WR Cory Rodgers

2004 Statistics

Coach: Gary Patterson
32-17, 5 years
2004 Record: 5-6
SMU WON 44-0
at Texas Tech LOST 35-70
at Army WON 21-17
at UAB LOST 25-41
at Cincinnati LOST 10-21
at Louisville LOST 28-55

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

What went wrong in 2004? For starters, injuries devastated this team. The other problem was TCU's putrid pass defense. Six times they gave up 35 or more points, mostly through the air, virtually negating one of the nation's best run defenses. Chalk up last campaign as a fluke and expect TCU to go bowling again. TCU went to six straight bowl games and was the class of Conference USA until last year. Head coach Gary Patterson has brought a tremendous amount of respect to the Frogs in his four seasons as head coach, particularly with a 21-4 run from 2002-2003. His .700 winning percentage (42-18) ranks the Horny Ribbitters 17th in I-A since 2000, so no one is (too) upset yet about '04. But in keeping his entire staff, it all comes down to this campaign with Patterson, for the Frog nation/Fort Worth won't tolerate losing for long.

The Frogs are in a different pond this year, though, joining the surging Mountain West Conference. TCU will have its hands full with traditional conference powers Utah, Colorado State and Brigham Young, as well as ever-improving New Mexico and Wyoming.

TCU will likely start the year with a loss (at Oklahoma), but conference foes Colorado State, Utah, New Mexico and UNLV all visit Fort Worth. Throw in a non-conference home game against Army, and there's a good chance TCU goes 5-0 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The season will therefore be defined on the road - at Air Force, BYU, San Diego State, and Wyoming. All four games are winnable, but all four are potential traps, as well.

This run-first offense, similar in sneakiness to what Utah was under Meyer, will flourish in the Mountain West, though the 4-2-5 (pass) defense remains suspect after spring as the secondary is still recovering/developing. But by the end, TCU will be in the hunt for the conference title, head to a bowl game, and even make a run at/in the top 25. Hey, where are my spirit sandals?

Projected 2005 record: 7-4
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 1.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Tye Gunn, 131-71-3, 1065 yds., 9 TD

Rushing: Robert Merrill, 179 att., 753 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Cory Rodgers, 61 rec., 836 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Lonta Hobbs, 12 TD, 72 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Peter LoCoco, 9-15 FG, 30-32 PAT, 57 pts.

Tackles: Quincy Butler, 56 tot., 38 solo; Elvis Gallegos, 56 tot., 34 solo

Sacks: Tommy Blake, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Quincy Butler, 2 for 108 yds., 1 TD; Elvis Gallegos, 2 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Cory Rodgers, 31 ret., 23.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Cory Rodgers, 18 ret., 10.2 avg., 0 TD


CB Quincy Butler


OFFENSE: Brandon Hassell-QB, Reggie Harrell-WR, Cody McCarty-TE, Anthony Alabi-OT, Chase Johnson-C, Zach Bray-OG
DEFENSE: Martin Patterson-SLB, Mark Walker-CB, Jerome Braziel-CB, Marvin Godbolt-SS, Terence James-Jr, John Braziel-P

Senior Tye Gunn has a 10-2 record as a starter, he's the most accurate passer in TCU history (58.3%), and he has always done a great job of avoiding mistakes. But this will be the fourth straight time he's gone in as the campaign's starter, and while he's obviously done well, Gunn is injury-prone (right ankle - third game of 2004, also swelling in his knee; in '03, two injuries - separated shoulder, groin - limited him to four starts; four starts also in '02, then blown knee). Gunn's health is crucial, because there is precious little experience behind the dual threat. Senior Kyle Kummer is a solid former walk-on looking to hold off a host of challengers, one of whom is sophomore James Battle. Battle runs a sub-4.5 40, and has the passing pedigree to stand tall when needed. This position has unlimited potential, it just has to stay healthy, regardless of whomever pulls the trigger.

Running Back
The running back situation is similar to that of the quarterback spot. When healthy, Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill give TCU one of the country's most dangerous running back duos. Hobbs has a 1,000-yard season to his credit, but that was in 2002. Merrill also has a 1,000-yard season on his resume, back in 2003. Like Gunn, Hobbs and Merrill have had their careers marked by injuries - nothing serious, but enough to keep them off the field for prolonged periods of time. Assuming they are both healthy, both will get plenty of carries and catches. Hobbs is the bruiser who can bull his way for tough yardage between the tackles. Merrill is more of a speed back. Because both have missed time with injuries, though, Frog fans will have to keep their eyes on Freddie Stoglin (who missed 2003 with knee injuries) and Justin Watts, a pair of small speedsters who figure to get some carries. TCU fullbacks primarily block, and the Horned Frogs are set there. Marcus Draper started five games a year ago, and is a solid blocker who sees two productive touches per game. The position is so loaded, though, that Draper comes in as the third-string. William Jackson and Jason Phillips both bulked up in the offseason, leaping ahead of Draper on the three-deep. This unit can "carry" the team on this side of the ball, just in case.

There is no shortage of pass-catching options. Cory Rodgers has developed into the Horned Frogs' most reliable receiver, setting the school record for receptions in a season (61). He will again mix short-yardage and deep routes, as he's got speed to burn the defense deep when needed. Quentily Harmon and Michael DePriest will reestablish their presence, as well. Harmon (broken clavicle) returns strong, while DePriest, the speedster, has to utilize that speed more. Seniors Ryan Pearson and Matt Grimmett won't catch many passes, but will see the field because of their experience and downfield blocking ability. Ergo, TCU wisely shuffles multiple receivers (sets) in many capacities, so keeping up with their schemes becomes the challenge for foes. These guys carry out many needed deceptive acts, as a huge chunk of their three- and four-receiver looks become runs (only throw it 43%) that are wide open due to this corps' abilities.

Tight End
Chad Andrus is the top candidate here after injuring his knee three games in. TCU doesn't need him to catch many, though they do like to go deep over the middle to their TEs. Andrus simply needs to add stability to the line, and he's good enough to do that. Depth exists with (academic) all-American Brent Hecht, a top JUCO-transfer who has better size and hands than Andrus.

Offensive Line
This is the biggest question mark. Three starters are gone, and only five players on the roster have much experience. Junior RT Herbert Taylor doesn't have exceptional size, but he is very strong with great footwork, and he has started 24 straight games. Left guard Shane Sims placed third at the state's prep track finals in shot-put, and started every game in '04. Taylor and Sims have to lead this crew. The good news is that the other three starters - center Stephen Culp, right guard Ben Angeley, and left tackle (former TE) Michael Toudouze - are all seniors who have played extensively, albeit in reserve roles. Behind the starting five, there is virtually no I-A experience. This unit is capable of topping last year's mark of 3.8 yards per ground try, but time and pain will have to be sustained before there is fruition here.

The Mountain West Conference, where TCU is headed this season, has generally been about offense, and that's a good thing. The Horned Frogs offense will be special (again) - and the main word is "health". With (especially) Gunn doing well, and a stable of talent in the receiving corps, the passing game will flourish. Hobbs and Merrill have each had their own injury problems, but both are tough and will team up to give the Horned Frogs one of the better running games. Any prolonged injuries here would again be damaging. Even for an off year, TCU finished 18th for total offense, so just imagine what they will fire at opponents when Gunn is healthy for a full campaign. Balance is the key, and all of the parts are in place to have a showing like they did in 2003.


RB Robert Merrill


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Tye Gunn-Sr (6-3, 218) Jeff Ballard-Jr (6-1, 208)
FB William Jackson-So (6-0, 237) Chris Smith-Fr (5-11, 230)
TB Lonta Hobbs-Sr (5-10, 220) Robert Merrill-Jr (5-10, 204)
WR Quentily Harmon-Jr (6-1, 184) Michael DePriest-Jr (6-0, 192)
WR Cory Rodgers-Jr (6-1, 195) Ervin Dickerson-So (6-1, 200)
WR Marcus Brock-Jr (6-0, 185) Ryan Pearson-Sr (6-3, 208)
TE Chad Andrus-Sr (6-4, 246) Brent Hecht-Jr (6-4, 270)
OT Michael Toudouze-Sr (6-6, 310) Wade Sisk-So (6-7, 270)
OG Shane Sims-Sr (6-3, 290) Preston Phillips-Fr (6-6, 285)
C Stephen Culp-Sr (6-4, 307) Blake Schlueter-Fr (6-3, 275)
OG Ben Angeley-Sr (6-5, 290) Matty Lindner-So (6-4, 293)
OT Herbert Taylor-Jr (6-4, 287) Marvin Pearson-Sr (6-5, 288)
K Peter LoCoco-Jr (6-1, 201) Kasey Davis-Fr (6-3, 213)



Defensive Line
The line will be a big reason this defense again ranks among the best against the run (26th in '04), as all four starters are back. Ranorris Ray and Tommy Blake are strong on the ends. Ray uses his size and strength to his advantage against the run, but he isn't much of a pass rusher. That's where the quicker Blake comes in. He had a tremendous freshman effort, and will explode into one of the MWC's best ends. Jamison Newby started all 11 games at end a year ago, and he gives TCU a formidable three-man rotation on the outside. A team of horses, led by starters Jared Kesler and JUCO-transfer Zarnell Fitch, anchors the interior. Kesler has proven to be a big playmaker, and (shoulda been a UT Vol) Fitch will have a breakout year. With so much depth and talent, this group itself will have a great campaign.

There is little experience, but plenty of talent here. Among the six backers expected to see the bulk of playing time in this 4-2-5, none are seniors. Andrew Ward has the most experience, and will start at the "Mike" position. A well-sized Colorado-transfer from Evangel (Shreveport), Ward made a huge impact, starting seven games and ranking among the team's leading tacklers. Next to him, at "Sam", is David Hawthorne, who started four games as a freshman in 2004 before a season-ending knee injury. There is some concern about his health, but he'll be in the starting lineup. Ward has to prove more viable in pass coverages, like the quicker Hawthorne. There's plenty of talent behind them that will step up. Included in that group is Darius Ingram, a transfer from LSU. Former-WR Matt Panfil has bulked up, and RS frosh Robert Henson will break in this campaign with his own speed to deliver. A more svelte crew than before, the talent is there to replace Patterson, so little is missed here by mid-season.

Defensive Back
You'd think that with experience in their five-man secondary, TCU would be tough against the pass. Think again. This pass defense was the worst (of all 117 teams in I-A), allowing 304 yards per game and a nation-high 29 TDs. That's not good news heading into the Mountain West, but, there is hope. CBs Quincy Butler and (former-WR) Drew Coleman are both gifted athletes, and Coleman wasn't 100-percent in 2004, having come back early from ACL surgery. Jeremy Modkins and Elvis Gallegos (4.45 speed) both have started, but Modkins has to step into his safety role better. Eric Buchanan and Brian Bonner are both good athletes who are learning to adjust to safety - Buchanan was a cornerback, the well-sized Bonner a high school quarterback. TCU isn't going to suddenly become one of the nation's best against the pass, but there is good talent and the group will show improvement.

The Horned Frogs will not be that bad in the secondary again, and they expect to rebound from last year's disappointment. That starts up front. Yes, the four returning linemen are great against the run, but TCU needs more pressure on the quarterback to take it off of the secondary. The bottom line, however, is that the secondary has to play as a group. Four of the Frogs' 2005 opponents ranked in the top 25 in passing offense, and San Diego St. was 32nd. With an improved approach, the play should be kept in front of TCU's usual 'nickel' look, meaning the teamwork has to gel and no one can get in back of them. The coaching of the secondary remains in the same hands, so we'll see if it is them or not by this campaign's results. Team speed here is strong, so look for improvements, though man coverage throughout spring has still looked shaky.


DB Jeremy Modkins


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Chase Ortiz-So (6-3, 250) Jared Retkofsky-Jr (6-5, 270)
DT Ranorris Ray-Sr (6-3, 275) Cody Moore-Fr (6-1, 275)
NT Jared Kesler-Sr (6-2, 280) Jarrarcea Williams-Jr (6-0, 310)
DE Tommy Blake-So (6-3, 250) Jamison Newby-Jr (6-3, 252)
SLB David Hawthorne-So (6-0, 235) Andrew Ward-Jr (6-2, 232)
MLB Jason Phillips-Fr (6-1, 240) Ryan Schlenger-Jr (6-3, 218)
CB Quincy Butler-Sr (6-1, 190) Rafael Priest-Fr (5-10, 175)
CB Drew Coleman-Sr (5-11, 173) Mike Salvage-Jr (5-10, 190)
SS Brian Bonner-So (5-11, 203) Eric Buchanan-Jr (5-11, 196)
FS Jeremy Modkins-Sr (6-1, 198) Elvis Gallegos-Jr (6-0, 200)
WS David Roach-So (6-2, 210) Marvin White-Jr (6-2, 200)
P Brian Cortney-Jr (6-4, 215) Derek Wash-So (6-4, 172)




Peter LoCoco hit on just 9-of-15 FGAs, including 7-of-12 from inside 40 yards. That's why Chris Manfredini will likely start. He made 10-of-11 field goals as a freshman at Cincinnati in 2003, and sat out 2004 after transferring. Improvements in the DBs will show as coverage on KOs will improve.

TCU wasn't very good at punting last year, either, but Brian Cortney should change that. A junior college transfer, Cortney has a strong leg. LoCoco and Cortney will battle for kickoff duties. Net results here will, like in KO coverage, improve, and by how much should show whether TCU is ready to fight for field position, and therefore win close games.

Return Game
Cory Rodgers may be the best return man in school history, and he's certainly one of the most dangerous, period. He's never returned a kick for a touchdown in college, but he's a threat to score every time. Marcus Brock and Michael DePriest will also get some touches.