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Los Angeles– If you thought TCU was just happy to be in LA, they weren’t showing it on Saturday at the CFP Media Day.
The ongoing peppering of questions didn’t fade this group, led by head coach Sonny Dykes.
No, they embraced every moment of it.
Spread throughout the Los Angeles Convention Center, I witnessed players soaking in the atmosphere, but also keeping their focus on practice later in the afternoon. It’s almost if this group continues to be overlooked, as one person walked by and said ‘Yea, I should’ve prepared for TCU players’, as they scribbled notes.
This has been the overall theme for this football team. The Horned Frogs are a tight group that feels as if they belong, which they certainly do, and have proven. This is not a surprise, though they’ll be serious underdogs heading into Monday’s game.
“I think it kinda helps motivate us a little bit,” LB Dee Winters noted.
“But we’re not to worried about what’s going on outside, we kinda just stay within what’s inside that locker room. I think it’s just going out and playing our game at the end of the day, coming out with a victory.”
Last week against Michigan, it wasn’t a matter of if TCU was ready for the moment, as they proved countless times during the Fiesta Bowl. There was a feeling during the week that the laid-back nature of this football program would pay off against the Wolverines. There certainly wasn’t a sense of urgency, according to placekicker Griffin Tell.
“You know, we were ready for that game, there was nothing crazy, we were just ready. It was just the same thing as last game and then the game before. It was a little bit bigger, more people, bigger game on the line, but we were ready against Michigan.”
The Los Angeles And SoFi Stadium Effect For TCU
It’s a different stadium, but as TCU linebacker Kendre Miller said, “If you’ve been to Jerry’s World, you’ve been to them all,” as he discussed SoFi Stadium. But, there is a moment to appreciate what this moment means for a group like the Horned Frogs.
“Yea, it’s awesome. We went there yesterday and it was beautiful. It was awesome, I’ve never been to LA before, definitely different than Texas. The stadium is beautiful, ready to get in there and kick some balls,” Griffin Tell noted.
There was a special moment where starting QB Max Duggan soaked in he quiet stadium with his teammates on Friday, knowing how many people will enter turnstile on Monday night.
“You have to appreciate the moment, but also know that we aren’t done yet. We’re proud to be here, representing TCU, but we have to finish the job,” Duggan noted.
It’s obvious now that there’s a distinct cool factor about this squad, not letting the moment become too big for them, or maybe it’s TCU not giving into the pressure. Either way, you can feel the sense of calm, from the special teams room down to coaches room.
Kell, who is used to delivering in critical moments as the team’s kicker summed up the mindset heading into Monday perfectly.
“Being able to after one win, go to the next, just win it. This team is awesome, great group of guys, win ball games and we’re not done yet.”
While the journey was unlikely and the doubters were louder than ever, this 2022 TCU team has a distinct aura that has gotten them this far.
Two days before the biggest game in program history, they sound cool, calm and collected and ready for the task at hand.