Gary Patterson said he doesn’t want to forget that TCU almost was not in a Power 5 conference.
It could be like one of its former conference mates left behind now that the Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, ACC and Big 10 have been granted power to make more of their own rules, which could mean a big recruiting advantage if they are able to usher in greater benefits to their student-athletes.
“We were, once,” Patterson said of the Horned Frogs, meaning one of those schools who did not manage to find a home in a big conference. “TCU was, once. And I don’t think we should forget that. We’ve won ballgames, and we have great tradition, and we have a great university. But the bottom line to it is, we’re climbing the mountain. We’re climbing the mountain as a university.”
Patterson acknowledged the recruiting advantage over non-Power 5 schools, but he said he needs to beat other Power-5 schools instead.
Never miss a local story.
“Now we’re in more mixes,” he said. “We still have to win the mix. For me, you only have to get five to seven difference-makers a year, and then the rest of your 15 to 20 are guys that are good players that can become great players.”
He said TCU is putting together a campus infrastructure to keep up with the other Power 5 schools.
“We all want them fed right, we all want them to be healthy, we all want them to be taken care of,” Patterson said of the players. “We all want them to have a degree. But if I want to stick around to watch all of it, I need to win.”
Josh Doctson, a 6-foot-4 junior, and Emanuel Porter, a 6-4 freshman, impressed Patterson with their playmaking on balls in the air the past two days.
“That’s what we missed a year ago, was having guys, when we needed a play, go make a play,” Patterson said. “One of our goals as an offensive group, especially at wide receiver, is to be able, when the ball is in the air, go up and get it.”
Patterson said he wants the receivers’ mentality to be that the ball is theirs, even in a double team.
“I think they’re doing a nice job of trying to build that,” he said.
Kevin White is getting a look as a kickoff and punt returner, but Patterson said he doesn’t want to expose the cornerback too much.
“You’ve always got to be careful putting your best cover guy back there where people can take shots at them,” he said. “Trevone Boykin is probably our best punt returner. You’ve got to think about that one.”
Running back B.J. Catalon led the team in kickoff returns last year, averaging 26.5 yards on 28 returns.
The Horned Frogs will run an 18-play scrimmage Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. It is closed to the public, but Patterson said it won’t be anything fancy.
“We’ll script it so we get a chance to see who we want do what we need them to do and see if they can make plays,” he said. “It won’t be about fooling each other. It’ll be more about lining up, playing basic stuff, seeing if guys can block and tackle, play the ball in the air. Can we throw and catch? Can we block somebody?”