Game week is long and hard, tense with anticipation of the weekend's sweet release, and never more so than during conference play. That's why we're here, scraping and clawing our way over that midweek ridge so you can start the smooth coast toward kickoff with a better understanding of what awaits you at the bottom. This week's guest is Marshall Weber, estimable contributor at Frogs O' War.
Ulysses S. Cocksman: Welcome. I'd like to start with an issue that is extremely important to our readership, for reasons unknown to me. Please state your opinion on Arlington, and defend it vigorously.
Marshall Weber: When I was a cheekier student, I once--in class--referred to Arlington as "the place where Fort Worth and Dallas put all of their shit". But truth is, I really do like Arlington. As a Cowboys fan and a Rangers fan, you kind of have to you know? I saw a Rolling Stones concert there in July and all of the hotels were booked. So I wish they had more hotels for clowns who don't think ahead. But Some of my best friends from college are from there, and some of my favorite TCU players as well. Plus, who doesn't like Six Flags? So yeah, I like Arlington just fine.
Oh hell, now you've gone and done it.
Texas wound up having a pretty sedate weekend, without much of note in a scrappy but uneventful loss. Anything interesting happen in your game?
Haha do people not like Arlington? Truth be told, I don't think about it much. Still like it though.
Interesting in our game? Nah not really. Easy on my nerves start to finish. Next question.
Through a ridiculous series of injuries and possible criminal acquisition of bottom rung domestic lager, TCU is now fielding something like [scribbles, squints] negative two starters on defense? Which losses are hurting the most right now?
It's definitely Ranthony Texada. The injuries before him, didn't really bother me. I mean they did, but I didn't lose sleep over it--though the one on safety Kenny Iloka was up there too. Texada started as a freshman last year, grew up quick, and developed into one of the most exciting corners in the Big 12. Without him, and then Iloka at safety, we've had to do some shifting on our secondary and that hasn't been very kind to us. The SMU game should've never been where it was, rivalry game aside. The corners weren't turning around--though they did a lot better job against Tech with that--and that caused a lot of pass interference calls. Coverage wasn't great against Tech either, despite them learning to turn around.
Are any new guys stepping in and filling voids there that are particularly exciting, and if so, in what way do you expect to lose them for the season?
I think the defensive line has done a tremendous job. But they rotate so often that it's hard to say any of them are stepping up in comparison to last year. Hopefully TCU will have Torrance Mosley back Saturday, and while he hasn't been great, just having his speed could really help balance things out come Sunday. I have a couple of other guys who I want to name, they play secondary, but I'm sort of afraid to name them now.
Nice. I like to see that kind of commitment to player safety through obfuscation. Very prudent. The offense lost a couple of receivers this week, as well – do you think there'll be any impact on that side of the ball, or should we expect Boykin, Doctson and Green to drop half a hundred on us again?
We'll see. Emmanuel Porter will be gone for a few weeks, and Ty Slanina is done for the season. Jarrison Stewart, who filled in for Slanina in the slot, did a terrific job on Saturday. Kolby Listenbee might be back, so that takes a lot of pressure of Doctson. Regardless, I think we keep it small with in routes, and get a lot of help from Green on the ground. The in routes have been deadly this year, so expect either Shaun Nixon or Kavontae Turpin to have a big day as well.
Credit Texas for playing a tough schedule, but it doesn't get any easier, especially against Boykin at home--where he tends to feel much more comfortable. TCU's depth on offense is encouraging, even with Slanina and Porter out of the equation this weekend. If Hill guards Doctson, the height matches up well, and thus he won't be as effective as he was against Tech. Still, expect Boykin to throw the fade to him in the redzone. As athletic and skilled as Hill is, I still favor Doctson in the matchup. Given how Texas plays, on both sides of the ball, you may actually see TCU run quicker plays than they have been this season. Balancing out run plays and in routes to get down field whilst running a hurry up would't surprise me. Especially as young as Texas is on defense.
Can you think of any obvious moral failings that have lead us to this godforsaken 11am kickoff time? Possibly related: for our traveling readers, where's the best place to grab a Bloody Mary nearby (bearing in mind that they're not necessarily above mixing plastic bottle vodka with V8 in a gas station parking lot)?
11am games are the college football equivalent to licking a 9-volt; it's unpleasant, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but you still do it anyway because it's not going to kill you. Quite honestly, with an 11am game, I'd try my luck tailgating. TCU fans, unless you're a Baylor fan, are generally friendly before the games--especially if you find yourself in the back lot (lot 4) in the tailgating area. Many of the tailgates, like ours, have big troughs of beer. So bring a case, drop it in, have some food, have some liquor, and make some new friends.
Given that it's an 11am game, most places will probably be (a) too crowded or (b) too crowded with college students who'll probably treat you like an asshole. If you really want to give it a try, try the Aardvark or Buffalo Brothers. Both are on campus, and thus really close to the stadium.
I grew up in Austin, so I've always been blessed with tacos. So I encourage everyone to go to Salsa Limon. It's right on campus next Buffalo Brothers, a Co-Op, and I think a record store. Can't go wrong with the tacos or burritos. It'll seriously knock you off your chair, and make you rethink a lot of your taco consumption you've had in your life. Try the cream green salsa, and the orange habanero. Salsa Limon absolutely smashes it.
I'm definitely on #TeamBlessedWithTacos, so this information alone validates my belief that TCU should've replaced Nebraska in the Big 12 at least a decade ago.
The Longhorns' special teams thus far have been… mixed, with generally solid play interspersed with an array of spectacular clusterfuckery on basic tasks like kicking short distances, fielding snaps and counting to eleven. How is TCU looking there so far?
TCU's special teams is great, it's usually a strength. Though Jaden Oberkrom, probably one of the best kickers of the Big 12 this decade, missed two big kicks on Saturday. But he's certainly beloved and no one's sweating it. He's been the guy since he was a freshman in 2012, so he's been our only Big 12 kicker. My Texas friends joke that he's been there forever. Ethan Perry, not as loved--punter's generally aren't--but he's been the guy since 2012 as well.
Kickoff wise, TCU defends really well. That's one of the most underrated strengths of a Gary Patterson team. As far as returning, Kavontae Turpin is already drawing comparisons to Jeremy Kerley. He has yet to break one, and score--but he's gotten close several times. People will get lit if he returns one on Saturday. He's kinda due.
Well, we have an Australian punter. Try not to let your jealousy show.
Gary Patterson is a tremendous coach, known primarily for his defensive philosophy, discipline and overactive eccrine glands. What he probably doesn't get enough credit for is his close quarters hand-to-hand combat skill. How many rogue referees do you think he could subdue on his own, and how many do you think he and Charlie Strong could defeat if they worked together?
I think Gary and Chuck would make a great team actually. Strong I think runs and is pretty active, Gary's more of a lunatic and spends his "exercise" time in a True Detective garage watching tape and drinking Coca-Cola. What I'm saying, is that Charlie and Gary would make a great #TrueDetectiveSeason3.
If I'm a TV exec, I'm greenlighting the shit out of that.
I honestly think the penalties will offset. TCU's gotten hosed plenty of times since joining the Big 12, and Gary actually got a sideline penalty himself last Saturday. It's a shame Gary doesn't get enough credit for fighting. He's more of a soccer hooligan fighter, he'll take hits, but he'll out tough you, you know? Same with Charlie. Neither are tall, but both would be pretty scrappy. As for his sweat glands, wearing a long sleeve in the dryness of Lubbock doesn't help. If you watched on Snapchat, there was some rain in the game, then it got really humid and soupy. Not a good combo if you're embarrassed about the dampness of your shirt.
Behind the great man, is a better woman. Mrs. P is great. The players really love her, and she follows fans on Twitter. She's a FW native, so in a lot of ways she's the essence of royalty, you know? Like most women who are married, and into their mid-40 and early 50s, they're trying to get their husbands in shape. Gary's lost some pounds, even since joining the Big 12 in 2012.
Back to TV, your possibly outdated bio says you write a lot about The Americans, so we're going to be ending this week with a LIGHTNING ROUND BONUS QUESTION [clanging bells, siren]…
Are you ready?
I think it says "I TWEET" a lot about The Americans. But if Vox wants me to (cough cough) I'll write about it for free. And it's funny you say outdated. I actually added The Americans part like a week ago haha.
But yes, I am ready.
No one likes a pedant, Marshall. OK, this is for everything:
IF…[pregnant pause, winks at audience] Gary Patterson was actually an international secret agent who's alarmingly competent at his day job, which of Philip's disguises would be his go-to alter ego?
Please, call me Marsh.
And this is literally my favorite question. As much as I want to say the lovable goober Clark, you have to remember that Phillip himself is a disguise. No doubt Gary would be a great spy, and a football coach is a great cover. An American football coach from Kansas is as good of misdirection as you can get. Phillip is good at what he does. Gary is good at what he does.
Gary loves American things; Tom Petty, cheeseburgers, etc. So if Gary really was a spy, like Phillip, he'd would let his legit love for American culture bleed through. You see this in the first episode where Phillip is dancing to "Queen of Hearts" in cowboys boots. No doubt Gary's actually done that in real life. If this was the early 80s, no doubt Gary would wear cowboy boots, drive a white Camaro, listen Yaz, and befriend an FBI agent named Stan. But at the end of the day, Keri Russell would have us all eating out of the palm of her hand. No matter how much I loved the United States--and no spoilers--, no matter what might convince me to defect; like Gary would, like Phillip does, I'd follow Keri and remain loyal to the cause. MOTHER RUSSIA.
(Seriously, go watch the series)
Oh no. No, I'm sorry, the answer we were looking for is "Sketchy Long-Haired Man Reconnoitering a Car Repair Shop in Season One, Episode 5". Great effort, though – thanks so much for playing, and best of luck this weekend.