Last week's game between the Horned Frogs and Longhorns featured a heavyweight matchup between two of the best running backs in the country. This week's heavyweight matchup within the TCU-Tech game is the battle of two larger than life superstar wide receivers:
Erik Ezukanma and Quentin Johnston
Or is it? Both missed time last week and neither has had a significant update to their injury status. If one team can get their superstar wide receiver back on the field while the other is not, expect the field to tilt in their favor.
Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham
This feels a bit...awkward. After serving as co-offensive coordinators for TCU from 2014 to 2016, these former partners will be pitted against one another tomorrow night. Their first year working together was a dream season in which it seemed the offense could do no wrong, leading the Horned Frogs to a Peach Bowl victory in the first year of the College Football Playoffs. Meacham was a Broyles Award finalist (best assistant coach) for his efforts that year, and it seemed the sky was the limit for new duo. However, the 2014 season would be the pinnacle of success, and the dynamic duo was not long for this world. It would soon start to unravel, with Meacham being shipped off to the University of Kansas after the 2016 season.
Now five years later, TCU and Gary Patterson have come full circle, turned the tables, and see greener grass on the other side. But the jury is still out. Texas Tech has a better record than TCU through Week 5. While Meacham has done a decent job through his first four games back calling plays for the TCU offense, it must be said that mistakes have been made. We are not talking ticky-tacky or nitpicking mistakes here, but Whoppers.
In the Cal game, Meacham called an out route backed up inside his own ten yard line that went for a pick 6, when all TCU needed was a run between the tackles. In the SMU game, we saw another pass play called to open a series when backed up inside the 10 which again resulted in a turnover and easy touchdown for the opponent. Then against Texas, with the offense cruising during a sustained drive which had been beautifully called and had everything working, Meacham inexplicably shot himself and his team in the foot by unnecessarily calling a trick play that resulting in a lost fumble; killing the drive and granting the opponent great field position and easy points.
Each of these plays alone could be said to be the difference in each game, and TCU was lucky to come away with the win against Cal. Furthermore, as every TCU fan has been screaming for weeks now, TCU needs to get Zach Evans more touches. Other than that, however, TCU fans have most likely been pleased with the switch at Offensive Coordinator, and these mistakes seem easily fixable. The red zone offense that had plagued TCU during Cumbie's tenure looks greatly improved. The quality of both respective offensive coordinators game plan developed through the week as well as the ability of Meacham and Cumbie to adjust in game will be a crucial factor in the outcome of the West Texas Championship. If Meacham can avoid the Whopper, TCU should like their chances to come away from Lubbock with the Saddle Trophy in hand.