Just about every position on the roster sits a true freshman, redshirt freshman or sophomore that is already among the two-deep. Coach Patterson, who is known for playing the best players regardless of class status, said on Tuesday if it takes the younger players for them to be successful, so be it.
"Gentlemen, our top 22 offense and defense right now I think 14 or 16 are freshmen or sophomores," Patterson said. "Don't be surprised if both Big V (Halapoulivaati Vaitai) and Aviante (Collins) are our two tackles when this season starts. When we're going to play the best and we're going to have growing pains but if they want to win ball games we have to grow up. But, you've got to put the best people on the field.
The coach said they've lost close to 34 players from a year ago to either graduation, academics, injuries or dismissals from last year. For someone who "reportedly" isn't sending a message, that's quite a staggering number when you consider how many young players he has in key positions.
"We've had to clean house and everybody is getting on Coach P for not doing anything; we're doing a lot, we're going to play freshmen. If they're good players, you've got to drive them to keep getting better."
True freshmen Devonte Fields and Derrick Kindred worked with the first team defense on Tuesday. Patterson has lauded the play of both throughout fall camp.
DEFENSIVE FRONT ROTATION
It's no secret when discussing the ways the 4-2-5 defense can be successful; it starts up front with the defensive line. Now that his team is headed to the quick-paced offense in the Big 12, they need fresh legs at every opportunity to provide that rush.
Patterson has been very pleased with the way his young guys have stepped up to the challenge which could give them the opportunity to use an 11-man rotation along the defensive front.
"Devonte Fields has been unbelievable, Lathan (too)," he said. "But, we played three freshmen last year at defensive tackle. Ross Forrest is not playing right now and we've got to get him healthy. McFarland is a freshman and if you look at besides Koontz or Stansly Maponga, everybody is a freshman or sophomore. We're rocking and rolling. I think this will be the youngest team, two deep; I've put on the field since I've been here in 15 years. This will be the youngest team I've ever had."
NO DECISION AT BACKUP QB…YET
When asked how his backup quarterbacks performed during Saturday's scrimmage, Patterson said either Matt Brown or Trevone Boykin set themselves apart. Of course, he says one scrimmage won't determine the order in the first place. Both received equal amounts of reps at the #2 spot on Tuesday.
"A little bit, but that first scrimmage is more about lining up and blocking and tackling," he said. "We'll know more after tomorrow and Saturday and then we'll have to be more concrete the last three weeks and pick a number two."
Leadership is a key ingredient to the success of any team in any sport. Patterson has discussed the need for leadership on his team since the Big 12 media days and noted on Tuesday that senior linebacker Kenny Cain is one of the players that needs to step up to the role.
"He has to, he and Stansly need to become that guy," he said. "When you only have freshmen and sophomores you've got to have older guys go do that. Ross Forrest is on the sideline right now so you've got to have some guys step up and do those things."
NOTABLE: Joe Hasley and Danny Heiss have not returned to practice.
Ross Forrest did not practice Tuesday.
For more information on Tuesday's practice, head inside to the Blitz Confidential to see who stood out on the day.