Sonny Dykes, head coach of TCU football, is owning up to the dramatic shift in the team from his first season as head coach compared to last season.

The Horned Frogs had an impressive 2022 season, with Coach Dykes leading the team to the national championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Frogs fell short with a crushing final score of 65-7, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Last season, the Frogs were not bowl-eligible, leaving them with a 5-7 record.

“Had a heck of a run in 2022. It’s a fun year when everything went our way,” Dykes told the press during the Big 12 Media Days on July 9. “We had some tremendous leadership. A lot of experience on that team and we lost a lot of that last year.”

Dykes went on to elaborate on what he thinks went wrong last season and how he plans to make a comeback in the upcoming season.

“[We] really didn’t do the little things right that it takes to win football games, and that really boils down to coaching,” Dykes said. “[Coaching] certainly didn’t get the carry-over from the national championship run in ‘22 to ‘23 that we wanted to…now we’re ready to get back playing TCU football.”

Coach Dykes explained that replacing leadership on the team was one of the main struggles he faced last season. Many of the players who were in their junior year got drafted after the 2022 season, including junior Quentin Johnston (WR) and seniors Derius Davis (WR), and Max Duggan (QB), among others.

“We have to make sure that we don’t rely on our players to teach [leadership skills] and to pass that tradition on,” Dykes commented to the press.

Dykes also explained how many teams are experiencing high turnover as they lose players to the draft, making it crucial to invest in each other and the team.

The coaches have taken a “…much more active approach in trying to, number one, create relationships with our players to be very intentional about just getting together, spending time together doing things outside of football to earn each other’s trust.”

Dykes shared his excitement for the upcoming season with this team-oriented group of players who share a bond that goes beyond the field.

“The guys care about each other. There’s not a whole lot of talk about individual accolades or getting into the league,” Dykes shared to the press. “The guys want to win, and the guys want to lay it out on the line for each other and lay it on the line for TCU.”

Defensively, the Frogs will look a little different this season with new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, the former head coach for Boise State, DX previously reported.

In the past, TCU used a three-man front, which made recruiting difficult. Under Avalos, the team will use a four-man front, which will give the Frogs more flexibility for who can play on the edge, with only two traditional defensive linemen on the inside, reported The Dallas Morning News.

With these new changes, Dykes believes that pass rushing will improve the Frog’s game.

“I think that’s going to be the biggest area of improvement for us is pressuring the quarterback,” said Dykes to the press. “And we are going to be able to throw a lot of different body types out there and guys who can run and guys who can be aggressive and we can create some good match-ups on the edge and also hold up against the run as a four-down as well.”

The Horned Frogs finished last season in the middle of the Big 12 rankings for sacs and rushing yards allowed per game but have brought on some new talent, including three-star safety Juliuss Simms, DX reported.