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October 8, 2013

TCU offense looks for hot start vs. Kansas

Can a visit from Kansas be the cure to TCU's first half woes? Hopefully.

The Jayhawks are coming off a game where it led 10-0 after the first quarter and eventually lost 54-16 after allowing 54 unanswered points to the Red Raiders.
This season, Kansas has allowed 47 first half points, almost 12 a game.

The Frogs would kill to get a dozen first half points. TCU has 37 first half points through five games this year, including two goose eggs.

"Offensively, if you look back over the last three seasons, we've started slow each year. You just have to get ready to go," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We try to go fast and have more tempo, we tend to make mistakes. But in the second half if we have a sense of urgency we play better."

Don't expect TCU to do its best Baylor impression this week and score a touchdown two minutes, but expect the Frogs to go faster. They have been working on that in practice and now it's just a matter of getting that in games.

"You have to get to where you're just reacting within what you're playing. That is one of the things we've had a conversation about. We teach simplifying it, so we can play faster," Patterson said. "That is one of the things we're going to try this week, getting it within the game plan and streamlining it to where we can play faster when you see all the looks that you do."

While Patterson spends most of his time in practice watching the defense, but he's not blind so he knows that the offense could use a little work. He's been working with coaches since before the season to get that facet of the game improved.

"We talked about it back in the spring. I defend (the coaches). We do team emphasis, so I get a chance to watch them during practice," Patterson said. "There's also a lot better defense being played in the league this year. You just have to keep it all in perspective and go with it. Does that make me happy? No. We need to score more points."

TCU has faced the toughest schedule in the country according to the Jeff Sagarin poll. He also has the Frogs No. 22 in the country. Patterson isn't surprised by the No. 1 strength of schedule ranking.

"We knew what we were getting into. We knew what LSU and Oklahoma were going to be like. Texas Tech was a bit of a surprise. They played well," Patterson said. We're still very close to being able to win some ball games. The kids are playing hard. Somebody asked me about the defense yesterday. I like them because they like each other, and they play hard for each other."

It's hard to not like this TCU defense. The statistical rankings don't do the Frogs enough justice, even though they are ranked No. 16 in the country. Patterson thinks it may be the best he's had.

"Five times we've been the No. 1 defense in the nation. As a whole, that back five group is probably as good as we've ever played," Patterson said. "We lead the league in sacks, and I'd probably tell you that at least 50 percent of them are coverage sacks. I don't know if that has ever happened. I don't think we've ever been as good against the level of competition that we've played."

While the secondary is one of his best, he also likes what he's seen from the front of the defense as well.

"Our front isn't getting enough credit for us being able to play five in the box, getting to stop the run and do some of the things they've been able to do. When you think about it, you lost a Stansly (Maponga) and Devonte (Fields) hasn't played very much. We've been plugging guys in. No one knows who Mike Tuaua is, and he had a sack against a tackle that Stansly couldn't get a sack against last year. Terrell Lathan also had a sack. Maybe it was because we made them hold the ball longer, and they got it because of a coverage sack."

This weekend's game, which kicks off at 11 a.m. and will be aired on Fox Sports Net, is shaping up to be a game where TCU's defense plays it's typical shutdown style, but maybe the offense wakes up and gets on the board early and often.



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