With Utah on the Docket, TCU Coach Gary Patterson Shrugs Off Big East Talks
There was already plenty of hoopla surrounding TCU’s trip to Utah this weekend. The Mountain West Conference title is likely on the line and, with two undefeated teams squaring off, it has a chance to decide which team will bust the BCS this time around.Heck, there’s even some chance that the winner ends up playing for the national championship.
Just for a little icing on the cake, ESPN College Gameday will be broadcasting from Salt Lake City, but that’s been far from the most distracting thing this week for the Horned Frogs. With the Big East looking to move to a 10-team football conference, TCU’s name has been thrown around plenty.If the Horned Frogs are thinking about following Utah right on out of the Mountain West, Gary Patterson’s not ready to spill the beans.TCU coach Gary Patterson joined ESPN Radio with The Scott Van Pelt Show to discuss his team’s stout defense, quarterback Andy Dalton, how the rise in the BCS has changed TCU’s fanbase, how the Horned Frogs have rebounded after losing guys who went in the NFL draft, if TCU should be in the title game if it remains undefeated and the potential move to the Big East (hint: he doesn’t say much about it).
On the key to becoming the top-ranked scoring defense in the country:
“Number one, a lot of it has to do with our offense. It’s really controlled the football. If you only have to play 50 to 60 plays a game, it gives you an opportunity to be a lot better than you do if you play 80 or 90. I think our kids have kind of grown up. Early in the season, we were giving up easy touchdowns because we weren’t hunting together. We’ve done a really good job of coming together.”
On quarterback Andy Dalton:
“I think any coach in the country would tell you, [they’d like to have] a fifth-year quarterback that’s won as many ballgames as he has. He’s 33-3, or whatever it is, in the last X amount of games that we’ve been a part of in the last three years. You know on and off the field he’s going to handle himself in the right way. He’s the coach’s dream.
On how things have changed now that TCU has established itself as a premier program:
“I tell you what has happened. … I think 13 years ago, when we came here, I think they were averaging 12 or 13,000. I think we’re going to end up averaging almost 42,000 a game here at home. Only 8,000 students, because being a private school, and knowing there’s only X amount of alumni in the Metroplex, for us to average that many, that means we’ve acquired Frog fans that graduated from other schools. … I’m sure that bar has been raised. It used to be win or tie and now it’s just win.”
On how the Horned Frogs rebounded from losing guys to the NFL Draft:
“Obviously, as a head coach, when you lose a first- and a second-round draft choice that made as many plays as Jerry Hughes and Darryl Washington did, and two senior corners, you’d be concerned. We’ve been able to side-step some of those things. … They’ve kind of grown up and it’s been more of a play defense by committee, where everybody’s had their part. We still have some good players, some guys that are still gonna get drafted, some guys that are still gonna graduate, but as a general rule, we’ve stepped up.”
On whether the Horned Frogs deserve a title shot if they finish undefeated:
“Obviously I’m going to stick up for my kids. If, at the end of the season, we can be unbeaten, then I think you can have a strong conversation and you can see where everybody else is. But you know me, I’ve always been honest about my team and always been honest about the game and where everybody sits. At that point, if we could be in that position and I watch how everybody else plays of those teams that will be at the top in the next four weeks and kind of conclude what I think. If I think that we belong when I see the other three, four, five teams play, and believe that we can play with any of them and should have that opportunity, then I’ll say so. If not, I’ll say we’re a good football team and we deserve to be in a BCS game, but by not choosing us, they made the right decision. … But I’m going to stick up for my football team and if they keep playing like they are, I’d say that I’d probably say, yes, we should have that opportunity.”
On the Big East rumors:
“Don’t start me in that conversation, I’m just trying to beat Utah. … Right now, there’s only one thing that’s been on my mind and that’s the Utah Utes. … Right now it’s for the betterment of my team and my fans. I’d be doing them a disservice if I did think about anything else.”