TCU quarterback Casey Pachall apologized Sunday after a police report first obtained by TCU360.com, an online arm of the school's student newspaper, revealed Pachall had admitted to failing a drug test in February.
Pachall entered the Horned Frog team meeting room and walked to the lectern and delivered a sincere but brief treatise on his behavior before coach Gary Patterson spoke to the media.
"I truly do apologize for what's been said and done on my behalf lately, and in the past as well," Pachall said. "I've made mistakes. I know I'm not perfect. But I've learned from those mistakes and I'm still learning. It's a day-to-day process for me trying to be a better person and trying to be a better role model and leader for this team and this community and this university."
Patterson said Pachall "went through the university drug and alcohol awareness" program that is required of first-time offenders "to be on this campus."
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Pachall, the only player Patterson said was a lock to start at his position at the Big 12 media days, received no punishment from the team, Patterson said. Pachall took no questions and did not join six teammates who were available for interviews. Pachall was, however, one of four TCU players who took part in Big 12 media days July 23-24.
Patterson spoke to the media for nearly 40 minutes, most of the time responding to questions about his quarterback. He tried to deflect the focus off Pachall, who set TCU records in yards and completions as a first-year starter in 2011. He tried to make this latest punch to the gut to his program's reputation a chance to address the nature of coaching in 2012.
"I'm not a righteous person," Patterson said. "I don't know if [drug use] makes you right or wrong but the law says it's not [the right thing to do]. And I also know what it leads to. As a parent, as a coach, as a person in charge of young people, I understand what it leads to. So you have to fix it or at least try to."
Pachall and his teammates begin August camp today, preparing for their season opener Sept. 8 against Grambling State at the newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium. The Sunday media luncheon, in light of the latest news, was less about the Frogs' first season in the Big 12, and more about Patterson and his program.
"If you have a son or daughter and they screw up, do they keep being yours because you're upset with them?" Patterson asked. "He's a football player to you. He is somebody's kid to me. Even those four kids that are gone, they are still somebody's kids; they are still TCU's kids."
Patterson seemed to acknowledge that Pachall's progress as a team leader on and off the field will be an ongoing concern.
"We all know you just don't change," Patterson said. "It's going to be a process. We're in the parent and we're in the teacher business. When we quit being that then we need to stop [coaching]. I make mistakes every day. The key is do I learn from them and move forward? And that's as a football program."
Before taking over for Andy Dalton as the Frogs' quarterback last season, Patterson challenged Pachall to be a leader. By all accounts, from Patterson to his teammates to the stat sheet, Pachall exceeded expectations and earned the respect a team leader deserves.
His teammates Sunday were advised to not answer questions about Pachall's situation, but Pachall addressed the crux of the matter in his brief remarks.
"I'm trying to be that person I need to be," he said. "With the same expectations as when I step on the field, I need to have those same expectations for how I live off the field, as well."
Patterson took exception to complaints that he was being soft on Pachall. He lamented that in the current climate of sports athletes can no longer have the wild-side image, such as former NFL stars Jim McMahon, Joe Namath or Kenny Stabler.
"It's hard to be those guys anymore," he said. "As soon as you walk out the door, somebody is following you around. That's just the way it is."
"We've gotten rid of kids. We lost three starters back in February. We're not hiding behind how good a player you are. He carried himself pretty well last year on the field. That doesn't make it better or worse. I thought what he said was appropriate."
Patterson said it was his and Pachall's decision to address the media Sunday.
"It's just another example of we're not trying to hide anything," he said. "You can't hide behind a helmet. That's what he was trying to tell you. It's bigger than Casey Pachall. Some kids mature sooner than others do."