Impatient Patterson waiting for Horned Frogs to grow up

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 04, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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No. 20 TCU vs. Grambling State

6 p.m. Saturday,

Amon G. Carter Stadium

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How will TCU's young team fare in its inaugural Big 12 season?

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TCU coach Gary Patterson, admittedly, is not a patient guy when it comes to winning.

He wants it now, not later.

But Patterson, who begins his 12th full season at the Horned Frogs' helm Saturday against Grambling State at Amon G. Carter Stadium, was preaching patience during his Tuesday media luncheon.

TCU opens its first season in the Big 12 with what Patterson calls the youngest team he has fielded as a head coach.

"You know I'm not a big patience guy when it comes to winning and losing," he said. "But even I think you have to have patience with growing up [young players]. We've come a long way. Even here in two-a-days."

Eleven starters (four on offense, seven on defense) with no more than one previous career start will line up at 6 p.m. for the first snap in front of a sold-out crowd at the renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium. Of those 11 players, four are freshmen. Plus, the Frogs will be counting on true freshmen at kicker and punter.

All of the youth and inexperience have kept Patterson squirming.

"I'm watching a freshman punter [Monday] night with Virginia Tech and I'm watching him watch the rush and the ball goes through his hands and it leads to a Georgia Tech touchdown," Patterson said.

"I'm sitting here at 10 o'clock at night going, 'I've got a freshman punter.'"

All things being equal...

Gary Patterson would rather be on the road for the season opener, instead of being home where players, especially the younger ones, are still learning to navigate game week preparation and dealing with friends and family.

Since joining TCU in 1998, Patterson has only lost one season opener at home -- 1999 against Arizona. In 11 openers as a head coach, Patterson is 9-3, including just two at Amon G. Carter, both wins. The Frogs also beat Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium to start the 2010 season. Patterson lost his first two openers as a head coach in 2001 and 2002 at Nebraska and Cincinnati. He had won eight consecutive openers until losing 50-48 at Baylor last season.

Patterson likes the seclusion a road opener affords a team, making it harder for distractions such as family and friends and last-minute ticket requests.

"A senior has been there," he said. "Young guys are like, 'look at my new jersey, my helmet. I just met you in English class.' Tickets are supposed to be done by Tuesday, they're still calling on Friday. You haven't seen them for five weeks, [parents and family] are coming into town. You're talking about 18-year-olds. Those are the kinds of things head coaches think about. It's all crazy. I've done as much as I can do."

"I'm not going to treat them like a young football team," he added. "Young football teams lose."

Dawson suspended

TCU's second leading receiver Skye Dawson, a senior, is suspended for TCU's first game for violating institutional policy, Gary Patterson said.

Patterson said the suspension was for violating "institutional policy and football policy so he won't be a part of this football game."

Dawson trailed only Josh Boyce in 2011 with 45 receptions for 500 yards and five touchdowns. Dawson has practiced with the team throughout August.

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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