Most Important TCU Quotes from Big 12 Media Days

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LAS VEGAS -- The college football world finds out who Sonny Dykes's TCU Horned Frogs are in 2024. Two years ago they made a national championship run, going 7–1 in one-score games. Last season, they fell to 5–7, the first program to miss a bowl game after playing in the title game since the 2010 Texas Longhorns.

But Dykes trekked to Sin City and said his program was over it's hangover. After a full autopsy of what went wrong, Dykes is confident a new defensive scheme and a talented young quarterback can bring TCU back to the postseason.

Here are the most important quotes from TCU's availability at the Big 12 Media Days.

What Went Wrong Last Year

It's the number one cliche in sports, 'It start's and ends with me, the head coach.' But Dykes is open about what went wrong last season from a coaching standpoint. For starters, he gave the team three weeks off after the National Championship run. While the rest was beneficial, the Horned Frogs didn't start working for the season until mid-February, and spent the 12-game schedule trying to catch up.

TCU's 2022 team also had a bevy of veteran leaders, and Dykes made the assumption the next crop would follow its lead. Only, in today's college football landscape, most of the next crop needs to be imported via the transfer portal. 

"I think when you had a year like we had in 2022, the assumption is, 'Okay, these young players are going to watch these older players, guys like Max Duggan and guys like Dee Winters and just a wealth of experience in leadership, and you think Wes Harris." Dykes said. "You think guys are going to watch them and they're going to learn from them.What happens in today's college football world, you turnover almost half your roster now every year. So there were not that many players when it was all said and done. We lost a lot of juniors to the NFL Draft, guys who came out early."

Dykes said the coaching staff has taken a more active role in establishing the culture by starting a leadership class.

The Transition from 3-man front to 4-man front

TCU parted ways with defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie after his unit surrendered over 27 points per game for the second time in as many seasons. Former Boise State head coach Andy Avalos will implement a four-down front in favor of Gillespie's 3-3-5. 

Dykes acknowledged Tuesday that high-quality defensive linemen are difficult to recruit, and TCU recently lost Damonic Williams to Oklahoma. With a three-down look, the Horned Frogs needed three massive humans. Now, they only need two, with hybrid edge defenders sneaking down to the line of scrimmage. Paul Oyewale and Tulane transfer Devean Deal should benefit from the move. 

"What I love about the four-down system is you're playing with two traditional big defensive linemen, obviously a noseguard and three technique, but then you can play with a lot of different body types on the edge," Dykes said. "That can vary, honestly, from week-to-week in your opponent and who is going to get the lion's share of the playing time. So it allows you to get a little more speed, a little more of a pass rusher on the field."

Josh Hoover is the de facto leader

TCU's offense was electric on the surface last season. The Horned Frogs scored over 30 points per game and finished 11th in the nation in total offense. But a deeper dive reveals a team that couldn't finish in clutch moments. TCU was 121st in the nation in red zone offense. 

Some of the inconsistency was due to quarterback injuries, but Josh Hoover took a stranglehold on the starting job by season's end. He passed for over 2,200 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Dykes said Hoover has won the locker room.

“When that guy walks in the room and everyone has his back and believes in him and cares about him, that sets a good starting point," Dykes told the ESPN desk. "Josh certainly has that.”

"I don't know that I've been around too many guys that are more dedicated, mature, and more kind of proficient in the way that he handles his business," Dykes said. "Every day he wakes up, he's got a plan to get better and improve."


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