After sitting out all of last season due to another injury, Tim Patrick was able to gain a medical hardship year and is back with the Utes. This time, Patrick has been the receiver Utah coaches always hoped he would be. Through the first half of the Pac-12 season, Patrick has gained praise from conference opponents as well as analysts for being one of the top receivers in the conference.
His numbers prove it. Patrick is currently second in the conference in yards per game with 85.5, fourth in total receiving yards at 429 and fifth in both yards per catch with 17.9 and touchdown receptions at 5.
While Patrick makes all of those stats look easy out on the field, his path back to playing has been anything but. After suffering a horrific injury against Oregon in 2014 and having his recovery slowed up in 2015 his rise in the Pac-12 receiver hierarchy is not only deserved but it was expected too.
“I kinda expected it,” Patrick said confidently. “That’s just kind of my mentality. In football you have to have confidence and if you don’t have confidence it messes up your game. Especially at receiver. You have to have confidence you can catch every ball.”
Despite not playing in 2015, Patrick used his recovery time with the team wisely helping to coach up the younger guys as well as watching what was going on in games and in film to help prepare himself. “First I watch a little film and study the defensive backs and safeties I’m playing,” he said. “I’ll look at the small things they do. What do they do when the ball is in the air? Do they play your hands or do they try to run through you? When I know what the DB’s are doing it makes my job easier and I know how to attack them.”
Patrick also spent time building his confidence and getting at it in the weight room. Last year he said he put on 15 extra pounds and worked on getting stronger- something that is showing up on game days in 2016 for him. “Confidence, hands, catching with my hands,” Patrick said of the laundry list of things he’s improved during his off time. “My first year here I used my body quite a lot for plays that while I’d catch them with my hands in practice when I got to the games I’d use my chest.”
The people around Patrick were also key in keeping his spirits up and making sure he knew he would be back and better than ever for the Utes. “I never reached out to anybody but it was more like- people would just tell me ‘you’re going to come back’, ‘I’ve seen multiple people with this injury come back,’” he said of the support he received. “With a broken bone it usually comes back stronger. That was kind of my mindset going through the whole thing is that my bone was going to come back stronger and I’d be able to get back to where I was at.”
One of Patrick’s best traits off the field is that he is unapologetically himself no matter the situation. His attitude has lent itself to his play as well. “Honestly, don’t try to be nobody else,” he said. “Don’t try to force the game to come to you, let the game come to you. I’ve just been going in day in and day out focusing on making myself better and my team better.”
What Patrick says he will remember most about his time with the Utes were the hotel room talks he would have with former Utah wide receiver Kenneth Scott which also includes being made aware of his loud sleeping habits. “Yes, I snore, I’m a very loud snorer,” Patrick said with a grin. “I don’t know why. I tried to fix it but it’s something that is just stuck with me and I have apologized to KScott multiple times but he talks in his sleep so it’s ok.”
When all is said and done with his career at Utah Patrick hopes he is remembered most for showing up big when his team needed him most. “He was a playmaker,” Patrick said. “He showed up in the big games. He made the plays that counted and was a reliable receiver."