The impact 5
You won't find this quintet of Horned Frogs on any pre-season list, but you better watch them because Gary Patterson is counting on them for major contributions in 2004.
By Rick Waters '95
- JARED KESLER
6-4, 254, Defensive Tackle
The scoop: This transfer from Dartmouth with a 1260 SAT score sat out last season (in fact he watched the Frogs from the stands in 2003), but he's come on strong in practices in the spring and summer. Says one offensive lineman: "He's going to surprise some people. He's really quick -- probably as quick as John Turntine was." Kesler is listed as the starting defensive tackle on the depth chart, but will likely rotate with Jared Retkofsky, Terence James and Zarnell Zitch.
- ZACH BRAY
6-4, 295, Offensive lineman
The scoop: Offensive tackle Anthony Alabi and center Chase Johnson get the headlines, but Bray may be the lineman that makes the O-line as good as the 2000 squad, says offensive coordinator Mike Schultz. It doesn't hurt that he benches 650 pounds -- best on the team.
- JEREMY MODKINS
6-1, 191, Free Safety
The scoop: Who had the second-most tackles on the Frogs in 2003? Yup, Modkins. Despite starting all 13 games last season as a sophomore, Modkins doesn't get a lot of hype but has proven solid against the run and pass. All-conference defensive back Mark Walker says: "What he probably does best is read defenses." Modkins broke his left hand in late summer but has made it back to practice and expects to play in the opener Sept. 2. That's bad news for opposing offenses.
- PETER LoCOCO
6-1, 201, Kicker
The scoop: This sophomore hasn't kicked in a game since high school, but he starts the year with a chance to make every kick for the Frogs this fall. With a groin injury to returning letterman Mike Wynn, LoCoco has impressed Gary Patterson with consistency and accuracy in practice. As for the game, we'll see. No matter if it's Wynn or LoCoco, replacing departed All-America kicker Nick Browne will be tough on either.
- DAVID HAWTHORNE
6-0, 221, Linebacker
The scoop: The redshirt freshman came out of spring drills as the No. 2 "Sam" linebacker behind Logo Tevaseu, but he won the top spot this summer with toughness and good instincts. He's fast too, clocking a 4.59 time in the 40. Says head coach Gary Patterson: "He's been one of the surprises so far."
Prentice Lewis is on the recruiting trail again. And at practice. And gearing up for her third season as head volleyball coach.
"I'm in full go mode now," she says confidently. It's mere days before the Frogs first match against the TCU volleyball alumni, a game she can't wait to arrive even if it is an exhibition.
2004 has been a terrifying year for Lewis. In March, surgery revealed an abscess near the frontal lobe of her brain, causing her to lose much of her memory. Before the discovery, she had been forgetting flight times, phone numbers, even her husband Jeff's name at one point.
Doctors believe the abscess was a result of an accident in her youth when she knocked a couple of teeth out and required dental surgery. The abscess could have been there for years, and then, for an unknown reason, swelled.
Doctors had planned for Lewis to have a metal plate inserted in her head in August, but that procedure has since been delayed.
That's fine with Lewis, who has gradually worked back to full time with the program. "I'm not that much different from before, but I have to watch my fatigue level," she says. "As long as I get my sleep I'm fine. But my players can't say anything any more when I work them hard in practice.
"People say, ‘You're just so driven -- even now.' That hasn't changed. I am still that way and always will be."
This season, she welcomes back a strong team of eight returnees that had the program's first 20-win season in 2003. So what's the goal this year?
"That's easy. Another 20 wins."