Manager's note: This week, we will be publishing trial posts from our FOW finalists. With over 60 applicants, thanks to those who sent an email. This piece is by Reece Waddell; enjoy!
Every TCU fan remembers three things about the 2014 football season: the upset of Oklahoma that jump-started the season, the heartbreaking loss at Baylor, and the final two weeks of the season. With one game remaining, TCU jumped Florida State to move into 3rd in the College Football Playoff. All was well at the Carter, until it wasn’t.
Despite throttling Iowa State In the final game of the season, TCU would be left out of the CFP, a result that left Horned Frog fans everywhere devastated and TCU head coach Gary Patterson unnerved.
Sure, he kept his composure. But deep down, he was livid. Patterson has often been described as having an "alter ego." There’s "Gary", the level headed, well-mannered man. And then there’s "Coach P", the fiery coach jumping up and down on the sidelines, barking out defensive signals. This past week, Coach P spoke out for the first time about his displeasure with the CFP, and made it known to the entire world he felt his team got gipped.
"We were told they were going to pick the best four teams," Patterson said. "I was told why we had a committee was we were going to take all that stuff out of it. You can’t say it was the body of work, because we beat somebody 55-3 and dropped from three to six."
Indeed, Patterson has a point, but at this stage, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. In a perfect world, the Big XII should have a championship game, and then we could have seen a slugfest against Baylor, a game I can definitively say TCU would have won. But that’s all in the past for now.
With the offense returning 10 starters, including Heisman front-runner Trevone Boykin and speedy wide out Kolby Listenbee, there is a lot to be excited about in Ft. Worth, and I’m not talking about the new Nike uniforms the team unveiled at the spring game.
One major key to Patterson’s success at TCU, and to the success of the upcoming season is recruiting. A team must be able to replenish talent when a player graduates or goes pro. Patterson calls his approach to recruiting the "TCU" way.
"It’s important to at least see the guy play the position at some point, whether it’s in practice or when they come to your camp," Patterson said. "It’s really hard to throw a guy in a different spot and expect him to eventually become great at it."
But great they have become. With ease and without fail, Patterson is able to fit a square peg in a round hole on a yearly basis. Boykin started his career as a wide receiver before being converted into the elite quarterback that finished fourth in the 2014 Heisman voting. Paul Dawson was a wide receiver in high school, yet became a First Team All-American at linebacker by the time his career at TCU was over. It’s a scheme that other schools try, yet fail at.
In any case, the team seems prepared for the season. Rumors circulated in the offseason about co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie leaving for Oklahoma, but those have since blown over. Boykin is coming off surgery to his non-throwing wrist and will be ready for camp in August. And, maybe most important, this team is hungry. They were hungry when they absolutely creamed Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl and they’re hungry now. The team returns the most starting seniors (15), than any team in the Big XII. Both Patterson and Boykin are ready to show the nation last season was not an anomaly. And, to add to the drama, TCU will play host to Baylor on the final night of the regular season. I’ll just leave that here.