Watching film of his team’s 20-17 loss at Oklahoma didn’t change TCU coach Gary Patterson’s assessment.
He knows the offense has to start faster. Against the Sooners, who actually dropped to No. 12 from No. 11 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, TCU was held to 16 yards and no first downs in the first half. Patterson, as he did after the game Saturday night, gave much of the credit to the Oklahoma defense, which he said showed different looks than TCU had seen on film.
Instead of blaming the offense for its failures, he pointed to two defensive mistakes that allowed scores, including Brennan Clay’s 76-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.
He’s heard the cries from fans convinced that a coaching change is necessary to improve the offense. In short, Patterson says that’s not the issue. And even if that turns out to be his conclusion, he’s not making any changes in the middle of a season.
“I’m invested for 16 years here,” he said Sunday. “I also know rash decisions, quick judgments and moving people around, all the things I see out there people doing, it’s also not the best way to run a business. You’ve got to be very careful of [diagnosing] what the problem is.
“It’s very easy to place blame. Until you get a chance, when the season gets done, it’s a lot easier to look back and evaluate where the problem is.”
Besides, it’s not like he’s sitting back watching from afar as his coordinators coach the team. He’s in control of the practices, and although he’s rarely instructing the offense, he never hesitates to point out problems with either coaches or players.
“It’s not like I’m a laid-back [coach] and don’t get after it and put people in situations to understand there’s an accountability factor,” he said. “If we were part of a program where there was no accountability factor and how you coached them then that’s a whole different answer.”
Patterson feels the frustration of a loss such as the one in Norman, Okla. But, as he has said many times since TCU (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) joined the league, to beat teams such as Oklahoma consistently could take three to five years of recruiting. The Horned Frogs are in Year 2.
“We’ve got to where TCU people hold their head high,” he said. “I don’t want to wait another 16 years to get to a Big 12 title like we did to get to a BCS game.”
But, he cautioned, be patient.
“All you have to do is walk out on the field with me and look at both sides,” he said, referring to the average size of the Oklahoma players. “Not taking anything away from our kids because of the way we’ve played. We’ve been doing that forever. BYU was always bigger than us. Utah has always been bigger than us and we still beat them.”
Teams like Oklahoma have world-class athletes to go with that size. TCU does too, to a lesser degree at the moment, but injuries and personnel losses have left the Frogs with little room for error. Against a team like Oklahoma on the road, it’s more than enough to cause a three-point loss.
Pachall, Fields updates
Injured quarterback Casey Pachall is still about a month away from being able to play, Gary Patterson said. Pachall, who broke his non-throwing arm in three places Sept. 7 against Southeastern Louisiana, will have an X-ray today to check his healing progress. He’s been out of a cast and has thrown on the field during pregame the last two weeks. He’s also played quarterback for the scout team during practice.
“He’s made us a lot better to have a guy come down there who throws like that,” Patterson said.
Pachall could be available for the Frogs’ Nov. 9 game at Iowa State.
Defensive end Devonte Fields, who missed the SMU game with a foot injury, played only a few snaps against Oklahoma. Patterson wasn’t sure if Fields would play more against Kansas.
“If his foot allows him to and when he gets himself in shape,” Patterson said. “The guy hasn’t played a lot of football.”
Rising: Defensive end Terrell Lathan made his first start and led the team with two tackles for a loss, including a sack. The sophomore has helped fill the void left by Devonte Fields’ injury.
Falling: The receiving corps, with a few exceptions, has not played well through five games. It’s not only dropped passes, but also incorrect routes and failures to adjust on imperfect passes.