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September 12, 2012Out of all the Big 12 teams Kansas will play this year, TCU probably has the widest range of offensive formations. They can put two tight ends on the field and run a traditional run game or they can spread the field with four wide receivers and run a zone read.
So far TCU has just one game under their belt, but Kansas coaches said from watching their film from week one and comparing it to last year's tape, there wasn't a lot of differences in their scheme.
"They are an established program and they got their system," safeties coach Clint Bowen said. "They have figured out what they do and who they want to be."
Their offensive line tends to do a little bit of everything in terms of blocking styles. TCU will likely do more gap scheme blocking than Rice did last week. While their best and most experienced offensive linemen are on the inside, their tackles have a bright future ahead of them, especially freshman right tackle Aviante Collins who will likely be a future NFL prospect.
"He is a freak athlete and comes from an athletic family," Charlie Weis said.
TCU also has a good variety of running backs to fit their multiple offenses. They have the smaller and quicker Waymon James, who is good at getting to the edge on outside runs, and they also use Matthew Tucker who is a bigger back for inside runs.
"We think we will see a combination from them," linebacker coach DeMontie Cross said. "We are trying to give our guys as many looks as we can without watering down what we are trying to do and I think they have adapted well to it."
For Kansas the challenge will be replacing linebacker Prinz Kande. Last week Kande suffered a knee injury and is out for the season. Kande's biggest strength was that he was able to play multiple linebacker positions. One of those players who could see a bigger role is Tunde Bakare.
"He's got to pick up his role for what we are asking him to do," Cross said. "Tunde probably plays with the most energy out there along with Ben Heeney. He gives us everything we could ask. There are a couple of tackles he wishes he could have back he missed along with the rest of the linebackers as well but I don't worry about his energy but just him making the plays and doing his assignment."
While Kande mostly played strongside linebacker and nickelback, he was also used occasionally as a weakside linebacker. Linebacker Anthony McDonald has been moved over to weakside linebacker partly because of Kande's injury, and also because of matchup reasons against TCU's personnel if they decide to line up with multiple tight ends and run the football.
McDonald is a more physical linebacker whose strength is in stopping the run. He's been limited in practice for most of the season but has finally cleared to play.
Another player who could get an opportunity is redshirt freshman Jake Love.
"He has done really good on special teams," Cross said. "He's earned that right to be out there a little more. Inside or outside. He has a chance to see the field this week."
Last but not least you have to look at TCU's passing game with quarterback Casey Pachall. The good news for Kansas is Pachall's stats can only get worse from last week when he completed all of his passes against Grambling State.
His most talented wide receiver is Josh Boyce but he isn't afraid to throw it to his tight ends either. For Kansas' secondary the big question will be whether safety Lubbock Smith will be able to go after getting injured against Rice. He is currently listed as day to day.
One of the more well known coaches on TCU's staff is former Miami head coach Randy Shannon. Defensive coordinator Dave Campo actually coached Shannon at both Miami in the late 1980's and later on in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Campo said his favorite memory of Shannon was in Campo's first game at Miami when they were facing Florida.
"We didn't know what we had at Miami at the time and one of the first passes in the flat he intercepted and ran back for a touchdown," Campo said. "He's a smart guy and a good person."