TCU coach Gary Patterson wonders where the idea came from that linebacker Paul Dawson could be a character problem for NFL teams.
He can’t believe it was TCU.
“Here’s the thing – why would anybody from here want to hurt Paul?” Patterson said.
Dawson wrote in a diary for USA Today that he has had to answer questions from NFL personnel about being a “distraction,” a reputation he believes he earned because he was late on occasion at TCU.
Patterson has called Dawson a “knucklehead” and acknowledged the linebacker’s tardiness. But the TCU coach spoke with affection and humor about Dawson in a meeting with reporters this week to talk about spring football.
“Is he a knucklehead? Was he late? I think that’s his personality,” Patterson said. “Do I think he’s a bad person? No. Do I think he’s a good player? Yes. Do I think he’ll lose a lot of money in the NFL in fines if he doesn’t change a couple of those ways? Yes.”
Dawson, a wide receiver in high school at Dallas Skyline who converted to linebacker in junior college, led the Horned Frogs in tackles and earned All-American status from the Walter Camp Foundation. He is projected as a second-round pick.
Patterson said he and Dawson had conversations all season about how he could improve personal habits. Twice, Dawson was held out of the starting lineup. But he always performed when he was in the lineup.
“You know, at the bowl game, he was perfect,” Patterson said. “I told him at the bowl game – and he looked at me like I was crazy – ‘You’ve got to screw up.’ He had one week where he didn’t do anything, and he hadn’t played very well. I said, ‘Look, be late for curfew, talk back, do something.’ “
Patterson smiled at the memory.
Then he gave what he called a “Paulism.”
“Every day at the bowl game, we had a certain dress when we went out,” Patterson said. “One day we’re wearing a black polo with the gray sweats. So Paul comes down in a white shirt. That’s Paul.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407