Gary is a lot like your parents: you would much rather they be mad than disappointed, right? Gary was disappointed a lot last fall, but he’s a little more angry - in a good way - this fall.
The best Gary Patterson is an “agitated” Gary Patterson, and that could lead to good things for TCU, figures CBS studio analyst Rick Neuheisel.
“When he’s agitated is when he’s most dangerous,” Neuheisel said. “I think they’re going to put together a pretty darn good-looking team, especially early in the season before any injuries or attrition hit.”
Some small changes could mean big things for an offense that got a little too easy to figure out a season ago. One thing you can always say about GP is that he won’t rest on his laurels, and that’s the case once again.
“We revamped the whole thing: from how we call things, how we signal, how line up formations and everything in between,” Patterson said.
The changes that TCU made offensively were designed to make defenses respect the Horned Frogs’ run game.
“I think there were some things we had to change to win championships, we still have pace, but you have to be able to be a power football team if you need to be,” Patterson said.
This year, the offense is looking to pressure defenses into playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
“You have to force defenses to put people in the box at the line of scrimmage, and you can do that not only by running the ball but also by how you do the passing game,” Patterson said. “Both quarterbacks can run and move around, so for us there’s going to be a lot more to the playbook than there was a year ago, even in the run game, which will stop people from teeing off on us.”
Cumbie, Luper, and Thomsen sure seem to have something special brewing on the offensive side of the ball.
“You have to self-assess and ask, ‘Why weren’t we as successful?’ ” Cumbie said. “The quarterback didn’t play consistent. We turned the football over. We had crucial drops on offense. Those were the three areas that you look at and say, ‘How do we get better in these three areas?’ before we assess anything scheme-wise. And then you go from there.”
Following Meacham’s departure, Patterson elevated Cumbie to primary play-caller and let him hire a new offensive line coach, Arizona State’s Chris Thomsen, a former TCU player and head coach at Abilene Christian. They had spent 2012 together at Texas Tech.
Thomsen brought a more direct style to offensive line play.
“They’ve kept us off balance,” Patterson said of Cumbie and Thomsen’s approach. “We’ve had to work hard at some of the things that they do. Because you never knew in practice what they were going to come out with and what was going to be their emphasis in the running game.”
LJ Collier has a chance to make an impact on the defensive line, either at tackle or end, or both, this fall.
After redshirting in 2014 and appearing in a couple games the next year, Collier received his first substantial playing time last fall, recording 21 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a reserve. He notched 1.5 sacks against Iowa State and felt his best game was in the Liberty Bowl when Collier recorded a sack and blocked a field goal against Georgia.
“Every game I got better at something,” Collier said. “Some of the stats were OK, but I felt like I had a lot more to show. I feel like I could have played a lot better. I have a lot to prove this year.”
Munday coach Patrick Corcoran said what Collier has accomplished is impressive and something the Knox County town of roughly 1,300 should be proud of. He plans on catching a couple games this season after watching Collier once in person a year ago.
“A lot of young men have come through here that could have done what he’s doing,” Corcoran said. “Our goal is to put a kid in position to change his life, and he’s taken that by both hands. He has worked his tail end off.”
You want one more Kenny Hill think piece? No. Well, here’s one anyway.
But at least this one talks about running the ball more, which we all want to see.
“There are some things we had to change (offensively) to win championships,” Patterson said.
When I followed that up with, “What is that?” GP declined to be specific.
“We will still have pace but you still have to be a power football team,” he said.
This is what TCU fans should want to hear.
Start with slowing down and then run the ball more.
Patterson has no intention of altering the pace, but last season the problems of an up-tempo scheme surfaced. Start with time of possession; a defense that lacked serious playmakers returned to the field too frequently.
The mad pirate is a hell of a mentor.
Cumbie closely followed Kingsbury's path and was ready to play when the opportunity finally came his senior year.
"Everywhere Kliff went, everything Kliff did, Cumbie did," Leach said. "I think Cumbie's focus, persistence and diligence doing that helped him get on the field and be the guy for a year."
Though they all use the same basic system, there are differences. Last season, Washington State and Texas Tech passed nearly twice as often as they ran, staying true to the Air Raid roots. Oklahoma ran 14 more times per game than it passed last season and TCU had a nearly even split.
"He's (Leach) had incredible success, but he's always had his system and recruits guys to that," Riley said. "He's not going to tinker the system much — they are going to run what they run. Only the names and faces change. Our belief has been a little bit different here in that you do have to adapt to what you have. There's two ways to do it well, and both groups have had a lot of success offensively."