If there is one thing we know about Gary Patterson, it’s that he is ABSOLUTELY going to drop some (random) knowledge on us anytime he takes the podium, and Tuesday’s pregame presser was no different than what we have come to expect in recent years.
Patterson opened his 30 minute Q&A session with a joke; when asked who had won the most heated battle in camp - at punter - he quipped “coach DeMontie Cross”. But things got more serious from there, as GP addressed Sewo Olonilua’s punishment, the starting quarterback situation, and more in front of a crowded press contingent in the Four Sevens team room.
- On Sewo: On Monday’s Big 12 coaches conference call, Patterson said he would be available, but that didn’t mean he would play. Tuesday, he clarified, saying “he will not play the first half of this ballgame because of things that have gone on previously.” Now, some of our “friends” at a certain Big 12 SB Nation site think that this is a weak punishment. Other, smarter, more informed folks would tell you that second chances are a part of life. Patterson says every incident comes down to a judgement call, and really knowing your players. “There are some things that are out of our control, that they don’t give us any control over. But then there are some things - guys screw up, you got to know them well enough. For whatever reason, they think ‘it should be all or nothing’. We deal with this [age] person, 18-22, 23, 24 year olds - we have probably spent more time trying to raise them, trying to do the right thing for them, than their own parents sometimes. They get them for 18 years, then they come to us, and they want to go to the NFL, they want to get a degree, they want to mature... so how do you get them to that point? There’s going to be bumps in the road, there always is. So how do you get through it at the end of the day so that guys are going to be successful?”
Sewo Olonilua made a mistake. He didn’t hurt anyone and he hasn’t even been charged. He is a young man with a sterling reputation up until his May arrest, a TCU graduate. He screwed up and he deserves to be punished. In this instance, I think the punishment absolutely fits the crime. Anyway, see you in the third quarter, Sewo. Ball out, kid.
- On the quarterbacks: All we really know is that everyone that took a snap this spring for TCU was apparently really good, but experience and maturity seemed to win out in Patterson’s eyes. While he confirmed Alex Delton will start Saturday night, he also assured the room that freshman Max Duggan would play, and play early. He expects to have both on the field by the third or fourth series, alluding to another sport to describe their roles. “Right now, one’s the sixth man on the basketball team, one’s going to be the starter just because he’s older.” Patterson has always said he judges his quarterbacks by how they play on Saturdays, and that’s probably why he’s going with the most experienced player early. Delton doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he probably has the highest floor. “It’s been a blessing having him here to run the offense and also be a great role model of how to prepare to get ready for a ball game from an older standpoint with younger quarterbacks.”
Patterson also reference Mike Collins and Justin Rogers praising both. Collins was hurt by the injury that knocked him out of several days of practice, while he said of Rogers “he’s a redshirt freshman that didn’t really get to participate his freshman year.” He mentioned how much he loves Rogers and how impressed he has been by how hard they’ve all worked and how good they’ve been. We might see all four play Saturday, and I would not all be surprised to see two split playing time the first three games.
- The Quazzel White Experience: The biggest surprise of Tuesday’s depth chart release may well have been sophomore Quazzel White beating out junior Anthony McKinney at left tackle. McKinney, who many see as a future NFL prospect, missed two weeks of fall camp with an injury, and in the process, fell behind the Washington native. Patterson spoke about how critical the reps were for White and how much he benefitted from the extra practice. He worked hard and earned the starting nod for week one - now he will try and fight off the hulking McKinney for the rest of the season. TCU will be better for the depth, most assuredly.
- Injuries Mounting: The Frogs will be without two of their top receivers, as both Taye Barber and Mikel Barkley are expected to sit out with minor injury issues. That’s a big problem for the Horned Frog offense as it tries to establish and identity and a quarterback, as both are expected to play significant roles this fall. Jalen Reagor has also missed time, but should see (limited) action in the opener. TCU is also hoping to get corner Tony Wallace, guard Brannon Brown, and defensive tackle Izaih Filikitonga back soon.
- Redshirts?: Patterson was clear that he plans to play the best players, and will worry about redshirting later - if he needs to. With 40+ new faces and a ton of freshmen on the two-deep, it might not be an option for this team this fall. When it comes to Duggan, the young QB is going to go unless he shows he’s not ready - and few expect that to happen. He did say that there was a tentative plan in place to give freshmen running backs Darwin Barlow and Daimarqua Foster four games each and try to hold on to their redshirt year, with three experienced backs expected to be ahead of them on the depth chart.