Commentary

Top 25 Intel: No. 18 TCU

Adding respect each year, Patterson's Horned Frogs are still out for more

Originally Published: June 10, 2009
By Chris Sprow | ESPN The Magazine
Jerry Hughes, with 15 sacks last year, feasted on teams that were forced to pass on third down.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson has a hard time explaining just how his defense was so dominant last year.

"It's not a simple explanation," he says, "but, essentially, you had a group that hunted together. That's what we say: They hunt together."

As he tries to explain this, Patterson is driving in the early summer heat of eastern Texas with a couple coaches along for the ride. It's another June sojourn for talent during camp season in a state where it's always football season. They're looking for players who will, well, hunt.

Patterson continues his explanation: "You know each other's strengths, how to play together, how to press each other, and who got there first didn't matter."

But somebody always got there for TCU last year.

The defense was a sensitive bear trap. Second nationally to only USC in scoring defense at 11.3 points per game allowed, TCU's run defense was particularly absurd. They gave up just 612 yards all season. To put that in perspective, the next closest was Alabama, at 1,038 yards allowed. There was simply never a time you could run on this team.

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