Horned Frogs must take praise in stride after hanging with LSU

Posted Monday, Sep. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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lebreton As he left the field Saturday night, Gary Patterson’s voice was hoarse but his mind was clear.

Well, sort of.

Patterson’s Horned Frogs had just dropped a 37-27 decision to LSU and the head coach said, “Well, I don’t think there’s any doubt that we can play with them.

“Everybody who says we can’t compete against the SEC is wrong.”

Whoa, whoa. No need for the team bus to do donuts in the parking lot, coach.

Somewhere in the coaching handbook, there has to be a line that says, “Do not troll the Southeastern Conference.”

Somebody, indeed, might start dissecting the coach’s claim.

In this case, who really was writing or broadcasting that TCU would be non-competitive against LSU? That sounds like fan talk, not the reasoned perspective of an unbiased observer.

The Frogs did hang tough against an SEC opponent that is only two seasons removed from the BCS title game. No one should fail to see the merit in that.

In his postgame remarks, LSU coach Les Miles said of TCU, “I can see why some have picked them to win their conference. I think they’ll have a very good year.”

The praise was both gracious and justified.

But hold the Rose Bowl reservations. For TCU, Saturday night was a progress report. An early report card.

Other than the SEC remark, Patterson took the higher road in most of his postgame remarks.

And why shouldn’t he? The verdict was rendered. There was no need for Patterson to disparage his team’s performance.

Most of the game, frankly, was not as close as the final score indicated. The Tigers outgained TCU, 448 yards to 259. They converted 13 of 19 chances on third down. LSU drove 69, 80, 69, 66 and 68 yards for scores and kept threatening to bust the game open.

But the Tigers didn’t.

“All in all, when you open on the road with a very quality opponent …,” Miles said, prefacing a brief list of his team’s mistakes.

Miles called the night “sloppy,” but was quick to credit TCU.

The victory was the third in as many games at AT&T Stadium for LSU, and Miles was asked to make a worthy comparison.

“Yeah, this was very much like the Oregon team,” the LSU coach said. “I felt like the skill was very comparable.”

He was likening the Frogs to the Oregon Ducks team that the Tigers defeated 40-27 in the 2011 season opener.

There. Patterson should put that on his TCU bulletin board.

He was asked which he preferred, the demanding opener against an SEC powerhouse or last season’s ceremonial ribbon-cutter against the likes of Grambling?

“I’ll tell you at the end of the season,” Patterson said. “The thing I wanted to make sure of coming out of this game was not losing any players with injuries. And we didn’t lose anybody for the season. That’s the thing you worry about when you’re playing somebody that’s really physical. That was the first positive.”

For the second positive, Patterson went back to what he chose to be the night’s message.

“I think our guys realized they could compete with the type of athlete that was on the field,” he said. “Do we have to get better to play against LSU? Yes.

“I know recruiting wise what I need to have on the field to go do that, and what they need to look like. But we’re progressing. The recruiting class shows that.”

Saturday night was just a progress report, Patterson admitted.

“Like I said, it was a three-to-five-year plan,” he said. “We need to go out and recruit, and we’re in year two.”

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

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