Despite homecoming, TCU's Patterson all business for Kansas game

Posted Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Five storylines

1 Boyce's milestones: Josh Boyce becomes TCU's all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with his next scoring catch. He's tied with Mike Renfro (1974-77) and Cory Rodgers (2003-05) with 17. Boyce's next catch will be the 100th of his career.

2 Pachall's perfection: No one expects Casey Pachall to stay perfect through the air after his 9-for-9 first-half performance against Grambling State. But it will be interesting to watch if he stays proficient against a better defense that already has five interceptions.

3 Kansas backfield: Running back duo Tony Pierson (244 yards) and Taylor Cox (200 yards) have accounted for all but 14 yards of the Jayhawks' 458 rushing yards in two games. Both have scored two touchdowns and average more than 6 yards a carry.

4 Eye on Skye: Senior receiver and return specialist Skye Dawson is back after a one-game suspension. Gary Patterson indicated he will be used on kick and punt returns despite Deanté Gray's impressive debut.

5 Road test: Despite Kansas's struggles the past couple of years, this game remains a test for a very young and inexperienced TCU team. It's the Big 12 opener, it's on the road, and it's on national television.

No. 16 TCU at Kansas

11 a.m., Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kan.

TV: FX Radio: WBAP/820 AM, 96.7 FM; KTCU/88.7 FM

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No offense, mom and dad. This is a business trip. Same goes for the rest of the family -- brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. No time to hobnob or talk about the old times. Maybe we'll catch up after the game.

TCU coach Gary Patterson returns to his home state of Kansas today, some 254 miles from Rozel, where he grew up. He has neither the time nor inclination to reminisce the way one may typically associate with a homecoming.

"It doesn't matter that I'm going back to Kansas," he said Wednesday after practice. "I don't care. I won't see any of those people until after the game."

The 16th-ranked Horned Frogs (1-0) open their Big 12 Conference slate against a Kansas team that isn't interested in history either. The Jayhawks (1-1), with first-year coach Charlie Weis, are trying to turn around a program that just six years ago went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl. Since opening the 2009 season 5-0, Kansas has lost 27 of 33 games. In December, Kansas replaced Fort Worth native Turner Gill with Weis.

Some call it a trap game for a young TCU team that is coming off a near-perfect, 56-0 history-soaked season-opening win over Grambling State.

Patterson and his players aren't biting. And history shows the Horned Frogs have rarely failed to deliver in big games on the road.

"The challenge is to not lose focus," TCU linebacker Kenny Cain said. "Don't get too hyped up about last week. Now it's time to focus on next week. A lot of people try to judge them off of last week but you know that's not the KU team we're going to get."

Even Weis discussed the mental strategy of a team such as TCU potentially taking his team too lightly. The Jayhawks had to fend off South Dakota State in the season opener and then last week became the first Big 12 team to lose to Rice, which had been 0-20 against the league.

"I've been that coach trying to tell those players the exact same thing, so no matter how many times those coaches sit there and tell them how good Kansas is, the bottom line is we got by South Dakota State and we just lost to Rice," Weis said. "So you tell me how much motivation [do they have] in reality, OK? So they'll go read these comments here and say, 'This is what Weis is saying' and try to use that, too.'"

Patterson, who reads daily clippings on every opponent throughout the season, wasn't interested in doubling down on mind games in the media.

"It's a big change in level of competition," Patterson said. "We expect KU to play its best football game. [Defensive coordinator] Coach [Dave] Campo and Weis have been around a long time."

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, who threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against Grambling State, hasn't detected any of his teammates taking Kansas lightly.

"There hasn't been anybody yet, but if there is we'll take care of that," he said. "We expect nothing less than what we did last week. When we come out our goal is to be perfect. The way football works you're not always going to be perfect, but that's our mindset going into each week."

Patterson said he grew up rooting for Kansas, not Kansas State, where he was a walk-on linebacker and graduated in 1983. His uncle Hal Patterson was a three-sport star at Kansas in the early 1950s and then played 14 years in the Canadian Football League. Another uncle played for a young linebackers coach named Bill Parcells at Wichita State in the mid-1960s.

"I've got a lot of history going back that direction," Patterson said before turning back to the present and his team's mindset headed into today's 11 a.m. game at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan. "That's one of the advantages our kids have is the mentality to go take ballgames."

"We don't have down time," he added. "It's a business trip to us."

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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