TCU Horned Frogs football is back in action this Friday. The Frogs head to Boulder, Colorado, to face a Colorado Buffaloes team from the Pac-12 that is in the process of rebuilding. Kickoff is at 9:00 PM CT from Folsom Field and will be televised on ESPN.
What can TCU expect from Colorado in Week 1? Read on to find out.
An approximate transfer period for lovers
This past offseason was defined by the recruiting portal for college football as a whole. Not only was Colorado not exempt from this, but it was hit especially hard as their key players sought greener pastures elsewhere. Namely, their do-it-all offensive weapon Brenden Rice (son of NFL great Jerry Rice) and top corner Christian Gonzalez.
Between graduation, the NFL Draft and the transfer portal, Colorado is down to their top six defensive players, leading rusher and three of the top five receivers from 2021.
Three top transfers from a light overall class will see immediate work: linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo from West Virginia, offensive guard Tommy Brown of Alabama, and recipient RJ Sneed II from Baylor.
However, most of the lost production will have to be found from their existing list.
Reconstruction of the work
Almost nobody was worse on offense in 2021 than Colorado. They finished 122nd in points per drive (128th in drives longer than 80 yards), 121st in scoring and 119th in explosiveness.
In response, the head coach Carl Dorrell cleaned house on the offensive side of the ball and hired four new assistants. In comes the offensive coordinator Mike Sanford from Minnesota, who was released by the Gophers after their offensive struggles. Word from the Buffs camp is that Sanford and his supporting cast have brought new energy and excitement to that half of the football.
The return of QB Brandon Lewis took care of the football well but was largely ineffective at finishing drives. He is a dual-threat QB who is Colorado’s third-leading rusher with 188 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Brady Russell was the team’s leading receiver from last year, but he only recorded 307 yards and no touchdowns.
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Colorado was a run-heavy operation last season, but had the third fewest tackles per game.
Where TCU Can Struggle
While the offense was completely rotten in 2021 — and projects to be a liability again — Colorado’s defense held its own to start the year. By September, the Buffs were in the top half of the nation in defense, even holding Texas A&M to just 10 total points.
By November, they slipped five spots out of the top half of the FBS and, at the end of the season, dropped another 10 spots to a final ranking of 77th.
While their top linebackers do not return, Colorado returns a talented and experienced defensive line. The Buffs will switch from a three-man front to a four-man front this season, the defensive coordinator explained Chris Wilson as trust in that group.
Talent, however, is relative.
But if TCU is going to need to tighten up at any position, it’s along the offensive line. Last year, the Frogs’ OL was one of the worst units on the team and in the conference. With additions through the transfer window and three starters back, the Frogs should have the edge down the stretch.
To be honest, TCU is a better team. They are favored by double digits in this one and have an advantage at almost every position. The receiver Quentin Johnston should have a good chance against a talentless Colorado secondary.
Kendra Miller also needs to work hard early to get Colorado’s defensive line going. Whoever starts at QB (rumors suggest we may see Chandler Morris) should see softer coverages and windows to get into a rhythm early.
Improving the run defense from where it was last season is imperative, as allowing chip rushes to an anemic offense could land TCU in hot water.
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