Gary Patterson Leads TCU to A Statuesque Start

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Now you know why there’s a statue of Gary Patterson outside of TCU’s Amon-Carter Stadium.

As you might have heard, Patterson’s Frogs hopped into Stillwater Saturday and ruined the day for the locals with a never-a-doubt 44-31 victory over No. 6 Oklahoma State. Patterson’s defense effectively contained the Cowboys’ offensive tsunami that had swamped three non-conference opponents.

Legendary coach Dutch Meyer and Heisman Trophy winner Davey O’Brien are represented in bronze outside the football stadium. Patterson is also bronzed but it might be more appropriate if the likeness gets a new coat of, say, platinum.

Patterson was Mr. Anonymous when he was promoted from defensive coordinator to replace Dennis Franchione in 2000. In his 18 seasons, TCU has had double-digit victories 10 times including 13-0 in 2010 when the Frogs finished No. 2 in the rankings.

While Patterson has removed any doubts about his ability to run a program, he has maintained and improved his moxie as a defensive game planner. There might not be a better defensive mind in FBS than Patterson, who relishes the challenge of using his “x’s” to bottle up the opposition’s “o’s.”

No. 16 TCU “held” Oklahoma State to 499 yards and, more importantly, 13 points below their scoring average. Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph was 22-of -41 for 398 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked three times. The Cowboys were held to 101 yards rushing.

“We didn’t play very smart and really, we got outcoached,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “I thought that they had better plans, and their players executed their plans better than we did.”

TCU’s upset refigures the Big 12 season. The Cowboys’ fast start had everyone thinking about Oklahoma State hosting Oklahoma in Bedlam on Nov. 4 as The Game Of The Year. Considering that the Sooners had to force a late fumble to survive at Baylor – Baylor. The Frogs have already made a statement regarding their influence on the Big 12 race.

‘We want to be relevant, you want to win enough to get noticed,” Patterson said after the game. ”It was also an advantage that no one was giving us a chance. We play better that way. If we are stupid enough to listen to everybody tell us how good we are, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Patterson, despite his success in Fort Worth, has always considered himself the underdog. He prefers that his team flies under – or better yet, off – the radar. Upsetting a team that had aspirations to reach the College Football Playoff brings plenty of attention. Don’t expect Coach P to be happy with that.

TCU has had three losing seasons on Patterson’s watch. The Frogs were 5-6 in 2004; the next season they finished 11-1. In the school’s second season in the Big 12, in 2013, TCU finished 4-8 and the next season went 12-1, tied for the Big 12 championship and arguably belonged in the first CFP. Last season, the Frogs were expected to contend for the Big 12 title but finished a disappointing 6-7.

The trend, obviously, is that Patterson spends the off-season following a losing record stewing and adjusting how his team prepares and plays.

After the 2013 season, Patterson realized he had to change his offensive philosophy to compete in the Big 12. He hired Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie as co-offensive coordinators. They modernized the attack. Following last season, Meacham left for Kansas and Cumbie took over as the main play caller.

Patterson thought his team was physically whipped in games at the end of the season. He wanted the Frogs to be tougher, especially in the run game. With senior quarterback Kenny Hill effectively running an up-tempo offense, the Frogs balanced their fancy with force, running 52 times for 238 yards.

The Frogs’ offense, operating without first-team running back Kyle Hicks, got a career-high 160 yards rushing from sophomore Darius Anderson. His third touchdown, a 42-yarder with 2:37 remaining was the coup de grace.

Gary Patterson doesn’t provide repeatable quotes and he guards his game strategy like he would his last dollar. But earlier this week he provided a prescient hint regarding how Saturday’s game might unfold.

“If there’s any advantage to me going into the ballgame, we’ve played two teams that have had a high level of something, going into the ballgame,” said Patterson, whose team overcame an early 19-7 deficit to dismantle SMU, 56-36, last Saturday. “I think that’s the only advantage that we have going into Oklahoma State – going in that we’ve had to be in two battles. Basically, they’ve only had to play until halftime.”

Gary Patterson, a standup guy.