TCU coach Gary Patterson defended his football team Friday and expressed remorse for the four players kicked off the team last week after being arrested in a campus-wide drug sting.
Patterson addressed the media after the Horned Frogs’ first spring practice. It was the first time he has spoken publicly since the students were arrested Feb. 15.
“The most disappointing thing for me is our whole team felt like, after watching for two days, that we all of a sudden went from good to everybody is bad, and that’s not true,” Patterson said before a dozen members of the media, including five television cameras. “We spend 90 percent of our time on 10 percent of our kids that are knuckleheads. We’re not going to quit having knuckleheads. Nobody is. Not at any other school in the country.”
Patterson confirmed that he tested his players for drug use Feb. 1 but would not comment on the results.
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“You want an exact number and the world is not about exact numbers,” he said. “I know what the exact number is. Somewhere between that five (as the Star-Telegram reported Feb. 16), and maybe it’s five, maybe it’s 82. The key is what we’re trying to do about it. And we’re going to keep fighting it. The reality is always somewhere in between. That’s not going to change. There’s not a school in the country that’s drug free.
“It’s not my job to talk about numbers. What if I drug tested the whole media? Right now you have to be drug tested before you can come ask me a question,” he joked.
Patterson praised TCU chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. for acting “firm and very swift.”
“He found out about it about the same time I did,” Patterson said. “We found out about 4:30 in the morning; that is when I got the phone call. This was something that was out of my hands.”
Patterson said he has not spoken with the four players accused of selling drugs, which include likely starters Tanner Brock and D.J. Yendrey, along with Devin Johnson and Ty Horn. But Patterson said some of his coaches have talked to the players’ families.
“They all come from good families,” he said. “This is something that can happen to anybody. Nobody is outside the realm of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“I think sometimes — not just my team, but kids think they become invincible and they’re not touched, and you find out the hard way. I still feel badly for those four and really I feel badly for all of them because you wish you could have saved them and got to them before it happened. As coaches, parents and adults you wish could you have made a difference? As long as you feel that way, you have a chance as people.”
Patterson defended the reputation of his program, which has been praised for high graduation rates and a clean image while becoming a consistent Top 25 team. The Frogs move to the Big 12 on July 1 and open the season at home Sept. 8 against Grambling State.
“I keep my job because of wins and losses,” he said, echoing a similar refrain of his over the years. “I will be judged some day by what kind of people I turn out. I think we’ve, as a general rule, turned out pretty good people.”