SCOUTING REPORT Last season TCU outscored its opponents by an average of 29.6 points per game. Quarterback Andy Dalton averaged two touchdowns and 219.8 yards per contest. But in all those blowout wins -- 62-7, 45-10, 45-0, 48-6 and 66-17 -- Dalton's heir apparent for the 2011 season got just nine in-game passes. Nine passes for Casey Paschall, the redshirt sophomore tasked with replacing the school's greatest quarterback since Davey O'Brien, to prepare for leading a team that just went 13-0 and finished second in the nation. Nine passes for a guy with one returning starter on the offensive line and his predecessor's favorite target graduated. Nine passes for the new leader of a team that's shrouded by the inquisitive "Well we know they're good on defense, but the offense..." Paschall did make the most of those nine passes, completing six for 78 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 15 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns in his eight appearances for TCU last season. Of course those stats come from dirt time against dirt teams, but Paschall did what he could with what little he was given despite scoreboard operators worrying if a third digit would need to be added during some games.Fortunately for Paschall and the Horned Frogs, the opening to their 2011 schedule isn't exactly earth-scorching. TCU opens at Baylor, which earned a Top 25 ranking last season before dropping its final four games. Then there's a trip to Air Force before returning home to host Louisiana-Monroe, Portland State and SMU. TCU knows its schedule is soft (the Mountain West lost Utah but added Boise State this season) and knows it can gain little, but lose much, by playing its competition.But with a move to the Big East effective July 2012, TCU will no longer have to worry about the Louisiana-Monroes of the nation. Until making the move to one of the big-boy conferences, the Horned Frogs will be focused on capturing a fourth MWC title in seven years.
THE BIG IF With only one returning starter, can the safety corps find the magic from last season, when TCU led the nation in pass defense. TELLING NUMBER 5.18 -- Yards per attempt allowed last season by TCU's pass defense, best in the nation. KEY RETURNEES Tank Carder, LB, Sr. -- Most will remember Carder for batting down the two-point conversion pass in the final minutes of the Rose Bowl. But Carder's contributions were much greater last season, as the first-team All-American anchored the best total defense in the nation.
Greg McCoy, CB, Sr. -- The top returning defensive back for the Horned Frogs, McCoy had two interceptions and six pass break-ups last season. The senior will have to teach his ways to projected starter and sophomore corner Travaras Battle.
Kyle Dooley, LG, Sr. -- Dooley is the only returning starter on an offensive line that allowed Andy Dalton to be sacked only nine sacks last season. The left guard also helped TCU to the 10th best rushing offense in the nation with 247.4 yards per game.
Josh Boyce, WR, So. -- Boyce made the most of his 34 receptions last season by gaining 646 yards, scoring six touchdowns and averaging nearly 50 yards per game. The Freshman All-American will likely be Paschall's favorite target in 2011. BREAKOUT PLAYER D.J. Yendrey, DT, Jr. -- The junior defensive tackle has played in every game for the Horned Frogs since coming to campus two seasons ago and started the final five games last year. His three sacks are the most among TCU's returning defensive linemen. TOP RECRUIT LaDarius Brown, WR, Fr. -- The gem of the best recruiting class in school history, Brown is a great mix of size and speed and will be a threat at the receiver position. He also has the ability to play defensive back if Patterson and Bumpas see fit.
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