Hayes & Cannon

Opponent Watch: 3 Things To Watch For From TCU

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Throughout the spring and into the summer, I wrote about the 2018 opponents Ohio State would be facing during the college football season, ranking them from order of least difficult to most difficult. We are now up to the team that I believed would rank as Ohio State’s most difficult opponent – TCU.

Okay, I know you are still chuckling. Some of you may have to clean up the coffee you just spit out. Let me explain this.

Yes, Ohio State destroyed Oregon State and Rutgers – as a matter of fact, I predicted that would happen, back in the spring. Yes, I know TCU struggled last week in the first half against SMU before pulling away in the second half to win 42-12.

My rationale for this pick as a difficult opponent is based on the simple fact that Ohio State is going on the road, relatively untested, against a TCU team that is well-coached, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

A case in point is that TCU head coach Gary Patterson earned his way up through the coaching ranks for his work on defense, most notably as a secondary coach at Utah State (1992-1994), Navy (1995), New Mexico (1996-1997), and TCU (1998-2000), before taking over as TCU’s head coach from Dennis Franchione in December 2000.

Here are three things that I will keep an eye out for from TCU on Saturday night.

Disguising Coverages

As stated above, TCU’s Patterson made his name as a secondary coach, and it would seem likely that TCU is going to try to confuse Dwayne Haskins with coverage looks pre-snap that might tempt him. In the previous two games, TCU gave up 101 yards passing to Southern and 111 yards to SMU, so this Ohio State passing attack is the best scheme the Horned Frogs have faced this season.

Pressuring Dwayne Haskins

Seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss – those are TCU’s defensive statistics from their first to games in 2018. Yes, I know that was against Southern and SMU. Back in May, Tony Gerdeman cited a match-up between TCU’s Ben Banogu and Ohio State’s Isaiah Prince. Banogu had 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss in the TCU win over SMU last week. Through the first two games of the season, the Ohio State offensive line has not faced a defense with a strong pass rush, so this will be a good test for upcoming B1G opponents that the Buckeyes face later in the season.

Tracking KaVontae Turpin

Listed at 5’9″, 157 pounds, Turpin may not have ideal size, but Turpin is a threat as a receiver, runner, and returner. Turpin has 8 receptions for 111 yards and 1 touchdown so far this season, averaging nearly 14 yards a reception. Will Kendall Sheffield draw the coverage assignment on Turpin, as Sheffield has the speed and quickness to match up with Turpin down the field? While Ohio State has traditionally taken the route of daring the opposition to return kickoffs and punts, it may be in Ohio State’s best interests to boom the ball through the end zone, denying Turpin an opportunity to return the ball.