The linebackers seriously need a come-to-Jesus moment.
Back on top, punchin’ the clock, clutchin’ sanity.
I’m going to start beginning each of these with a song lyric, as I was inspired by Our Daily Bear’s “Baylor Football in Hip Hop” series. This one from J. Cole’s “Punchin’ the Clock” described how I felt following TCU’s win over Texas Tech this weekend.
By no means are the Frogs “on top,” but they got back in the win column with a blowout in Lubbock, making it fun to come to work as a TCU sportswriter for the first time in weeks as we all clutch to whatever sanity we have left following the Frogs’ piss poor performances against SMU and Texas.
Isn’t it crazy to think just how close (13 points, to be exact) TCU is to being 5-0 on the season, yet, they also feel so far from being good? What is life?
I’m off the soap box, here’s my three up, three down for the week:
1. Kendre Miller (and Zach Evans)
Is it frustrating as hell to watch Zach Evans get shorted on carries? Yes, but man, his backup is still pretty damn good.
On just 12 carries, Miller popped off for a whopping 185 yards and three touchdowns. All three of those numbers are career-highs, as the sophomore recorded a resounding 15.4 yards per carry.
Though Miller has shown signs of greatness over the last two years (namely, his 89-yard touchdown run in 2020 against LA Tech), this was the first time when he looked in control in a Big 12 game.
Being around Zach has clearly rubbed off on Kendre, as his decision-making, toughness, and overall maturity as a running back all looked sharper than ever against the Red Raiders.
After Evans had 143 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, TCU let him nurse what GP called after the game an “injury” and used Miller to keep Tech at bay throughout the second half.
Miller’s two biggest scoring runs of the day (75 yards and 45 yards, respectively) each game after the Red Raiders started to gain some late game momentum, demonstrating the trust TCU has in him to make plays when it counts.
On the day, Kendre finished with a bewildering 90.1 offensive grade (team-high) on Pro Football Focus behind just an insane 10.83 yards after contact in the game.
Yes, it was a terrible Tech run defense that TCU was facing, but 327 yards and five touchdowns combined between your top two running backs is a stat line that any team would take any day.
While Evans is, by far, the team leader in rushing yards (586), Miller edges Zach out in rushing touchdowns with six for the team-high.
2. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson
I feel like a broken record at this point, but are we surprised that TCU’s best defensive player continues to play the best for the TCU defense? It just makes sense.
The junior was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, so I could not leave him off this list.
‘ – , #Big12FB Defensive Player of the Week
Hodges-Tomlinson helped TCU secure a road win at Texas Tech with four tackles and a pick-six interception.
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 11, 2021
Texas Tech is bad. We knew this before the game. The game confirmed this, BUT the one thing I was worried about in this game was Henry Colombi slinging the deep ball against a TCU secondary that has been ghost-like at points this season.
Don’t get me wrong, Colombi ended up getting his bread, throwing for 344 yards. Let’s be real, though, this game was pretty much entirely garbage time for Texas Tech.
Despite the fact that several of his coworkers did give up some deep balls to the Red Raiders’ backup signal caller, but Tomlinson stayed true to form for the entire game.
On top of four tackles (zero missed), THT gave up just three catches on the seven times he was targeted, allowing only 33 yards. None of the catches Tomlinson gave up accomplished anything serious for Tech, as he gave up just four total yards after the catch in the game.
Along with his tight coverage, THT’s biggest play of not only the day but also the year came midway through the second quarter, as he snagged a tipped pass out of the air and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.
After recording zero interceptions through his first two years at TCU, Tomlinson now has two interceptions through five games this year, as he continues to be the diamond in the rough that is the Frogs’ secondary.
3. Khari Coleman
TCU has needed a boost on the defensive line, so it was great to see Khari Coleman with an increased workload on Saturday. After playing 22 snaps against Texas in his first game of the year, Coleman played 45 snaps in Lubbock and got back to his QB hunting ways.
The sophomore had five total QB pressures, with three hurries, one hit, and a sack on Tech’s first drive of the second half to force a turnover on downs. Because of this, he was given an excellent 81.3 pass rush grade by PFF.
Though he did miss two tackles, Coleman looked just about as good as he did during his breakout freshman year, hinting that he has fully recovered from his injury and should be able to give the D-line some juice going forward.
It would be a shame if Coleman carried his success rushing the quarterback into next week against undefeated Oklahoma and their new, shiny quarterback…
I’m manifesting that through this article.
1. The linebacking corp
This game was a joke, so I don’t have much bad to say about it. I’ll keep this section short, but the TCU linebackers were pretty bad on Saturday.
All three of the Frogs’ core linebackers, Dee Winters, Wyatt Harris, and Jamoi Hodge, recorded defensive grades of under 54 on PFF. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an entire position group get rated so poorly in one game.
They combined for 14 tackles and only missed three, so what was the big issue?
The trio as abysmal in coverage against the Red Raiders. On the 11 times they were targeted, the three gave up 11 catches for a resounding 159 yards. So yea, Colombi was cooking the Frogs over the middle.
Hodge was the biggest culprit in this area, literally giving up 109 of the 176 yards after the catch that TCU gave up in the game by himself.
To be frank, the TCU linebackers need to wake up. There’s not excuse for them being this bad, especially Winters.
2. T.J. Carter
Yes, Carter had a career-high 12 tackles in the game. That’s awesome, dude. He also missed a team-high four tackles and gave up four catches for 47 yards on the six times he was targeted.
I’m glad Carter is here, and he’s better than anyone else TCU has to play free safety (except maybe THT). I would love to see him get a little better at making tackles in the open field (8 missed tackles this year), though, so that I start missing Tre Moehrig less.
3. Doug Meacham
The TCU offense has actually been pretty strong as a whole this season. Despite that, the biggest issue has been Duggan’s decision-making and ability to make big throws.
With the Frogs’ heading into their biggest game of the year at undefeated Oklahoma, why not get your quarterback warm and confident against a weak Texas Tech defense?
Instead, Meacham had Duggan throw just 10 passes in the entire game. I’m not sure that’s the approach that I would have taken. But hey, good thing Duggan popped off the last time TCU went to Norman (7-21, 65 yards, interception).
It could be a long evening on Saturday.