TCU head coach Gary Patterson gave his most interesting press conference in years this afternoon. GoFrogs.com hasn't posted excerpts yet, but here is a (very loose) transcription. Note the last third or so of the conference-- CGP talks at length about how part of a coach's job is to sell his scheme to his players and earn their trust in the schemes. Also he thinks and works to make sure that he doesn't get so negative with young players that he loses the team for a couple years running. Growing up a young football team is a multi-year proposition, says the coach.
His emphasis on getting to bowl eligibility was also interesting-- not only because it's a big signal to the Frogdom that we need to lower our expectations, but because it tells us how important bowl practices are. Patterson says he began to see the maturation of this team in the bowl practices for Louisiana Tech last year.
Finally, CGP hints very strongly that he has been using bland play calling early, and saving more interesting alignments and plays for conference games. This is not news, but it is the first time I've heard the coach acknowledge it.
Rhoads is a man's man; a great coach, good person. They are very physical; don't give up many good plays. Even against Tech.
Offensively, they move around and do some things like us== play action, move around, run screens; Tech did a great job, but I'm sure they'll have better answers this week. If you're gonna beat 'em you have to take the game.
They have good players— linebackers, big receivers, in the secondary. They're talented; they're a big 12 team.
A.J. Klein (LB) was a pre-season player of the year. They play physical; they play hurt. One of the LB's shoulder came out twice against Baylor, but he wouldn't go out.
Both QBs run the same offense; they both run, keep, scramble; both can throw. One's a little taller; they beat this defense at TxTech last year 42-3 or something like that.
[Question: Any frustration in this season?] I said it at the beginning— playing 15 true freshmen or 25 true sophomores or redshirts— we found a way. Had you told me we would have gone from 3 NFL tailbacks to one who didn't play half the game, and still won, I'd have taken it. We're due to have a really good ballgame both sides of the ball; we haven't had one since Grambling, and that wasn't as good as it looked.
We're excited about all the takeaways, the goal-line stand. We didn't allow them to do much special teams-wise.
Iowa State doesn't give you anything.
We're more worried about getting everyone healthy than we are about the running game specifically. Injured players aren't an excuse; it's like managing money— the guy who can make you money in a bad market is the one you want. You gotta get the next guy ready. Last year it was defense— we lost so many and still got to 11-2.
ISU takes more chances offensively when they're on the road, from going from 3-back offense to empty backfield, double passes, or reverses; we've gotta be ready for all of it.
In my 30 years I'd never seen two bad snaps and two dropped punts, and then holding them on the one yard line [in one game].
Officials only let you have 6 balls per half, and you can't have dryers on the sideline or anything. We have to do the best we can do with towels; no excuses, both teams have to play in it. I'm just glad we caught their passes more than they did. That why we didn't put coats on— it's just more stuff to get wet.
ISU has an older football team— lots of seniors.
Our safeties are more talented than last year; only given up 2 TD passes in 4 ballgames, and 9 interceptions. Moving Chris Hackett to starter at weak safety helped us because he's made more plays. We need to be more physical at strong safety.
We played L and R corners last week instead of field and boundary; we did it because it matched up with SMU's receivers. We never have done that, in a long time; we have to think more outside the box. ISU last year— they kicked 3 onside kicks, 3 or 4 fake punts. You gotta create points in this league; you can't play close to the vest and have better players— everybody's got better players.
Part of Olabode's success is his experience as a corner. We used to want QBs to make into safeties, because we need communicators. Now the bigger players who used to be QB play WR. Smarter players, more veteran players know how to prepare. Elisha's interception came on a play SMU hadn't run all year; Olabode followed his rules for the position, and he was in the right place to make the play. It builds confidence, and they listen. They trust the coach; Paul Rhoads says this— you have to recruit your own team, so they trust you. Any time you play like this and have success, the kids trust you more. Football is not just xs and os, you gotta be a salesman. You have to sell your system to your kids, sell it to them as the best in the nation.
In '04 we were last in the nation in passing, and then in '05 we led in takeaways. We tweaked things, added zone blitzes, etc. We had to get the kids to understand that we were going to put the coaches in the right place. In our exit interviews here we hear that the kids know Coach P has their back— on the field and off. Not that they always want that.
We're better than we were four or five weeks ago. What'd I tell you about LaTech? They haven't lost yet. In the bowl game I told you that's a good football team. We came a long way in that game, the kids trusted it now. Our whole goal is to be the best in the Big 12, in college football. Right now I don't think we can do that. That's why our goal is to make them kick field goals, win by one point. That's why we can fill in the pyramid this year.
One reason we've been good on defense also is we can run the football, use up the time, score points; it's a lot easier on defense when we do that. If we play the rest of the season on offense like we did against SMU, we won't play very good defense.
My gameplanning always keeps me up to 1 AM every night; even if we were playing Paschall I'd do the same, and by Tuesday I wouldn't think we can win. We've been successful here because we always go back and see what we have in our playbook to counter what didn't work. You gotta score one more point— I know everybody hates the one point rhetoric.
The SMU game isn't important going forward; the key is we found a way to win. You only have so many bullets. Does CGP use all of his gold bullets on the SMU game, when ISU… (all of 'em) are left? Maybe I have only five gold bullets; do I use one, or do I find a way to win it without using one? That's the difference between the MWC and the Bgi12; the coaches have to prepare differently. The first goal is to get to 6 wins— to where we have extra practices; there's no bad bowl game. Then we try to go win a conference championship; you have to get to 6 wins first. In the last 8 games I have to win two more. Hopefully I win a lot more, but you have to get to six. Then you grow your team— it's a 3 or 4 year process, getting guys to handle the day to day process, all those things. I need to have a lot more patience this year— I need that with all these young players. It's about players, but it's more about how you handle all of it— if I drag this team down, I might drag it down for two years. We have to grow the program; and hopefully doing that we win more than we lose. If we do that, the future's bright. If we're not careful— if we're used to winning 12 and think this is terrible, you have a chance of taking them lower and not getting them back. I've been thinking about this since we said we were gonna do this. Now we more forward— I'm excited. I'm having more fun right now than I've have a few years. I don't seem like it on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; Thursdays are a little bit better, I love Fridays and Saturdays, and we start all over Sundays.