What was supposed to be a day discussing his football team after the closed practice, TCU head coach Gary Patterson went out of his way to address questions regarding last week's drug bust that involved four of his players.
Patterson said despite the added attention his team has received in the last week nationwide, he felt Friday's practice was one of the best in recent years.
"Awesome, probably one of the best spring practices we've had in four years," Patterson said. "We were very young a year ago. We had a lot of redshirts and freshmen that had to play. This year we have a team that is a year older. With the four new guys that we had come in that graduated from high school and junior college, it really was a good cause. I think they were surprised how much they knew and how much we ran around. It was really actually a great practice for the first one."
While he was in the mood to discuss his football team, he couldn't escape questions surrounding last week's events. Although last week was very disappointing to Patterson, he knows this isn't only a situation that happens solely at TCU. And he's right.
"Hopefully from across the nation, not only did this help kids at TCU and my football team but this also raised a point across the nation," Patterson said. "This is not just a TCU situation. This is something that is going on in our colleges and in our society that we have to deal with. The thing we're not going to quit doing here is we're not going to quit fighting it. Whether we like it or not it's not legal and you got to do something about it.
"You guys know how I am, the most disappointing thing for me is I kind feel like everybody decided, well all of a sudden we went from really big to I think everybody on our team after watching for two days, even with a strong a statement that I made, we went from big to everybody is bad and that's not true. We spend 90 percent of our time on 10 percent of our kids that are knuckleheads. We're not going to quit having knuckleheads. Nobody is, not over here, not any other school in the country."
With the team focused on moving forward, the loss of potentially three starters on the defense has to be addressed. Patterson feels that all three areas have the potential to be as good if not better moving forward.
"One didn't play last year because he redshirted, one didn't play very well and the other we felt like it would be a situation where he would get past up because we had three freshmen redshirting at that position anyway that are very athletic. Only time will tell how that all works out," Patterson said. "You have an opportunity number wise, we're bringing in three safeties, one corner and we also signed four defensive linemen and at least one of those guys will be a defensive tackle. One end that we have here in the 290 range will probably move to defensive tackle. Our junior days that's one of our emphasis, we'll go out and take two or three of those guys."
Catalon already impressing
Coach Patterson said one of the big reasons Antonio Graves was moved from halfback to linebacker has been the emergence of true freshman B.J. Catalon. Since arriving in January, Catalon has been one of the most impressive players in the off-season according to the coach.
"He came in and squatted almost 600 pounds, benched 400 and ran in the high 4.4's. So I think he'll give us the fifth tailback that we thought we needed that will make us a lot better football team. I think he'll have a chance to play some this year. I'm very excited about it," Patterson said of his freshman runningback.
Notable position changes
Among the notable position changes Patterson announced on Friday was Graves from halfback to linebacker. A move the coach says they are very excited about with his athleticism, "Antonio Graves is a guy who squatted 600 and benched almost 400 and runs in the 4.6's". Danny Heiss made the move from safety to linebacker and Patterson says he is another player to keep an eye on. Clifton Murphy may be making the move to defensive tackle before spring ball is over.