Coming off the first bye of the 2016 season, the TCU Horned Frogs now look ahead to a difficult three game stretch that will seem them face both of the final two undefeated Big 12 teams on the road, West Virginia and Baylor, along with Texas Tech at home in-between those two matchups. Head coach Gary Patterson addressed members of the media on Tuesday with updates on the team.
Coming off the bye
Patterson said having a bye-week before what may be the team’s biggest road matchup of the season could not have been more ideal, as it not only gave the players a clear their minds from the first six games, but also allowed for the team to experiment with new ideas on the field.
“There are a lot of things you can do with a bye week that you otherwise couldn’t do in a seven-day window,” Patterson said. “My scripting is done for the week. Instead I get to go back through everything and tweak it rather than having to still get ready for practice.”
Having the extra time however doesn’t equal perfection. Patterson said he still sees the need for practices to be harder so the younger players will “grow up” faster.
“I’m going to press people to be the best they can be,” Patterson said. “If I don’t think they’re being that then I’m going to start pressing buttons. Last Monday and Tuesday I pressed a lot of buttons. You can’t wait for young guys to grow up.”
Whether or not the players have responded well to the “button pushing” will be evident come Saturday’s game.
The injury report
Patterson said Tuesday that wide-receiver KaVontae Turpin and center Austin Schlottman will be game time decisions for Saturday’s contest.
Turpin has not played since exiting the game against Iowa State with a knee injury on Sept. 17. Schlottman on the other hand suffered an ankle injury against SMU on Sept. 23. The return of either player this weekend would be a huge addition as the Frogs prepare to go up against one of the superior defenses in one of the most hostile places to play in the entire conference.
Patterson added that defensive-end Josh Carraway (video above) had only been playing at about 80 percent the last few weeks due to a minor ankle injury, but expects him to be back to full strength having had two weeks of rest.
Looking ahead to Morgantown
The Frogs’ contest against No. 12 West Virginia on Saturday afternoon will be anything but easy. Not only are the Mountaineers one of the last two undefeated teams left in the Big 12, but Milan Puskar Stadium is notorious for being one of the most difficult venues in the conference for visitors to play in.
Nonetheless, the Frogs have beaten the Mountaineers in each of their last two trips out east in 2012 and 2014, but both were last-second come-from-behind victories. Patterson said he doesn’t expect it to be any different when his team takes the field against Dana Holgorsen’s squad.
“Morgantown is always tough,” Patterson said. “We’ve always had to play from behind. Their team is very similar to how it was in 2012. They beat you with their feet and they have a deep receiving corps.”
Though Patterson acknowledged the game won’t be easy, he said he and the team are looking forward to the challenge.
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“I like going to play in places where they truly hate you for that day because football is their Saturday,” Patterson said. “We haven’t handled hostility as a group that well, but our guys on defense have seemed to focus in a lot more on the road. We have to be able to carry our own energy.”