TCU Mailbag: Tackling fan questions ahead of Horned Frogs’ football training camp

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We’re only a couple days away from TCU kicking off practice for the 2023 season.

I couldn’t think of a better way to get fans ready for the season than with something new. A little more than a week ago, I took to social media and gave TCU fans a chance to get their questions in about the season.

There were plenty, most couldn’t be answered on Twitter, so now we’ll bring it here for the first edition of the Horned Frogs’ mailbag. I’ll take your questions and thoughts and answer to the best of my abilities. The Star-Telegram will roll this out frequently throughout the 2023 season.

Fans and readers can submit their questions to me on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, @StevenMJohnson_ or shoot me an email at Stjohnson@star-telegram.com

Let’s get right to it:

Horned Frogs’ Mailbag

1. Offensive leadership without Max (Duggan)?- @Llandograndecap

This is a good question and something to watch in fall camp. Offensive tackle Brandon Coleman is one of the players that is being looked to as a leader and hopes to be this year’s version of Steve Avila for the offensive line. Aside from that, leaders will have to emerge the next few weeks at practice.

Chandler Morris is an obvious pick and likely earned some respect from his teammates with the way he handled losing his job to injury last season. The player that I think needs to step up as a leader is Savion Williams. Quentin Johnston had to embrace his role as a leader last year and now it’s Williams’ turn.

2. Is there a current leader in the clubhouse for CB2 opposite Josh Newton?- Russ Hodges

It’s probably too early to say one player is a leader, but in my cornerbacks preview I predicted Florida transfer Avery Helm would get the first crack at starting along with Newton over Channing Canada and Mason White. Helm brings starting experience from his time with the Gators and had a strong spring.

One source said Helm has done a great job during summer workouts and has added muscle to his frame. With his length, speed and experience I think Helm wins out.

3. Do you have a position group that concerns you?- @AndySwain5

The defensive line is the one I have the biggest question marks about. I like what TCU has in Damonic Williams plus Tymon Mitchell, but after those two I’m curious to see how the unit performs. Sonny Dykes believes they’ll have more depth after signing Missouri State transfer Tico Brown and East Carolina transfer Rick D’Abreu plus a talented group of freshmen.

But where’s the dominant pass rusher like Dylan Horton? Is it one of the freshmen like Markis Deal or maybe it’s a player like Paul Oyewale? There’s a lot to sort out up front and I believe the d-line will play the biggest role in whether or not TCU’s defense is able to crack the top-50 or higher.

4. Not hearing a thing about Dylan Wright. How do we think he stacks up to Savion Williams and now JP Richardson? My biggest hope is that we can maintain the deep threat- @WeldonBoley

As we reported earlier this off-season, Wright has yet to make it to TCU, but is still expected to make it to campus in August. Assuming Wright makes it to campus, he can help in that area, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider him a deep threat like Quentin Johnston or Derius Davis.

Based on his scouting report from high school and what he did at Minnesota, Wright compares a lot to Williams as a big-bodied receiver that excels in 50-50 situations. Wright and Williams should both still be able to produce a number of chunk plays as Kendal Briles won’t be shy about attacking defenses vertically.

5. What impact will transfers have on the team?- James Rowland

The Horned Frogs transfer class from last season was a massive success as players like Josh Newton, Mark Perry, Johnny Hodges and Alan Ali were key players in TCU’s run to the national title game. TCU is hoping this year’s crop of transfers could have similar success.

Some have already made an early impact like Oklahoma State transfer JP Richardson, who is a lock to start at receiver, Jackson State transfer Willis Patrick started throughout the spring on the offensive line and Helm could be the starter at corner. Transfers like Trey Sanders (Alabama), Coltin Deery (Maryland) and JoJo Earle (Alabama) are also vying for starting spots on offense.

There’s a very realistic scenario where TCU is starting a transfer running back, two transfer receivers, two transfer offensive linemen and a transfer at corner. Basically transfers will have a huge impact on the outcome of the season as the Horned Frogs will be relying on them at key positions.

6. Is there gonna be a CFP hangover with this team?- @the_realG3

I’ll tackle this one for the final question. I don’t believe that will be an issue for TCU. For one the blowout loss to Georgia in the national title was humbling and has served as motivation for many of the returning Horned Frogs. Also despite the success of last season, TCU was only picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

The Horned Frogs have ample motivation to avoid a hangover from last year’s magical season.