Coming off a 52-46 loss to Oklahoma at home Saturday, the TCU Horned Frogs have begun preparations for their upcoming road trip to take on the Kansas Jayhawks this weekend. TCU head coach Gary Patterson addressed members of the media Tuesday ahead of the contest. Here are our takeaways from what was said this afternoon.
1. This defense is not meeting TCU standards by any means.
Ever since Patterson took over the reins for Horned Frogs in 2000, TCU Football has been a program that has prided it itself on defense. The Frogs were in for a change of scenery last season when the unit was ravaged by injuries, but even a largely healthy and experienced unit is still unable to match the previous standard from what we’ve seen thus far.
“In previous years when we had the best defense in the league, we averaged only 55 plays per game,” Patterson said. “This year we’re averaging 75 to 80. We’re just scoring more points than when we averaged 55 per game.”
Patterson said that one of the biggest issues for the defense five games in is getting lined up for plays, particularly before the chains are moved after a play.
“It’s not about what kind of players you have. It’s about how fast you can get lined up and if you can play,” Patterson said. “We don’t hardly get the chains set anymore. Sometimes they aren’t even down and they’re already snapping the ball. You only get three timeouts so how can you slow the game down?”
2. The Frogs have put a lot of time and effort into preparing for their Kansas road trip
When the Frogs last traveled up to Lawrence to face Kansas in 2014, disaster nearly struck, as the then No. 4 team in the nation found themselves facing a double digit deficit against the lowly Jayhawks. Maybe it was the 28 degree weather, but the Frogs are doing everything they can to make sure this weekend’s trip isn’t a repeat of two years ago.
“We sent somebody up during the summertime and spring to count the time from airport the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the stadium, the food, meeting rooms…we try to plan everything to the minute so it goes smooth,” Patterson said. “You get concerned about how young football teams play on the road, and this is our first time leaving the DFW area this season.”
Patterson added that what happens in road games can often be dictated by how smooth or bumpy the travel itself is. As far as timing goes, Patterson said he is not concerned about the early start.
“I kind of like playing at 11 a.m.,” Patterson said. “You aren’t sitting around in a hotel all day and it’s going to be a beautiful day up there. You just got to get ready to play.”
3. Patterson isn’t proud of his postgame tirade following the Oklahoma loss
After ripping officials and taking a shot at Baker Mayfield during the postgame presser following Saturday’s loss to the Sooners, Patterson tried to restore the peace by offering what he dubbed “the closest thing to an apology you’ll ever hear from a football coach.”
In this day and age where nobody ever says it’s their fault, I don’t want to be part of that group,” Patterson said. “When it comes to Baker, the officials, all of it…you have to have passion, and I think only six times I’ve said something where I’ve regretted it the next day. That’s a good officiating crew and this game was really fast paced. They’ll make their mistakes.”
Patterson added that there were no hard feeling against the University of Oklahoma, despite tensions between the Sooners and Frogs seemingly brewing ever since Mayfield criticized Patterson in an ESPN Magazine article last year for not recruiting him with a scholarship.
“I have tremendous respect for Bob Stoops and his program,” Patterson said. “We’re great friends. But the bottom line is, we’ve had some really good football games between us. We had some suspect things go on Saturday night that hurt us, but the truth is we’ve been on the other end of those calls too in the past.”