As you’d expect, TCU coach Gary Patterson doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about where his Horned Frogs are ranked in the preseason polls.
But a top-20 ranking at any point in the season means your program is doing something right. So he expressed muted appreciation that TCU was No. 20 in the USA Today’s coaches’ poll that came out last week. LSU, the Frogs’ first opponent, is ranked 13th. The teams meet at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“You know how I am. I appreciate the enthusiasm of some, but I say you’ve got to prove people right or prove people wrong,” Patterson said Saturday after TCU’s third day of practice. “In that case, we’re going to try to prove to people that we can belong and try to move up. We’ve got an awfully tough game the first game of the season.”
Five Southeastern Conference teams are ranked in the top 10. Six, including LSU, rank in the top 13. The Big 12’s top-ranked school is Oklahoma State at No. 14, followed by Texas (No. 15) and Oklahoma (No. 16).
Patterson wasn’t too concerned with the SEC advantage over the Big 12 in the coaches’ poll, either.
“If people think they’re deserving, perfect,” he said. “We get our chance to play one of them; I don’t think anybody else does. You just go and do what you’re supposed to do.”
A few other Big 12 teams also play SEC opponents, including Oklahoma State against Mississippi State in a season opener in Houston. Texas plays Mississippi on Sept. 14. But as for the SEC’s top contenders, the LSU-TCU matchup will provide the only real measure of the conferences until perhaps the bowl season.
Cornerback Kevin White has started 15 games for TCU, third most on the team behind Jason Verrett (23) and Casey Pachall (17). White started 12 games in 2012 but was mostly overshadowed by the All-American season his cohort Verrett put together. White, however, has impressed Gary Patterson.
“Kevin White, knock on wood, might be playing the best football he’s played since he’s been here,” Patterson said, before adding praise for Keivon Gamble, and freshmen Ranthony Texada and Cydney Calvin. Both Texada and Calvin attended Frisco Centennial High School.
Several safeties have Patterson excited, as well, including veterans Derrick Kindred, Chris Hackett and freshman Denzel Johnson, who played quarterback at Gainesville.
“Denzel Johnson has really shown some big signs,” Patterson said. “He’s done some really good things in three days.”
TCU lands top recruit
Dallas Skyline offensive lineman Ty Barrett chose TCU over Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Mississippi on Saturday.
The 6-foot-4, 309-pound lineman said he can play both guard and tackle.
The four-star recruit decided on TCU around two weeks ago when he thought about how convenient TCU would be for his family to come to games.
“I think this is one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” Barrett said. “After talking with my parents and coaches, they gave me the green light to go through with this and pick TCU.”
TCU picked up four-star linebacker Jimmie Swain from Olathe (Kan.) North on Friday night.
Correspondent Travis L. Brown contributed to this report.