Week 7 TCU Practice Notes

For the first week this season, TCU hasn't been involved in any on and off the field controversies surrounding injuries and the absence of any its starters. But Patterson did say that his team's matchup will be a tough one as the Horned Frogs head to Iowa State on Saturday.

TCU moved to 6-0 on Saturday with a comeback win against Kansas State. Now TCU head coach Gary Patterson and his team are focused on winning their seventh when they travel to Iowa State on Saturday. Here's our notes from Patterson's post practice discussion on Wedenesday. 

Scouting Report on Iowa State:

When Patterson was asked what the difference between this year and last year’s Iowa State team is, he said he didn’t know since he hasn’t played the yet. He said the Cyclones had a good team last year, but they were hit with injuries before playing them. Patterson pointed out that Iowa State has improved at wide receiver and offensive line. He also complimented running back Mike Warren.

“They were good last year,” Patterson said. “They had good skill people last year. They lost their tight end right before our ball game, which was a good player.  And Wimberley was a great tailback, they got a great tailback now. I think their offensive line is better and I think they’re skill group is better at wide out.”

During his Tuesday press conference, Patterson said Iowa State’s wide receivers have a size advantage on his defensive backs. On Wednesday, he said playing at a height disadvantage will be something his young secondary is going to deal with for the rest of the season.

“It’s going to be all year. That’s what it was at Minnesota and we held them to 17, but that’s been going on forever. Jason Verrett gave up 6 inches to everyone.  I just watched him cover a pretty good tall one the other night. So keep to it is, it’s their job to cover, find a way to do it.”

Hitting the Road Again:

TCU will be playing its third away game in four weeks. So far, all of the Frogs’ road matchups have been close, and Patterson said he expects Saturday’s game to be another tough one.

Though Ames has a reputation for being a tough crowd to play in front of for visitors, Patterson said all of TCU’s away games will be played in a tough environment, especially given the record crowds they may play in front of.  So far, TCU has played in front of Minnesota’s largest crowd, Texas Tech’s second largest crows and Kansas State’s third largest crowd.  The head coach said it’s difficult to play on the road, especially without an early bye week in between games.  

“It’s hard to play on the road, it’s hard to play in Ames, it’s hard to play on the road,” Patterson said. “It’s hard to go places. Go back to back and get ready to go. We’ve been going since Aug. 3, fellas. We’ve been going since Aug. 3., and so, besides the Thursday night game, we’ve been going, everyone else has at least one off week or two. So these guys, you got to get ready to play. I mean, I said before the season this is what we needed to do. This is exactly where we’re at. We got to find a way to win on Saturday, get ourselves a 12-game break so we can get ready, get better and heal up and get ready to go play. There’s no magic to it ­– you know what it is and get ready to go.” 

Despite having to travel to many hostile environments this season, TCU does not use artificial noise to prepare for the loud crowds during the regular season, Patterson said.

“Early in the year we do crowd noise, we do speakers but you don’t have to it later on, they know how to do all that stuff,” he said.

Slow Starts:

TCU has had trouble pulling away early from its opponents in all of its games so far, excluding the Texas and Stephen F. Austin Games. Last week, the Frogs found themselves down 35-17 at halftime against Kansas State.

Patterson said he believes his team’s early struggles are due to his players not playing hard during the beginning of practice, specifically during the first portion of practice when the team is outside when it’s hot.

“We’re playing the first part of the game like we’re practicing,” Patterson said. “We’re outside and it’s hot, and we’re not trying to beat it. We come in here [indoor practice facility] and we turn it up, and that’s what we’re doing in ballgames. Somebody told me today, ‘You got to start practicing the first hour of practice. People play like they practice.’ They got to start practicing that way. And we didn’t do it again today, so hopefully we pick it up come Saturday.”

Even though Patterson doesn’t seem please that his team isn’t practicing as well as they should be, this is the first week of the season without any talk of players getting hurt or leaving the team.  However, Patterson said the lack of controversy doesn’t make him comfortable.

“There hasn’t been any think on the field or off the field, so I am a little bit worried to be honest with you.”

Terrell Lathan, Kolby Listenbee and Ridwan Issahaku:

Wide receiver Kolby Listenbee is practicing, but Patterson said he did not know if Listenbee is back at full-speed yet. The senior wide out saw some action against Kansas State, but was rarely targeted. It seems like Listenbee will play against Iowa State, but don’t be surprised if his play count is limited.

Terrell Lathan, who came back and played for the first time since he sustained an injury against SMU, is also practicing, Patterson said.

But upon his return, the senor defensive end did not impress as he struggled to penetrate the Wildcats’ offensive line and pressure the quarterback.

“He’s fine.” Patterson said when asked about Lathan. “He’s been here. I mean, he’s been back full – he played full last week. Hopefully he’ll play better – he didn’t play very well last week.”

Patterson also commented on the play of Ridwan Issahaku, a redshirt freshman who to help fill in the void at safety when Kenny Iloka suffered a season-ending injury in the Frogs’ matchup in Week 2 against SFA.

Though Issahaku made some big plays against Kansas State, Patterson said the first-year starter needs to work on balancing his quickness and control.

“Youth.” Patterson responded when asked what he thinks of the young defensive back. “He’s been ok. He was the guy who there that kind of caused the guy [to make the ball] hit the ground. He had the big play on the run play that caused them to be third and 12. He’s just like all young guys, he just needs to be quick but not out of control and right now we’re in between the out of control and quick. But every week he gets better.“ 

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