Air-Raid offense soars in debut

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    Co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie may have arrived without much fanfare last December, but the coaching duo could be responsible for the revitalization of the Horned Frogs’ offense in 2014.

    When TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, a few growing pains were to be expected. The Horned Frogs would no longer be able to feast on the weaker opponents of the Mountain West Conference.

    However, TCU’s drastic drop-off in offensive efficiency and production in the first two years in the Big 12 was unexpected.

    After four years of top 25 finishes in offensive yards per game from 2008-2011, the Horned Frogs finished 66th in yards per game in 2012 and a shocking 108th in 2013.

    The decline in form cannot solely be attributed to the tougher Big 12 competition, because TCU’s defense would’ve suffered a similar fate.

    The Horned Frogs finished 32nd in total opponent yards per game in 2011, the last year in the Mountain West Conference for TCU.

    In 2012 and 2013, the defense improved to post top 25 finishes in defensive yards per game, despite playing teams such as Oklahoma and Texas instead of Wyoming and New Mexico.

    After last season’s offensive fiasco, Coach Gary Patterson knew he needed to make a change, and Meacham and Cumbie were quickly appointed to revamp the offense.

    The Air-Raid system was installed—an offense that needs a quick-thinking distributor at quarterback, a variety of receiving threats, and a well-conditioned offensive line.

    In the first game of the 2014 season, TCU’s new offense looked impressive.

    The Horned Frogs amassed 555 yards of total offense, 6 touchdowns and ran 96 plays in the 48-14 blowout victory against an inferior Samford team.

    Before last weekend against Samford, TCU hadn’t gained more than 500 yards in a game since a 56-53 triple overtime loss to Texas Tech in 2012.

    Coincidentally, that was the last time that quarterback Trevone Boykin threw for more than 300 yards.

    Boykin will be the key to unlocking the offense’s potential and he is a player that could thrive under Meacham and Cumbie’s guidance.

    If Boykin has won the starting quarterback job over senior transfer Matt Joeckel, the success of this new offensive scheme will depend on his ball placement, quick reads and scrambling ability.

    It’s likely too early to say that there has been a dramatic shift in TCU’s offensive fortunes, but at the very least there will be something fresh and exciting at Amon G. Carter Stadium this fall.