Nine out of 10 college football programs would love to have the offensive stats TCU has produced a third of the way through the season.
The Horned Frogs have a top-25 scoring offense at 38.2 points per game. TCU’s 501 yards per game ranks No. 11 in the country while the rushing attack that averages over 200 yards on the ground is ranked No. 19.
Oh and did you know that TCU has the Big 12’s leading rusher (Emani Bailey) and the leader in total yards per game (Chandler Morris)? Keep in mind TCU has done this with seven new starters on offense and a brand new offensive coordinator in Kendal Briles.
So how come TCU has these gaudy numbers and still isn’t satisfied with its offensive performance so far?
“The numbers are good, but man, we’ve left a lot of points out there,” Dykes said. “We had two interceptions in the end zone Week 1, Week 2 we fumbled kind of going into the endzone, Week 3 we didn’t execute particularly well in the redzone and it was the same thing this past week (vs. SMU).
“We had some short fields after turnovers and stops that we didn’t capitalize on. So, I think we’re a long way from playing that we need to play at. The hope is we do that Saturday.”
It would be ideal timing against a West Virginia defense that has no weaknesses in the eyes of Dykes. The Mountaineers have played well defensively the last three weeks, but this is also a measuring stick game for them.
The only good offense West Virginia has played was Penn State and the Nittany Lions rolled in their 38-15 win with relative ease.
30 points is probably the expectation the Horned Frogs have for themselves this week and that would be enough to win with a team that’s banged up at quarterback.
But it’s clear talking to Dykes and other players on the roster, that scoring just enough to win isn’t good enough. Being a top-25 scoring offense isn’t good enough, the Horned Frogs are striving to be elite across the board on offense.
“We see the bigger picture in ourselves,” Bailey said. “We know we’re way better than what we’ve been producing and everyday we want to go out on the field and perform at the highest level. We know deep down we can do a lot better. I think nobody’s really satisfied because of the passion we have in ourselves and as a team.”
That type of mindset comes directly from last year’s national title game run as the Horned Frogs learned what it take win at the highest level.
Execution, discipline, physicality, tenacity and ball security are all the staples of last year’s offense that made it one of the five best offenses in the nation. So how can TCU get from top-20 to top five?
The clearest area that needs improvement is the red zone offense. It’s the one area that TCU isn’t close to elite in. The Horned Frogs are only scoring on 74% of their redzone trips which is tied for 107th in the nation.
Out of 19 redzone trips, TCU has only scored 10 touchdowns and kicked four field goals. Touchdowns at a basically 50% rate isn’t good enough and has to be the next evolution for this offense.
Having the ability to put away teams is going to be essential as TCU gets deeper into Big 12 play. Turnovers have been the biggest deterrent in the redzone, but with Morris playing a clean game against the Mustangs, TCU could be turning the corner in that area.
“We’ve been able to score some points,” Dykes said. “We’ve been able to sustain drives when we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot like take a sack or have a penalty. The good thing we did this week is not turn the ball over and I think that’s a step in the right direction.
“Now we’ve got to fix those redzone issues and I think we’ll feel better about where we are as an offense.”