Gary has that look about him... he has a hard-working, humble, experienced team that has a massive chip on their shoulders. Just the way he likes it.
Asked if he senses his players still have a lot of confidence that they will be a good team, Patterson said Tuesday, “Oh, I don’t know. We’ll find out. We’re older, we have a lot of the same guys back.”
Truth is, he really likes coaching this team. And that’s not always the case, he says, adding there was one season in his career he wasn’t particularly fond of a team even though it had an unbeaten record mid-way through the season.
This fall, he has plenty of reasons to be enamored of a roster laden with players eager to rid themselves of the memory of last season, which was marred by gut-wrenching losses against Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. In all, three of the seven losses were by a combined 12 points.
“Understate, overplay,” Patterson said. “We’ve made it here 20 years understating and overplaying. I don’t see any reason to change that way of doing things.”
Naw, fam - the defense isn’t the window dressing to the season, it’s the main course. The Frogs don’t need Kenny Hill to go out and win every game for them if they play D like we are expecting them to.
Frogs’ Bottom Line: The defense, rushing game, receivers, and special teams are all window dressing. If Hill can play loose without turning the ball over, then TCU will win 10 or more games. I expect the game to slow down for him this year and for the receivers to drop fewer passes. The Frogs will likely drop games to the state of Oklahoma and possibly Kansas State, leaving them to finish third or fourth in the conference but still as the best Big 12 team in Texas. TCU is currently No. 26 in the Associated Press preseason poll and No. 28 in the NCAA coaches’ poll. Patterson has mentioned that he likes being under the radar, but you can be sure he’d take it either way.
It will take a massive upset for Jackson State to play the Frogs even close.
“There’s a lot of excitement — a lot of guys going out there and making plays,” senior cornerback Ranthony Texada said of the practices leading up to week one. “We are just really excited to see what we can do out there this season.”
The Horned Frogs closed out the 2016 season with a 6-7 record after losing to Georgia 31-23 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
“Anytime you end the season with a loss, you want to come back and get back to what TCU is and that is establishing that winning culture again,” Texada said. “So that is definitely what we are going to try to do this season.”
Jackson State will be hoping for an upset. The Tigers went 3-8 in head coach Tony Hughes’ first year, but the defense could provide a challenge for TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie in his first game calling plays for the Frogs.
DYK: Kenny Hill wants you to think differently about him this season?
Now going into his final college season, Hill feels like he is a different person than when he first got to College Station after a standout career at prep power Southlake Carroll — which is much closer to the TCU campus.
"I think I've just grown up, 22 years old, and I've been through a lot, seen a lot, experienced a lot, just grown up," Hill said. "I've learned how to be more of a professional, learned what it takes to play this position in college, and I think that's really just the biggest thing."
Hill said he feels the same excitement for the start of his senior season as he did ahead of that impressive debut he did for his first career start in 2014. Actually, he feels that way every time it's time to play a game.
"Man, you can just tell he's ready to go," Frogs senior cornerback Ranthony Texada said. "He's a leader on this team and he's ready to take that next step."
Well, that’s one way to look at it, I guess. (Also... when is the last time GP has thrown a stomping fit? He’s a much different coach on the sidelines than he was a few seasons ago).
“Here’s the thing – if your quarterback is not (a leader), then your football team is probably going to struggle,” Patterson said.
So Hill speaks up. He corrects his receivers when necessary. He examines his footwork with offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie. And he throws – over and over and over again.
Naturally, Patterson still barks into the earhole of his helmet. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. But if you think that Hill ever for a moment lost his chutzpah, think again, he said.
“One hundred percent, I still have it,” Hill said. “It comes with confidence in what we’re doing, being out there with all the guys and throwing every day. Just really working like we have. That’s one of the things that gives you that confidence and that swagger. So I think I’m where I need to be going into this fall.”