TCU vs. Virginia: 24 thoughts 24 hours before kickoff

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    Set your alarms, TCU fans.

    The Horned Frogs’ game Saturday against Virginia is scheduled for 11 a.m., meaning the student tailgate opens at 8 a.m. and the Frog Walk begins at 8:30 a.m.

    In the meantime, here are 24 things to know 24 hours before kickoff:

    1. Well, another one down for the Horned Frogs. What many thought was simply a bang-up toward the end of last week’s game at Kansas, turned out to be a season-ending knee injury for starting running back Waymon James. James, for lack of better term, was the lighting to Matthew Tucker’s thunder. Now, freshman B.J. Catalon and senior Aundre Dean will have to fill in for the junior, who led the team in rushing yards last season.

    2. Speaking of Dean, here’s his stats from his senior year at Katy High School, just west of Houston: 2,498 yards, 7.4 yards per carry, 26 touchdowns. Oh yeah, and Katy won the Texas 5A State Championship that year, too. It’s hardly no secret Dean, a four-star recruit, has been waiting his turn since transferring to TCU from UCLA in 2009.

    3. Catalon’s no slouch, either, though. Patterson raved in the spring about how strong the Houston product got. And Catalon at least did enough to get in the rotation against Grambling State two weeks ago. Expect him to get a decent workload – maybe 8-12 carries –on Saturday.

    4. Patterson’s buying breakfast for TCU students Saturday morning. Here’s the video that was posted Thursday afternoon:

     

    5. Cornerback Jason Verrett gave the TCU defense a "B" grade through the first two weeks. "There's always room to improve," he said.

    6. Even with Catalon and Dean likely getting more carries, you have to think Pachall’s numbers (yards, attempts, etc.) might see a bit of a jump with James out.

    7. Consider this: As ugly of a win it might have seemed last week for the Frogs, was there any aspect of the game other than the turnover situation they didn’t thoroughly dominate?

    8. Joel Hasley was all over the place last week. Two sacks and 12 tackles for the Aledo product, who walked on last year. Hasley’s surge into the starting lineup, and rise to an impact role, isn’t necessarily a surprise for those who have followed his progression over the spring. Still, with Tanner Brock, Deryck Gildon and Danny Heiss all gone at linebacker, Hasley

    9. Casey Pachall called his receivers “the best in the nation,” after the Kansas win last week.

    10. Pachall might have a point. But so would West Virginia’s Geno Smith. Consider: Through two games, Stedman Bailey has 22 catches, 277 yards and five touchdowns, while Tavon Austin has 21 catches, 166 yards, two touchdowns.

    11. Still, the Frogs might be more balanced. Between Carter, Josh Boyce, Ladarius Brown and Skye Dawson, Pachall has several steady options.

    12. Last week, TCU players woke up a 6:45 a.m. for the 11 a.m. kickoff in Lawrence. Sam Carter said that was the earliest he had ever gotten up for a football game.

    13. Casey Pachall Haircut Watch: Stuck with the mohawk, TCU logo and No. 4 last week. He said he likes to switch things up every now and then so keep an eye out for that.

    14. Saturday will be the first ESPN-televised regular season game at Amon G. Carter Stadium since 2005.

    15. Here’s one more look at Carter’s go-up-and-get-it touchdown catch last week against the Jayhawks:

     

    16. And, to refresh your memory, his touchdown catch last year at Boise State which set the Frogs up for an eventual game-tying two-point conversion:

     

    Notice the similarities? For a smaller guy, Carter has an incredible ability to make catches over cornerbacks. He’s a nice blend of Dawson’s speed and Boyce’s playmaking ability.

    17. With James out for the year, TCU, since February, has now lost nine starter-like players: Brock, D.J. Yendrey, Devin Johnson, Gildon, Ed Wesley, Heiss, Stephen Bryant, Ross Forrest and James. I say starter-like because some of those guys probably wouldn’t have been clear-cut starters, but all of them would have seen substantial playing time.

    18. Pachall has a passer efficiency rating of 242.4, which leads the nation. Second on that list? Geno Smith at 209.8.

    19. Small, but decent, selection of Big 12 games this week. Baylor tonight plays a tough UL-Monroe team on the road and, on Saturday, Oklahoma plays Kansas State at home while West Virginia hosts Maryland.

    20. Word earlier this week from TCU athletics to students who couldn’t get a seat two weeks ago against Grambling State: Come early.

    21. The Frogs haven’t given up a touchdown yet, but they also haven’t had too much competition. If they keep the Cavs out of the end zone, then we might be able to start talking about this defense. Still, TCU has done all it’s been able to so far.

    22. OK, so Rocketman delivered the game ball two weeks ago. There has to be something special for the first ESPN game in seven years, right?

    23. If Sodexo’s press box breakfast Saturday is half as good as the breakfast casserole last week in Lawrence, then I’ll be happy.

    24. How will Devonte’ Fields respond this week after being kept relatively quiet against the Jayhawks? Fields had an impressive debut against Grambling State but then, unsurprisingly, tapered off against the bigger lineman of KU. Virginia should be even more of a challenge this week for the true freshman.