Over at Pre Snap Read, one of the most insightful college football sites on the internet, Paul Myenberg takes a look at how the TCU football team can recover from the loss of four expected contributors in the wake of the drug scandal that has rocked the campus:
Here's what the program has lost, boiled down to the pertinent facts: an all-American linebacker, a starting strong safety, an all-conference defensive tackle and a reserve offensive lineman. Just on paper, that's a fairly devastating set of losses. Digging deeper, however, reveals four departures that will hamper the Horned Frogs immensely as the team prepares for life in the Big 12. That's the offensively-potent Big 12, of course, which contained four of the nation's most prolific scoring teams in the country a season ago.
The biggest loss is that of Tanner Brock, who despite missing all but one game of last season due to an ankle injury was viewed as a team leader heading into September. When healthy as a sophomore, Brock led the Horned Frogs with 106 tackles - 26 more than his next-closest teammate - and was honored, in some circles, with all-American accolades.
But think of the big picture. With the losses occurring on the defensive side of the ball, it's clear that the T.C.U. offense will need to do even more of the heavy lifting than it did last fall, when Casey Pachall spearheaded an attack that helped offset a fairly disappointing showing on the defensive side of the ball. Best in the nation in total defense in 2010, the Horned Frogs slid down to 32nd a year ago, allowing about 1,300 more yards through the air - hence the concerns in the secondary.
Gary Patterson has developed a reputation for being able to plug-in defensive players in his time in Fort Worth, and he'll need to work his magic in a big way to keep the program's momentum going as they make the monumental jump from the Mountain West to the Big 12 in 2012.