As the football team dispersed from the south endzone to begin Saturday’s “Meet the Frogs” mock game, junior linebacker Robert Henson wanted to fast forward the clock to next week.”Why can’t it be next week,” said Henson, hollering from the sideline before kickoff.
Players, coaches and fans alike took part in Saturday’s “Meet the Frogs” festival – one of the final preseason events before next Saturday’s much anticipated opener against Baylor.
The event began just before 11 a.m. with the mock game. Although the plays and situations were scripted, it gave players and coaches the opportunity to run through an assortment of scenarios to gage how prepared the team would be if a specific situation was to arise.
Although most of the players took part in Saturday’s festivities, noticeable by his absence was senior All-American defensive end Tommy Blake, who was “feeling under the weather,” said Mark Cohen, the director of athletics media relations.
At the end of the hour-long mock game, the purple team, which was comprised mostly of first- and second-string players, defeated the white team, 22-19. Fresh off being named the starting quarterback for the upcoming season, redshirt freshman Andy Dalton hooked up with senior wide receiver Ervin Dickerson for one of the game’s only touchdowns, while practicing the purple team’s no-huddle offense.
When players, cheerleaders and the Horned Frog band ended with the school song, the rest of the day’s festivities commenced. The rest of the day’s events included football skills clinics for children in attendance as well as autograph sessions with players and head coach Gary Patterson.
The sight of Division I athletes being knocked down by children brought smiles to families throughout the event. Cindy Hilliard of Fort Worth, who is the aunt of junior offensive tackle Heath Raetz, said she brings her kids out every year, and that it’s how her son, Piper, wants to celebrate his birthday.
“This is what he wants to do on his birthday every year,” Hilliard said.
For those not interested in football, cheerleading clinics were also available courtesy of TCU Cheer. Freshman Jessica Martin enjoyed being able to bring smiles to the faces of future cheerleading hopefuls.
“They’re all so cute and they ask for your autograph,” said Martin, a freshman marketing major. “They’re all so excited when they put up their little (Frog hands).”
The event wasn’t just for the Frogs of tomorrow. Joe Barrett, an Arlington native and 1968 graduate of TCU, said an event such as “Meet the Frogs” shows how far the program has come in the last decade.
“The program is just tremendous,” Barrett said. “The TCU team in the last 10 years (has grown) leaps and bounds, and I hope we can continue on.