TCU coach Gary Patterson blamed himself for creating a lack of confidence in his defense earlier in the season but said it is starting to come back, despite Saturday’s 34-10 loss at West Virginia.
“We just haven’t made plays,” Patterson said. “A little bit of that is my fault. I was tough on them, I think they lost their confidence early. We’re starting to gain it. We’re starting to come back.”
TCU held West Virginia to a season-low389 yards, collected five sacks and forced two field goals. West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard threw four touchdown passes, including one against a short field following a fumble on the opening kickoff return.
We’ve gotten better every week. I was happier. I’ve been happier with the way we’ve played.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, on the defense
“We’ve gotten better every week. I was happier,” Patterson said, speaking Monday during the Big 12 coaches conference call with reporters. “I’ve been happier with the way we’ve played.”
Patterson said third-down defense still must improve. The Horned Frogs allowed West Virginia to convert 53.3 percent (eight of 15) third downs and are at 44.5 percent allowed for the season.
But he said pass coverage improved, crediting cornerbacks Ranthony Texada and Julius Lewis, who played in his first game of the season.
TCU ranks second in the country with 3.9 per game, or 27. Alabama is first with 4.0 per game, or 32.
“A lot of times, it’s not about position, we just haven’t made plays,” Patterson said. “If you go back and watch the game Saturday, our kids are really doing a lot better job in coverage. But you’ve got to make plays.”
Patterson said he made a bad defensive call on one West Virginia touchdown and stressed accountability for himself.
“Sometimes you can’t blame your kids. You’ve got to take ownership of what you do,” he said. “And I think that’s the biggest thing is, we’ve kind of looked at ourselves and knowing what we’ve had to be good at. And our kids, because of their tradition, are starting to fight back a little bit.”