The head coach, as is his custom, didn’t want to make a big deal about this.
These 82 points. These 785 yards that his new-look TCU offense gained. Or the inarguable fact that his quarterback, after throwing for 433 yards and seven touchdowns Saturday, is going to be in the thick of the Heisman Trophy talk.
No, instead, coach Gary Patterson was less than happy — borderline grumpy, even — after the No. 10-ranked Horned Frogs had thrashed Texas Tech 82-27 to raise their record to 6-1.
“I don’t think we played well all day,” Patterson said, as he began his postgame remarks.
“I told them before the ballgame that they weren’t ready. I watched them warm up.
“Fortunately for us, though, we didn’t play very well and we won a ballgame. That hasn’t happened around here these last two years.”
As he elaborated, Patterson had nits to pick with much that went on over the nearly four-hour game.
He was upset with the TCU secondary for not listening to him and getting burned for big plays in a dizzying first quarter. He was upset with the offense for stalling and having to settle for four field goals.
He was upset with safety Chris Hackett for letting himself be lured into a second-half scuffle that led to an ejection.
And Patterson even tried to sound especially upset with his quarterback, the continually impressing Trevone Boykin, for various things like letting his mouth ramble in front of the media a week ago to Trevone’s choice of T-shirts for Saturday’s postgame interviews.
“Like I told him on the field,” Patterson said of Boykin, the breakout star of the Frogs’ breakout offensive season. “I’m not talking Heisman. He’s the TCU quarterback.
“He’s one of the ones I was talking about who before the game wasn’t acting the way we needed to. We’ve got to learn to handle success.”
A good point. And how are you doing with that, coach?
Good grief, the Frogs scored 82 points! They broke conference and school records. Yet Boykin only played three quarters and Patterson was able to all but empty his bench.
The timing was auspicious. The committee charged with selecting the four teams for the College Football Playoff is scheduled to release its first rankings Tuesday night.
82 points! Was that enough to impress, say, Condoleezza Rice?
Patterson said no message was intended. Yet, he wasn’t sandbagging. He’s simply that kind of coach. The Gatorade cup is always going to seem half-empty to him, not half-full.
He also doesn’t know another way.
He’s had a Rose Bowl team, but he’s never had a TCU team like this, a team with a big-play quarterback and big-play backs and receivers that can give his defense, well, 82 points to play with.
“Let me tell you a story,” Patterson said. “In the Rose Bowl year, we win at Utah, I come home and I don’t corral them in, and we don’t play well the next week against San Diego State. We win but we drop in the polls, and it about cost us the Rose Bowl. We were lucky, and Boise came back and got beat.
“All of us need to learn from what we do. I know I’ve got a good football team, and I understand the level they can play. I’ve seen them do that. Now we need to be able to do it.”
Patterson insisted, more than once, that the Frogs weren’t trying to run up the score Saturday for any reason — not for polls, previous losses to Tech, former employers of the quarterbacks coach, etc.
But this is new territory for him. To Patterson, the less said about records and honors the better.
Even poor Boykin, who apparently was given instructions before meeting with the media Saturday.
“I’m canceling all Heisman talk,” Boykin said, stiff-arming a reporter’s question. “It would be an honor and a blessing, if I happen to be included in it.”
Oh, he’s in it, all right. They’re all in it now, 82 points deep.
As his news conference wound down, Patterson admitted that he tried to protect his team through the early part of the schedule.
“But now we need to go forward,” he said. “We’ve got five games left. Now we’ve got to do what we need to do. We’ve gotten to where we can do that. Now we need to go let the chips fall where they may and go play.
“We’ve got some really good football teams ahead of us. And we’re a good football team.”
Yes, TCU is. Did you notice that, Condoleezza?