fans can enter into that conversation with heads held high.
Jon: When I lived down there TCU was firmly eclipsed in the shadow of A&M and Texas in the Metroplex. Has that started to change? Is TCU actually poised to become DFW's team, and if so do you foresee further expansions to Amon Carter?
Jamie: It'll be difficult for TCU to fully become DFW's team simply because of the size of the alumni base. Sure, the Frogs have added quite a few t-shirt fans over the past several seasons, but the overwhelming number of A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma fans in the metroplex will probably prevent the Frogs from ever being the clear frontrunner. The east side of the stadium could probably see another deck added in the future, but demand is going to have to increase dramatically before that ever becomes a reality.
Jon: TCU and Mississippi were tied in the AP Poll two weeks ago, and the shootout with Texas Tech allowed the Rebels to sneak ahead. How long did it take you to stop laughing when Florida beat Ole Miss?
Jamie: Wait that was a game this season? I thought they were just showing a replay of the Peach Bowl. Certainly a team with Laquon Treadwell and Chad "rap God" Kelly couldn't ever lose a game. I mean, look at how badly they dismantled Alabama.
Jon: Moving on to actual football questions, finally... is TCU doing anything substantively different than last year? Any new scheme wrinkles you've noticed?
Jamie: The biggest thing I've noticed this season is that Boykin seems to want to make plays much more with his arm than his legs. He isn't as quick to take off and run as he was in 2014. Instead he'll move around behind the line of scrimmage longer, giving his receivers time to get open. That's not to say he doesn't run at all, he's run the ball 53 times for 242 yards and two touchdowns, but he looks more like a pass-first quarterback this year than ever before.
He also spent a lot of time in the offseason working on his intermediate passing game, and we've seen that come into play a lot more this season. Ultimately, he's making opposing linebackers work harder than ever before.
Jon: The offense seemed a bit limp against Minnesota, but has been lights out ever since. We know far more about Trevone Boykin than we'd like, and Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee are no strangers either. (It hurts to even type their names.) KaVontae Turpin is a new name, however. What's his story?
Jamie: Turpin is a true freshman wide receiver from Monroe, Louisiana, and he fits perfectly into what TCU's offense expects from a slot receiver. Back in August, all reports coming out of practice mentioned his ability on punt and kickoff returns, drawing comparisons to former TCU wide receiver and current New York Jet Jeremy Kerley. His role expanded when Deante' Gray wasn't going to be ready for the beginning of the season, and now that Gray has been medically redshirted, Turpin has seen his role expand even more.
His height (he's only 5-foot-8) kept him from getting more offers out of high school, but his speed is elite, without question. I've heard some folks make the claim that he's even faster than Listenbee (I'm not sure about that, but it's like comparing two cheetas).
Currently, Turpin is second on the team in receptions (14), receiving yards (242), and receiving touchdowns (6).
Jon: We're also not unfamiliar with Aaron Green. Has his usage changed since last year? And is there anything else we should be keeping an eye on with the Frogs offense?
Jamie: His usage has remained the same since the back half of last season, and over the past three games he seems to have regained what made him so special in 2014, his burst and ability to make people miss. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry this season and has six rushing touchdowns on the year, to go with one receiving touchdown (the miracle catch in Lubbock). He's on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, both of which would be the most for a TCU running back in a single season since LaDainian Tomlinson ran for over 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2000.
Jon: Obviously injuries are a big factor for this team right now, and that's presented some clear challenges for the TCU defense. Are we going to experience a shortage of duct tape in stores by November? How's Gary Patterson managing to keep a functional defense on the field?
Jamie: Patterson said earlier this week that he's seeing the 'fog' lift for his young defense. For the first few games it was all about simplifying what Patterson was asking his guys to do, and he noted after the Texas Tech game that he asked sophomore linebacker and former safety Travin Howard to do too much.
With this group, it's all about getting snaps under their belt, and they've started to do that. We should see them continue to improve as the season progresses and with two average to below-average offenses coming up (sorry), and hopefully they will continue to build off their performance against Texas.
Jon: We'll wrap with the usual closing argument: How badly is K-State going to get mauled Saturday?
Jamie: I don't think Kansas State can keep up with TCU offensively, and that will be their downfall, just like it was in 2014. The lack of a healthy quarterback certainly doesn't help the Wilcats cause, and I think that TCU's defense continues to build on a very good performance against the Longhorns. I see this game ending up somewhere around 56-20.
Our thanks to Jamie, who's always a class act and a good pal, for taking the time to answer our (more than usual) questions. Be sure to stop by FoW for my answers to his questions.