The day all Frog fans had been waiting for with such high expectation came and went, leaving the Frog nation with its first taste of what the 2009 campaign will look like. Both sides of the ball got the job done, but had many glaring holes that a strong BYU team would pick apart with ease.
The Frogs’ first team defense was able to stop the Cavaliers’ attack and held them scoreless until they were subbed out to give the depth chart some repetitions in the game. Watching carefully on almost every defensive stop, a No. 98 jersey was found flying across the field to make the play on almost every tackle. All the preseason hype has been lived up to so far and it seems Jerry Hughes has put in the extra effort to become an even more dominating force on the TCU defense. Hughes looked like a linebacker dropping back in pursuit of run plays that went to the opposite side of the field from his post on the end.
However, Frog fans need to knock on wood and hope Hughes stays strong and healthy throughout the course of the season. Without his help, many of the Cavalier short plays would have gone for huge gains due to a few tackling problems the Frogs’ defense seemed to have. If the defense has any aspirations of being nearly as prominent on the national scene as they were last season, they will need to step up and wrap up, or for the first time in several years they will find themselves being rather porous against the run.
Most of the preseason talk behind Hughes was aimed at linebacker Daryl Washington. Washington recorded six tackles and took a personal foul for what appeared to be taunting the kicker after a botched trick play. Not the leadership the Frogs need at his position.
On the other hand, Tank Carder looked fantastic, tied with Washington for the second most tackles behind Hughes with six and appeared to step up as the leader the Frogs need at linebacker.
On offense, the Frogs seemed confused, which was surprising after all the talk of the extra work the week one bye gave the team. Quarterback Andy Dalton couldn’t complete a pass in the first quarter of the game and seemed completely out of tune with his receivers. He would eventually settle his passes within the reach of his targets but still hung his receivers out to dry with a few high or late passes, most evident in the high pass to Jimmy Young that caused a huge hit, spinning Young out of the air. Young has his lucky stars to thank that he survived that round of human skeet shooting and came down with the ball.
Next to Hughes, my player of the game for sheer effort is running back Joseph Turner. Despite being a part of a back-by-committee game plan, Turner separated himself from the rest in his effort to get those few extra yards after contact. A touchdown would have been the only perfection to add on to the run Turner powered through inside the ten that needed what seemed like almost half the Cavalier defense to bring him down just inches short of the goal line. If he can stay healthy, Turner will be the leader on and off the field of this year’s young running back corps.
Though there were a few flaws, the Frogs did what they needed to do: put away an ACC opponent in their own house. The only real trouble came from the time the lower depth chart spent on the field. Let’s hope these key players can stay healthy through the entire season or else the Frogs may find themselves belly up a few too many times.
Sports editor Travis L. Brown is a news-editorial from Dallas.