TCU strong safety Sam Carter is a team captain for a reason. He’s one of those players who carries himself with a player-coach mentality no matter the situation — on the field, in the weight room or when talking to the media.After he played his best game of the season against SMU, he brushed off congratulations from Gary Patterson’s wife, Kelsey, who told him he played a great game.“Yeah, but I messed this up and I messed this up,” Carter told her.“He’s got to live in the positive a little bit more,” Patterson said during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. “If anything, I try to make sure he’s not too tough on himself.”Carter started the season a little slow, Patterson said, but the junior has started to come on and look like the player he was a year ago.He had five tackles, a forced fumble and two interceptions against SMU, including one returned 66 yards for a score. He has three interceptions this season and seven in his career, tied with Jason Verrett for fifth all-time in the Patterson era. Carter earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.“He’s one of those guys who is all in,” Patterson said. “He’s been here all alone watching film all week. He’s been doing that for the last three years, and in the summertime he’s always doing extra work on his own to get himself better. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve made him one of our captains. You always know when he shows up on game day that he’s as prepared as he could possibly be.”Carter is not the only one on defense starting to find his groove. A group of starters and reserves all played their best games of the season, including defensive ends Matt Anderson and James McFarland, linebacker Marcus Mallet and tackle Jon Lewis, who had two sacks against SMU.“They’re all starting to kind of get the swagger back a little bit,” he said. “Obviously we had a really good ballgame the other day and so did [Carter].”Penalties downGary Patterson thinks mental fatigue played a part in the Frogs’ 13 penalties at Texas Tech. TCU had only five for 50 yards against SMU, including just two in the second half when the Frogs broke the game open.TCU was playing its third game in 13 days when a slew of penalties, including six offside calls, helped torpedo its offense at Tech.“I think having the week off helped us,” Patterson said. “We started slow, but one of the things that helped us was — mentally — I thought we were a lot more aware. A mind that is fresh and thinking quicker is not going to make the same mistakes as one that’s tired and reacting. Hopefully that was the reason. Moving forward, we’re going to find out.”Kansas game setFrog fans can set their alarm clocks again. TCU’s game with Kansas is at 11 a.m. Oct. 12 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. TCU is 4-1 in 11 a.m. games the last two seasons. The Frogs have played two 11 a.m. games already in 2013, both nonconference wins.
Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs