One of the biggest needs for a TCU defense, beyond speed, is intelligence. The system is complex and difficult to pick up, that it takes a heady player to be able to make the right reads and calls on the field. Patterson thinks this group has that intelligence.
“We’ve got some guys in our intelligence positions that are making good checks and doing things,” Patterson said. “Any time you get a defense to play hard and have a little smarts to it, then you’re going to have an opportunity to stop people.”
TCU’s leading tackler the past two years knows his coach has the skins on the wall.
"You're just trusting in coach Gary Patterson's way. He's going to come up with a great game plan and you just practice throughout the week, and we'll be just fine," said Howard, TCU's leading tackler for the third year in a row. "All I have to say: Check his resume."
TCU is focused, even with Oklahoma State looming. IF they lose focus, though, things could blow up in their face.
A loss to SMU, obviously, would be a major speed bump. While this is the best the Mustangs have looked in years, they're not nationally respected and could damage TCU's perception. It's not just about bragging rights, it's not just about the Iron Skillet, but rather about avoiding a trap that would end the party before it even got started.