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Oklahoma Sooners Football vs. TCU Q&A: Max Duggan, Zach Evans, the worst things about Texas and more!

What did Kansas State do to take Max Duggan out of his comfort zone last week?

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Texas Ricardo B. Brazziell-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners have had plenty of epic tilts with the TCU Horned Frogs, and here to break down another potential barn-burner is Melissa Triebwasser of Frogs O’ War. We discuss TCU’s season up to this point, the progress of former five-star RB Zach Evans, the worst things about the Texas Longhorns and more!

The TCU Horned Frogs and Oklahoma Sooners have played the same three Big 12 teams and have produced similar results. How are TCU fans feeling about this team through its first three games?

I don’t think fans reasonably expected TCU to be a true contender in 2020 — even before the world went to pieces — but I believe most expected them to at least be “in the discussion”. Losing to Iowa State and Kansas State won’t look bad at the end of the year, but it’s the way they lost that’s frustrating. The infuriating decision to leave Max Duggan on the bench for the entire first half against the Cyclone and the WTF game plan against Kansas State have Frog fans wondering what exactly is happening in Fort Worth, and how good this program wants to be this season. The talent is clearly there, but the game plans have been flat-out weird. The mental errors make sense, but with the extra practice time and through three games, the same mistakes seem to be being made. There’s a segment of the fan base calling for GP to retire (which is stupid) and another segment excusing everything. Most people seem to fall somewhere in the middle — this isn’t good enough, but there’s still hope that it will get better.

Max Duggan looked sharp in the second half of the Iowa State game and was stellar in the win over Texas. However, Kansas State seemed to bring him back down to earth. What did the Wildcats seem to do defensively that might’ve limited his effectiveness?

In thinking back about that game, I think Max just had an off day? Sure, the offensive line was a disaster, and the game plan wasn’t much better, but I didn’t feel that Kansas State did anything (other than live in the backfield, of course) that TCU hadn’t seen before. Duggan missed a few wide open receivers and looked worse for the wear after absorbing a ton of hits in the first half. It was just a perfect storm that led to a very uneven performance.

Five-star running back Zach Evans missed a lot of offseason reps due to contact tracing, so his lack of playing time early in the season is somewhat understandable. However, do you expect him to start getting a larger workload in the coming weeks?

The missed time hurt Evans, both on the field and in the film room. We all keep waiting for the breakout game, but when asked, Patterson keeps alluding to his not knowing the playbook. Same kind of thing with five star DE/LB Marcel Brooks, who seems to make plans when given snaps — but whose snaps have been limited due to injury and playbook comprehension issues. It would be great to see Evans ‘get it’ this weekend, but I also would be completely satisfied if Darwin Barlow got the lead back role Saturday and finally got enough touches to make an impact. He had a great fall camp, and he and true freshman Kenre Miller have been the two best backs through three games.

Sticking with that position group, the TCU rushing attack had a rough game against Iowa State, a great game against Texas and a decent game against Kansas State. What should Oklahoma fans expect from the Horned Frogs on the ground?

I touched on this in the previous question, but I think we all want to know what to expect out of the ground game. Barlow and Miller look like stars, Daimarqua Foster has had some moments, and of course, Zach Evans is the great unknown. But four guys getting touches isn’t going to create any rhythm for the backs or the line, and in my estimation, hurt the offensive flow. I think the Frogs need to establish a lead back and let him roll — and it needs to not be Duggan, who has nearly twice as many rushes as any of the uber talented guys in the backfield with him.

If I was drawing up the game plan for Saturday, I am putting a ton of emphasis on play action. That means getting Darwin Barlow and Kendre Miller going early. Duggan should be in the 7-10 attempts range, and Barlow/Miller should have at least double his output.

Defensively, TCU has always found ways to take Oklahoma’s offense out of its comfort zone. On that side, which players should OU fans keep an eye on this weekend?

You know Garret Wallow at linebacker, you probably know the safeties — Moehrig and Washington — and you will know Noah Daniels (a lockdown corner with the physical tools the pro leagues covet) and young linebacker Dee Winters (who has been better than Wallow through three games). Daniels lining up against these elite Oklahoma WRs will be fun to watch.

Considering how inconsistent each of these teams have been, how do you see this one playing out?

I really want to call this one for TCU, but I just don’t see it. I think OU is up big early, the Frogs crawl back into it behind Duggan and Quentin Johnston in the third and early fourth, but the Sooners pull away late to win by two scores.

Best place to order takeout in Fort Worth?

I said Cane Rosso on the podcast and I will stand by it. Their take and bake option is the best I’ve seen and their Honey Bastard might be my favorite pizza, period. I also make a point to support Stir Crazy Baked Goods and Heim BBQ often.

Favorite TCU alum outside of sports (other than Reverend Lovejoy from the Simpsons)?

Either Dan Jenkins or Bob Schieffer, two of the absolute best in their fields and true TCU legends.

What’s your least favorite thing about the Texas Longhorns or the University of Texas?

That they exist? That they still think they run Texas? That they give A&M something to crow about? That we can’t play them in football more than once a year? Tom Herman? That the national media pronounces them BACK every single stinking year and they NEVER actually deserve it. That their alumni are threatening to stop donating because their band and players are taking a stand and not supporting a song with deeply hurtful racial undertones?

Is that enough?

Is Waco the worst Big 12 destination, and why is the answer ‘definitely yes’?

Not. A. Destination. Not even a pitstop.