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Behind Enemy Lines: A Q&A with Frogs O’ War

I’m joined by Melissa B. Treibwasser of Frogs O’ War to preview today’s game against the TCU Horned Frogs

Texas Tech v TCU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Back by unpopular demand, the Kansas Jayhawks prepare to host the TCU Horned Frogs today in Lawrence. Given the performance of our football team so far, I can hardly blame you if you are not paying enough attention to college football to be familiar with this week’s opponent, so I reached out to Melissa B. Triebwasser over at Frogs O’ War, the SB Nation site that covers TCU. She answered a few questions to help get you ready for today.

RCT: What has happened to this team? While I don’t think anyone expected them to win the Big 12, the Frogs were a trendy dark horse pick and gave Ohio State a fight earlier this season.

FOW: It was a perfect storm of injuries, youth, and bad luck. Anytime you are starting a young, inexperienced quarterback, there are going to be growing pains, and when you add in bad turnover luck, four new starting offensive linemen, and a plethora of injuries at key positions... well... you end up 3-4. The Frogs haven’t gotten into a groove offensively - which can be traced back to inconsistent line play - have yet to get the running game going, and dealt with Shawn Robinson apparently being colorblind based on how often he threw it to the other team. Now you lose him, you’ve got a frustrated Darius Anderson, and who knows what will happen Saturday. Michael Collins looked good against OU before getting the biggest blister I have ever seen on a throwing hand, so maybe he can provide a spark, and there is still plenty of talent at the skill positions. The defense has been really good (with the exception of Oklahoma) and gets Niko Small back - but also will likely be without either starting corner. So... yeah... it will be interesting.

RCT: I’m sure most KU fans have tried hard to forget last year’s game, so could you give us a refresher on the big contributors for this team?

FOW: Last year was so fun. This year is so not. But, the guys to know on defense are defensive end Ben Banogu - a future pro, DE/LB Ty Summers - about to be the leading tackler in TCU history, and Garret Wallow - a sophomore wrecking ball LB/S who is one of those dudes that is just fun to watch. On offense, running backs Sewo Olonilua and Darius Anderson haven’t really been great in 2018 but are more than capable of being that, wide receiver Jalen Reagor is one of the best players in the country, and quarterback Michael Collins gets his first start, which will be interesting. With Turpin’s dismissal, Taye Barber and Derius Davis are a couple of freshmen speedsters that may get some chances to show out.

RCT: While the defense is ranked towards the top of the Big 12, it seems to me that they might have taken a step back. Is the D still the calling card of the team?

FOW: The defense is really good and really talented, but also really banged up. In addition to the Frogs having been without Niko Small since the Texas game, Innis Gaines (one of our best players) is done for the year, cornerbacks Jeff Gladney and Julius Lewis, both starters, are likely out Saturday, and Ross Blacklock, one of the most important defensive players in the conference, was lost before the season even began. That means Patterson was forced to drop Summers from DE back to LB, LB Garret Wallow back to safety, and is starting a couple of freshman at safety and corner. The talent is there - the consistency is not. I don’t know what to expect on a week to week basis from this unit, but I do know that Banogu, LJ Collier, and Corey Bethley are bad, bad men that can wreak havoc - and if they get turned loose on a QB, it won’t matter who is in the secondary.

RCT: What is going to be the key matchup in this game?

FOW: This all comes down to TCU’s offensive line. Kansas has some talent on the defensive side of the ball, certainly enough to cause problems for Michael Collins - who was playing Ivy League football a year ago. Shawn Robinson has spent most of the year running for his life, and if Collins faces that same fate, this could be trouble for TCU. The Frogs will need a good running game to get the win - and that means the line has to block. We will see if they step up.

RCT: Prediction Time! Who wins this game and allows their fanbase to hang their head in shame just a little bit less?

FOW: I hate this game so much. It scares the **** out of me. Give me the Frogs 17-6. I think the defense makes some plays, and the Frogs’ O is just slightly less inept that KU’s.

RCT: BONUS - It seems pretty certain that Kansas is going to be looking for a new coach and staff next season. Name one guy on the staff at TCU who you think would excel on the new staff, either in their current role or in a new spot.

FOW: The last time we gave you a coach.... well... it didn’t work out so well.

That being said, if I am looking for a head coach anywhere in the country, I am at least interviewing Curtis Luper. The Frogs’ co-OC/RB Coach is one of the great recruiters in the conference and is a heck of a football mind. He is also swaggy as hell. But, please don’t call him. We like him.

A huge thanks to Melissa for helping us out this week. Don’t forget to check out (and ridicule me for) the answers I gave to her questions over on FOW.