The Horned Frogs will look to improve their record to 6-1 Saturday when they host Army, which is playing its third nationally ranked team in six games.The Black Knights enter the weekend 0-5 but have played their first five games against teams that are a combined 19-8 and have lost three of those games by 10 points or fewer.
Head coach Gary Patterson said, regardless of Army’s incriminating record, the Black Knights can still play quality football.
“If you don’t show up, you’ll get beat,” Patterson said. “If you take this group for granted, you’ll be beat up and you’ll come away hurt.”
The last time TCU entered a game nationally ranked was week two of the season, when the No. 22 Horned Frogs promptly lost that title following a 21-10 loss at SMU.
Patterson said the team refuses to let the past be repeated.
“I was talking to the team at practice, and (defensive end) Ranorris Ray wouldn’t even let me finish my sentence,” Patterson said. “He said, ‘Coach, we’ve learned from SMU.'”
Despite Army’s slow start in 2005, the Black Knights have impact players on the roster. Running back Scott Wesley’s 168 all-purpose yards a game are good enough for No. 11 in the nation. During the spring, Wesley was converted from wide receiver to running back and is currently starting in place of injured Carlton Jones.
Sophomore linebacker David Hawthorne said despite Wesley’s recent positional cross-over, the defense needs to stick to its game plan.
“We can’t treat him differently than any other tailback,” Hawthorne said. “When he’s at the running back position, we just have to key in on him.”
Patterson said Wesley, despite being a former wide receiver, can still physically attack a defense.
“He’s listed (at) 202 pounds, but he looks about 235 pounds,” Patterson said. “You better bring your lunch pail because when he hits the hole, he’s going to get you.”
The Frogs beat Wyoming last week 28-14, but the offense had to find atypical ways to score. Junior wide receiver Cory Rodgers finished the day without a catch, the first game in his collegiate career without at least one reception.
Patterson said that Rodgers does not have to fill up the statistics sheet in order for the offense to be productive.
“As a head coach, I’m happy because that shows we can still win without him,” Patterson said. “Your offense just isn’t going to play great every game.”
Rodgers said he understands there are other important factors to being a receiver besides just catching passes.
“Blocking is very important to me,” Rodgers said. “The way we get our offense started is that we have to run the ball before we can pass the ball.