If you can’t beat him, hire him?
That appears to be the strategy for Steve Sarkisian and the University of Texas, as they are apparently pursuing Gary Patterson to join the football staff in an unknown role.
Multiple sources have confirmed that former TCU head coach Gary Patterson was in Austin today meeting with the #Hookem staff and touring the #Longhorns football facilities. Patterson is a strong candidate to join the UT staff in some capacity. pic.twitter.com/hG3kzvsoZq— Jason Suchomel (@OB_JasonS) January 8, 2022
Since his departure from TCU in October, Patterson hasn’t been shy about his desire to remain in coaching in some capacity, and it seemed there were plenty of suitors for the defensive mastermind’s services. But Texas seemed to be mentioned more than most — and makes a ton of sense — not only did GP spend a quarter century coaching in the Lone Star State, but he has a significant track record of success against the Longhorns (7-3 since becoming conference mates) and has spent the last decade in the Big 12 Conference.
Patterson would provide not only a veteran presence on the defensive side of the ball, but would be absolutely fascinating to watch work with the level of talent regularly assembled in Austin. Though his TCU teams struggled over the last several years — and were historically bad on defense in 2021 — Patterson is still regarded as one of the top minds on defense at any level of football. He’s made a name for himself taking under-recruited prospects and former offensive players and turning them into NFL caliber talents, and maybe because of that, was criticized by some for not being as successful with the higher level players the Frogs were able to recruit later in him time in Fort Worth. That theory would either come to roost or be shot to hell quickly on the 40 Acres, where a recruiting class generally includes more four and five star talents that TCU had on their entire roster at any given time. If he can help turn that into wins and meaningful bowl games remains to be seen.
Patterson is still generally revered and beloved by TCU fans, and for good reason — he truly built the program up from nothing and the sparkling facilities and overstuffed trophy cases bear out his legacy in Fort Worth. His split from the program was met mostly with negativity despite the fact that the program had qualified for a bowl game just once since 2018 and had underperformed significant preseason expectations this past season. Fans remember what TCU was before Patterson’s arrival and the fear of returning to that level of irrelevancy without him certainly haunts them. All that being said, seeing him in Burnt Orange and knowing he was doing everything he could to beat the program he created would invite quite the moral quandary.
Though Patterson often railed against the “new college football” and often mentioned that he was glad that he was closer to 60 than 30 as things like NIL and the Transfer Portal took on greater roles in the sport, moving to a support role on a staff would likely reenergize him. Not having to deal with the administration duties and politics of the job would free him up to do what he loves — player development and intricately detailed coaching. And he’s damn good at that!
Should he join the Texas staff, Patterson would be working under longtime Washington DC Pete Kwiatkowski, now in his second year on the 40 Acres. Kwiatkowski’s defenses often use the same four man front with two linebackers that GP helped pioneer with his famous 4-2-5 defense, and it seems like the two are an outstanding match based on scheme and philosophy. Texas was ranked 100th in total defense last season (shockingly ahead of TCU still), allowing 425 yards per game and over six yards per play. It’s clear they need assistance, and taking an all time great that spent a significant amount of time with one of your biggest rivals could be quite the answer.