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TCU Horned Frogs 2010 college football preview

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Top 25 Athlon Team Previews: TCU Horned Frogs

2009 Record: 12-1 (8-0 in Mountain West)
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
Andy Dalton :: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty
2010 Schedule
Sept. 4Oregon State (Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 11Tennessee Tech
Sept. 18Baylor
Sept. 24at SMU
Oct. 2at Colorado State
Oct. 9Wyoming
Oct. 16BYU
Oct. 23Air Force
Oct. 30at UNLV
Nov. 6at Utah
Nov. 13San Diego State
Nov. 27at New Mexico
2009 Results
Sept. 12at VirginiaW30-14
Sept. 19Texas StateW56-21
Sept. 26at ClemsonW14-10
Oct. 3SMUW39-14
Oct. 10at Air Force W20-17
Oct. 17Colorado StateW44-6
Oct. 24at BYUW38-7
Oct. 31UNLVW41-0
Nov. 7at San Diego StateW55-12
Nov. 14UtahW55-28
Nov. 21at Wyoming W45-10
Nov. 28New MexicoW51-10
Jan. 4Boise State (Fiesta Bowl)L10-17
2009 Rankings
OFFENSEPER GAMEMWCNAT'L
Scoring38.3 ppg15
Rushing239.5 ypg25
Passing217.2 ypg559
Total456.7 ypg17
DEFENSEPER GAMEMWCNAT'L
Scoring12.8 ppg16
Rushing80.2 ypg13
Passing159.5 ypg26
Total239.7 ypg11
TO MARGINPER GAMEMWCNAT'L
+2+0.15451
2010 Projected Rosters
OFFENSE
WRAntoine Hicks (Jr.)Josh Boyce (Fr.)
WRJimmy Young (Sr.)Alonzo Adams (Sr.)
WRJeremy Kerley (Sr.)Skye Dawson (So.)
LTMarcus Cannon (Sr.)James Dunbar (Fr.)
LGKyle Dooley (Jr.)Blaize Foltz (So.)
CJake Kirkpatrick (Sr.)James Fry (So.)
RGJosh Vernon (Sr.)Ty Horn (Fr.)
RTJeff Olson (Jr.)John Wooldridge (Fr.)
TEEvan Frosch (Sr.)Logan Brock (Jr.)
QBAndy Dalton (Sr.)Yogi Gallegos (So.)
RBEd Wesley (So.)Matthew Tucker (So.)
DEFENSE
DERoss Forrest (So.)Stansly Maponga (Fr.)
NTKelly Griffin (Sr.)Jeremy Coleman (So.)
DTCory Grant (Sr.)D.J. Yendrey (So.)
DEWayne Daniels (Sr.)Clarence Leatch (Sr.)
SLBTanner Brock (So.)Kris Gardner (Jr.)
MLBTank Carder (Jr.)Kenny Cain (So.)
CBJason Teague (Sr.)Malcolm Williams (Sr.)
CBGreg McCoy (Jr.)Travaras Battle-Smith (Fr.)
SSJurell Thompson (So.)Tyler Luttrell (Sr.)
FSTejay Johnson (Sr.)Johnny Fobbs (Jr.)
WSAlex Ibiloye (Sr.)Tekerrein Cuba (Jr.)
SPECIAL TEAMS
KRoss Evans (Jr.)KRJeremy Kerley (Sr.)
PAnson Kelton (Jr.)PRJeremy Kerley (Sr.)
RETURNING LEADERS
Passing: Andy Dalton (2,756 yards, 23 TDs, 8 TDs)
Rushing: Matthew Tucker (105 car, 676 yds, 8 TDs)
Receiving: Jeremy Kerley (44 rec, 532 yds, 2 TDs)
Tackles: Tank Carder (89, 51 solo)
Sacks: Wayne Daniels (5.5)
Interceptions: Tejay Johnson (3 for 22 yds)
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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Andy Dalton, QB: The first-team All-MWC signal caller set a school single-season record with 2,756 passing yards.

Marcus Cannon, OT: The mammoth senior anchors an experienced offensive line.

Wayne Daniels, DE: He will assume the role of lead sack artist after star Jerry Hughes' departure.

IMPORTANT LOSSES

Jerry Hughes, DE: The first-team All-America had 26.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

Daryl Washington, LB: The Frogs will miss their leading tackler in '09.

Rafael Priest, CB: His departure after 50 career starts leaves depth concerns in the secondary.

NUMBERS GAME

4: TCU has led the nation in total defense four times since 2000, including the past two seasons. During that same period, only Virginia Tech has finished first in the nation in defense more than once.

OFFENSE

Andy Dalton returns for his fourth season as a starter, and does so as the winningest active quarterback in the nation. He's the reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, and his 29 victories are also tied for the most in TCU history with Sammy Baugh, the godfather of the modern passing game.

As he did last year, Dalton will have a deep group of running backs and receivers to help carry the offensive load behind a line that returns four of five starters.

Sophomores Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley figure to lead the ground game after stellar freshman campaigns rushing and receiving. Two freshmen and a sophomore could also be in the mix. And Aundre Dean, a transfer from UCLA who was originally slated to play in the secondary, will get a look at tailback as well.

At receiver, Jimmy Young moves inside along with Jeremy Kerley, while Antoine Hicks will be the big-play weapon on the outside.

Marcus Cannon, the Horned Frogs' top pro prospect, moves from right tackle to the left side, and Rimington Trophy finalist Jack Kirkpatrick anchors the line at center.

DEFENSE

In addition to top playmakers Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington, TCU must also replace two four-year starters at cornerback. That quartet helped the 2009 unit lead the nation in total defense for a second straight year.

Cornerback is the biggest concern for Gary Patterson. Confidence is high in Jason Teague and Greg McCoy, but at least one true freshman will be on the two-deep depth chart.

Redshirt freshman Stansly Maponga and sophomore Ross Forrest will battle to replace Hughes on a senior-laden line, and linebacker Tank Carder will be ready to go for his second year as a starter after offseason shoulder surgery. He will be joined by Tanner Brock, a sophomore who made his name last year on special teams. Tejay Johnson leads an experienced group of safeties in TCU's 4-2-5 scheme.

SPECIALISTS

Kerley, one of the nation's most electrifying return men, is back for his senior season. He returned two punts for touchdowns and had more than 1,000 yards handling kickoff and punt returns. He's a difference maker on special teams. Kicker Ross Evans and punter Anson Kelton are back, but the kicking game will miss snapper Clint Gresham. He was one of only two snappers invited to the NFL Combine.

FINAL ANALYSIS

TCU should again find itself in the mix for a BCS bowl game. The Frogs have a large group of core seniors who are motivated to get back after a Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State to end last season.

Dalton will make the offense go, and it should be as productive or even better than the 2009 unit that set a school record for points. TCU is a defense-first team, and though four key playmakers have departed, Patterson always plugs the holes without much decline.

The Frogs' schedule is fairly friendly, though Oregon State, Baylor and SMU will be out-of-conference challenges. Those games, though, will be played no more than an hour from home, and the toughest game will be Nov. 6 at Utah. TCU has not won in Salt Lake City since joining the Mountain West.

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