Patterson Says Frogs Have To Play Better

TCU improved their record to 2-2 on the season with a big 48-17 win over rival SMU on Saturday. Patterson says they have to improve if they want a chance to win on the road against Oklahoma this week.

A day after reviewing his team's 48-17 win over SMU, TCU head coach Gary Patterson was pleased with his team's performance. Who wouldn't be after seeing their team surge to a 41-point second half, which included 31-points in the fourth quarter?

But, as he always does, Patterson also found that despite his team's big win there are plenty of areas he says they must get better at to win ball games.

"Bottom line is we could've played a lot better; both sides of the ball and special teams," Patterson said of the Frogs' game against SMU. "We could've played a lot better. Potential wise we can do what we need to do but we've just got to play better."

Patterson pointed out the total yards the Mustangs amassed against the Frogs on Saturday. TCU held SMU to their lowest point total and total yardage total of the year. They also held the Mustangs to just 16 rushing yards, intercepted Garrett Gilbert four times and sacked the SMU quarterback seven times. But, Patterson was quick to point out that it could've been even better.

"I think they should've had less than 200 yards and we gave up over 290," Patterson said of his defense. "We gave them a scramble touchdown; you've got to stay engaged."

The fact that the Mustang had two drives in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand didn't matter to the defensive-minded coach.

"I don't care," Patterson said. "It's still about getting guys to understand that every play is important. There's not anybody you can't beat down the road and there's not anybody that we can't get beat by."

All eyes were on the offensive side of the ball against SMU after the disappointing performance against Texas Tech two weeks ago. It didn't lend much optimism to TCU fans as the offense was unable to convert two early SMU turnovers into points and totaled just seven points in the first half. Patterson mentioned that the offense has to take those opportunities and put points on the board among other things.

"We've got to play better on third downs and that starts with first down," Patterson said. "We got to do a better job at quarterback setting out feet when we need to, we've got to catch balls in the air when it's ours, runningback wise you can't put the ball on the ground and the offensive line we've got to fight."

Patterson also did something he usually doesn't do in during halftime of ball games. In every game since his TCU head coaching career began, Patterson has gathered his troops on the field at the end of first halves to give them a speech on what they need to do in the second half. He usually doesn't give many speeches at halftime inside the Frogs' locker room. However, after a lackluster first half performance against SMU, Patterson felt the need to talk to his team in the locker room not about schemes, but about finding leadership.

"I got on to the offense a little bit more," he said. "Usually I talk to them on the field but I talked to them again in the locker room as a full group. But most of that was about leadership and fight. It wasn't about X's and O's."

He began to see that leadership in the second half.

"You just got to go in the game and fight; you don't go in there when it's going good you're fired up and when it's not going good you don't get fired up. You've got to go in and get ready to play," he said. "We've been doing this a long time. You had Jon Koontz step up on the sideline and we had some guys step up on the sideline when it was time for them to do that. You've got to get into the ball game. Even when you're not in the ball game, you've got to get in the ball game. It's just as simple as that."

While he sees the areas of improvement on offense, he was pleased with the offensive line's overall production and even more pleased with the low number of penalties the unit had against SMU. He lauded the play of Halapoulivaati Vaitai and said sophomore tackle Aviante Collins played his best game of the year after James Dunbar went down with an injury.

Patterson says his team hasn't played a full complete game this season, meaning they haven't clicked on all three phases of the game in one game.

"I'm pleased with a lot of things but the key to it is to go win ball games and you're talking about when it's going to come down to five or six plays in every ball game we have left," he said. "As a full team we haven't played our best football game. If we do that we'll have an opportunity to go win some ball games."


Saturday wasn't exactly a great day for the Frogs special teams. As a unit, the Frogs fumbled a punt return, had a punt blocked and missed a field goal. Patterson isn't exactly sure how Ethan Perry's punt was blocked in the second quarter, but said the punt needs to be gone quicker. As for Oberkrom, he's looking for more consistency out of his sophomore kicker. Oberkrom did kick four touchbacks in the game and made a 35-yard field goal, but Patterson pointed to a 42-yard attempt in the second quarter that would've given the Frogs a 10-7 lead.

"Jaden is too talented to miss two field goals in critical situations; he's not in my doghouse, that's not what I'm saying. He's got to make those kicks. A kick could've tied the ballgame in the Texas Tech game and we could've been tied 10-10 at halftime (SMU)," Patterson said. "We're putting our confidence in that we think you can go kick that ball and make it easily. He needs to start making those plays. We need to punt the ball better; we're not getting any returns but we're only averaging about 35 yards a game where some people are averaging 42-45. He needs to get the ball off a lot quicker."

Patterson said they also can't continue to fumble punt returns. Brandon Carter fumbled a punt in the third quarter.

"We can't fumble punts. When there are long punts you know you're going to get your opportunities. When we have to come up on that short punt which got fumbled, you've got to understand the most important thing that happens with that is you've got to get the ball caught," Patterson said. "We would've had great field position."


Bell is a threat running or throwing the football
Patterson admits he doesn't know much about Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell considering he's only see significant playing time beginning this season. Known more as a running quarterback, the "Bell-Dozer" is also a threat passing the ball; he threw for over 400 yards against Tulsa two weeks ago. Regardless if he's running the ball with his 6-foot-6, 252-pound frame or throwing the football, Patterson knows the Sooner quarterback presents a tough challenge.

"It's hard to have an evaluation on a guy we've only seen for one season," he said of Bell. "But, he's got some good guys to throw to and he's running their offense. That's what you want a guy to do. Every game it looks like to me they've gotten better and better in running their offense. He's another challenge."

As Patterson sees the Sooner offense improving, he's also noticed how strong the defense is playing through four games.

"They're back to the kind of defense that I've watched them play through the years," Patterson said. "Last year was not indicative of a normal Oklahoma defense."


TCU had what was considered the biggest upset of the year in college football when they traveled to Norman and beat the No. 5 Sooners and Adrian Peterson in 2005. Patterson said there wasn't any particular recipe to get the win other than just simply catching the Sooners off guard.

"They were struggling with their offensive line and didn't know who their quarterback was and they didn't know anything about us," Patterson said of his team's 17-10 win in 2005. "It's one of those things where you get in and all of a sudden you look up and there's no time left and they want to know how it happened. That's how most upsets happen, you get into something you weren't prepared for then you don't know how to get yourself out of it."

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