Note: The Mountain West Conference’s football coaches participated in a teleconference on Tuesday. This is another in a series of posts that I’ve written from the call. Earlier posts dealt with Air Force, Utah, San Diego State, BYU, CSU and UNLV.
Five of the 16 Mountain West Conference players selected in the NFL Draft last weekend were from TCU – running back Aaron Brown (Lions), outside linebacker Jason Phillips (Ravens), center Blake Schlueter (Broncos), safety Stephen Hodge (Cowboys) and inside linebacker Robert Henson (Redskins).
“Any time you lose a senior class which has five guys drafted, you have some holes to fill,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
Yet the Horned Frogs have plenty of horses back for 2009, and I might vote them number one when I fill out my preseason MWC ballot later this summer (too early to say that definitively).
Patterson is a former defensive coordinator, and his teams always are strong on that side of the ball. But the TCU should have a pretty strong offense in 2009 too.
Junior Andy Dalton returns for his third year starting at quarterback, as do most of his top receivers, including Jimmy Young, who led the Horned Frogs in 2008 with 59 receptions for 988 yards and five touchdowns. Tailbacks Joseph Turner and Ryan Christian also will be back.
–Patterson said TCU will have only 13 seniors in 2009. “So we’ll have a very young football team in that respect,” he said.
–TCU’s first and third games of the season are on the road against Atlantic Coast Conference teams – Virginia and Clemson, respectively.
–Scary news for TCU foes: Patterson said defensive end Jerry Hughes (who led the nation with 17 sacks in 2008) is “stronger and faster than he’s ever been since he’s been here, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
“He’s in one of those situations where with all the limelight that came to him he could have taken the spring off, and he didn’t do that.”