The Air Raid offensive system is one that will hide a lot of issues in an offensive line. It utilizes quick reads, quick throws, screens, multiple formations and options to defeat pressure by play type. The up-tempo and no huddle offense is designed to keep the defense moving and tiring. The Air Raid also unconventionally spreads out the offensive lineman up to a yard apart. This positioning makes the defensive line travel farther to the quarterback than normal. When the defense blitzes the quarterback, a quick play is supposed to defeat the pass rush and tire the defense out even further.
Left Tackle: #59 Tayo Fabuluje, #69 Aviante Collins
Fabuluje is in an odd position in that he is both a key returner and a fresh face, depending on how long you’ve been at TCU. Last year, before the start of the 2013 season, Fabuluje walked away from the program and started classes at BYU despite having a good 2012 with the team. He decided to return to the Frogs and is your starting left tackle heading into the season. Fabuluje is a big body at 6 feet 7 inches tall and 340 pounds, and he plays using every bit of his weight.
Junior tackle Collins had a rough season last year. Despite entering fall practices atop the depth chart, the more seasoned veteran Fabuluje has reclaimed the top spot from Collins as the 2014 season begins.
Left Guard: #77 Jamelle Naff
The junior is returning after starting a couple of games last season. The 325-pound guard is intriguing because he plays with power and good technique, especially when he can lock up with a defender at the line. However, when the defense throws a stunt at him or if Naff needs to drag step laterally, his effectiveness decreases substantially. He looks to benefit the most from the new offensive system.
Center: #55 Joey Hunt
The junior center is a staple in the offensive line after starting 11 games for the Frogs in 2013. Hunt was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team in 2013 and to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy this year, an award given to the player considered to be the nation’s top center in college football. Though not the most physically imposing member of the line at 295 pounds, Hunt is very technically sound and looks to use his brain as much as his brawn.
Right Guard: #65 Brady Foltz, #56 Frank Kee
Foltz is a familiar name to TCU fans. His older brother Blaize was a top conference player while starting for the Frogs. Brady is looking to continue the family tradition after not being able to crack the starting lineup in 2013. Foltz is a proficient blocker who will improve with experience.
Kee a coveted junior college transfer from Tyler Junior College and will be pushing the interior of the line for play time. The 330-pound transfer was rated as the third-best offensive guard in junior college last year and will try to prove his abilities against stronger competition.
The Breakout Star
Right Tackle: #74 Halapoulivaati Vaitai
The junior had seven starts last year for the Frogs and is looking to build on his 2013 performance. Vaitai looked great in the opener against Samford and dominated his assignments in both pass and run blocking. The buzz out of camp is that he has turned the corner and, so far, he doesn’t look lost on the field. If Vaiti has grasped the offense as well as it seems, then he can just settle down and play football. Being the right tackle, he is expected to set the tone in the run game during the upcoming season.
Left Tackle: #68 Joseph Noteboom, #64 Matt Pryor
These first-year redshirts are big talents with promising futures. Noteboom was listed as the starter coming out of spring drills and looks to be pushing for playing time.
Center: #51 Austin Schlottman
The true first-year center Schlottman is an intriguing prospect for the 2014 season. Schlottman was a tackle in high school, and he didn’t allow a sack in his senior year. He has a lot of promise and might get some playing time late in games to prepare himself for the future.
This unit has a lot to gain from the offensive scheme change. After a rough 2013, the line is more mature and will look to gel in the Air Raid system quickly. If the Samford game is any indication of their progress, then Horned Frog fans should expect noticeable improvements from the line this year. The young talent in the group is really impressive and the Frogs are looking to have a big, well-conditioned line for a long time.