Gone are the Frogs chances for the Frogs to go bowling for the ninth consecutive season so now the focus is finishing off the year on a positive note for the seniors. Patterson downplayed that his team is using the Baylor game as a "bowl" game.
"You're trying to get to five wins; our goal is to make the year the best it can be for the seniors. That's what this game is about," Patterson said.
Despite the loss to Kansas State, Patterson is proud of the resiliency his team has displayed the last few ball games. At a point in the season where he's sees other teams give up, his team has never quit fighting.
You watch how they've played the last two weeks against Iowa State and Kansas State, how could you not think they had character and heart," he said. "A lot of teams have quit already and these guys have kept fighting back. I take full blame for the Kansas State loss; I wish I would've called one more coverage that was better than what they had pass play in that final drive. Then you had the two 2's."
TCU has battled injuries all season and some players were lost before the season. From Patterson's estimates, the Frogs have played with 55 scholarship players for most of the year. Patterson said it would be tough for any team to have success with what his team has gone through and even says not making a bowl game could be beneficial in the long run.
"Sometimes maybe it's an unanswered prayer that we need to be in this situation to regroup and be able to do the things we need to do," Patterson said. "All of us would rather be in a bowl game; fans, players and coaches."
While a trip to a bowl game allows more practices for his team, Patterson said the positive with this team is there aren't many players who lack experience. TCU will lose only seven seniors who saw significant action this season. Another positive is an earlier start for recruiting; particular for the head coach.
"One of things is we don't have a lot of redshirts," he said. "We're a young football team and a lot of them played. It's not like you lost out on developing your football team. One of the things you get an opportunity to do is recruit more. With the new rule change after December 18th it's a dead period until the 15th of January so you get about three weeks (to recruit)."
Although he can't specifically name recruits per NCAA rules, Patterson says his 2014 class is going good at the moment with ten commitments in the fold. The coach said that number has the potential to finish with around 17-20 signees.
"It's going good," he said of TCU's recruiting efforts. "Most of the guys that chose us chose us for the right reasons. We're still probably going to sign seven to ten more guys. We've been out working hard at it; this morning we had a recruiting meeting before we scripted this practice."
Patterson admits that an emphasis to sign junior college players could happen, especially along the offensive line where the coach feels is the unit that has to add the most depth. But, Patterson also says they won't take an older player if he's not a player that has the potential to make a quick impact.
"You just don't take them, we're not one of those places that do that," Patterson said of JUCO players. "If we feel there is a place we need starters than we do and there are a couple of places where we feel like we can get better; offensive line is one of those places for depth. We might sign 4-6 guys at that position.
"We've got to be better up front, you got to be able to be better up front protection wise and be able to drive people running the football to be good on offense. That's where it has to start; it doesn't matter what kind of skill players you've got. That's one of our emphases going into the recruiting season to make sure that we're better at that position."
PATTERSON VS. BRILES
If one coach has found success against Art Briles and his high-octane offense, it's Gary Patterson. Patterson is 4-1 against Briles, the lone blemish coming in 2011 when the Bears had Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Patterson said it won't be an easy task to slow down yet another talented offense from Baylor and Briles. But, Patterson is just as complimentary of the Bears' much improved defense, which is different from years past.
"He's a good football coach who's done a great job," Patterson said of Briles. "You've got to find a way to win. They're always attacking and coming at you and you've got to be able to handle it. I think one of the things that has helped us is we're just very multiple on defense. One of the things that's been different from any other year I've played them is they're really good on defense, that's one of their biggest pluses."