The rule has been in place at TCU as far back as anyone can remember: Receivers must do 20 push-ups for every pass they drop in practice. Redshirt sophomore wideout Josh Boyce has fared better than most. He says the most push-ups he's ever had to do in a single week was 40. "It's something the receivers do for fun," says Boyce, who caught 34 passes for 646 yards last season. "But I also think it helps bring out the best in the offense."
For the first time in four years the Horned Frogs' attack is no longer in the sure hands of quarterback Andy Dalton, who was 42--6 as a starter. Dalton went 13--0 last season, guiding TCU to a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin and the No. 2 ranking. The new QB, redshirt sophomore Casey Pachall, has thrown all of nine passes and still has "a ways to go to be what we want," according to coach Gary Patterson. But Pachall is surrounded by talent. Along with Boyce, who set a school freshman record for receiving yards, the top three rushers return, including junior Ed Wesley, a punishing All--Mountain West tailback who squats close to 600 pounds. Wesley, junior Matthew Tucker and sophomore Waymon James combined to gain 2,300 yards on the ground last season. "We get known for defense here, but our offense has broken the school scoring record three years in a row," says Patterson.
The Horned Frogs have led the nation in total defense five of the last 11 years, including the past three; they surrendered just 228.5 yards per game in 2010 and forced an average of 6.0 three-and-outs, best in the FBS. Four defensive starters are back, including senior linebacker Tank Carder and all-conference junior linebacker Tanner Brock, who led the team with 106 tackles last year.
TCU carries a 25-game regular-season winning streak into its final year in the Mountain West. (The Horned Frogs move to the Big East in 2012.) "Some people were still living off the Rose Bowl when we started working out this year," Boyce said, "but as we got through spring ball, everyone understood this was a different team and we need to make our own legacy."
2 at Baylor
10 at Air Force
24 Portland State
8 at San Diego State
22 New Mexico
28 vs. BYU (in Arlington, Texas)
5 at Wyoming
12 at Boise State
19 Colorado State
A hero of the 21--19 Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, he had 60 tackles last season, including 9½ for loss.
Saw limited action in 2010 but passed and ran for two TDs in relief during a 66--17 victory over New Mexico.
The 5'9", 200-pound power back rushed for a team-high 1,078 yards and 11 TDs last fall.
Conference Mountain West
Coach Gary Patterson (11th year)
2010 Record 13--0 (8--0 in MWC)
Final AP Rank 2
Returning Starters 7
Offense 3, Defense 4
JOHN BIEVER (BOYCE)
The sure-handed Boyce is one of a raft of returning skill players, but inexperience at QB and losses on the top-ranked defense will make another BCS run tough.
DARREN CARROLL (WESLEY)