TCU football old-timers, those who remember the not-so-distant era before double-digit wins and BCS conversation, appreciate the success the Horned Frogs program has had this season. A common lament, though, from the company of enduring fans is current students’ lack of celebration over the team’s present success.
We should abide their request, and consider the following question: to what does TCU football owe its rise to national prominence?
Gene Kranz, director of NASA mission control in the 1960s, articulated his life approach around the twin principles of toughness and competence. Kranz described these virtues as “forever accountable,” and “never found short in knowledge and skills,” respectively.
Kranz’s virtues can be attributed to the success of the TCU football program and, by understanding them, apply these virtues to our lives. In this football team, we see the unique meeting-place of potential and action, and ability with capacity.
First is toughness. Perhaps the most celebrated aspect of TCU’s team is its scoring defense 8212; holding opponents to barely more than a touchdown per game. ESPN analyst Trevor Matich described the effectiveness of the Horned Frogs’ defense before the Utah game by examining their player placement.
In running plays, Matich said TCU’s defenders maintain their pursuit, trusting their assigned teammates to fill the next gap in the field. Accountability on defense creates success.
The offense also functions with toughness and accountability. The offensive scheme relies on the second effort of running backs and yards after the catch by wide receivers, not just play-calling or precision passing by Andy Dalton. With the integrated accountability of each offensive player, the TCU offense soars to exceptional performances.
The second virtue is competence. Common sense has it that success is a function of work. Wisdom has it that we should actually work hard to realize success. The TCU football team demonstrates such wisdom. Despite the team never reaching higher than 46th in national recruiting rankings in recent years, TCU players perform on a level equal to and surpassing many higher-ranked players.
The Horned Frogs are truly committed to the Kranz definition of competence: never found short in skill.
The combination of toughness and competence, therefore, drives the football team to its current heights. Accountability to position and hard work are eternal virtues. Kranz won the race to the moon with this formula and with it, the Horned Frogs could shatter the limits for non-BCS conference teams.
TCU old-timers know this and we would do well to know it too.
Pearce Edwards is a sophomore political science major from Albuquerque, N.M.