The best answers from TCU’s Gary Patterson at Big 12 Media Days

TCU coach Gary Patterson kicked off the Big 12 Media Days coaches press conferences Monday morning at The Ford Center. Here are some of the highlights from his question-and-answer session:

On where quarterback Kenny Hill stands: “I think I’ve got to do a better job of helping him with his swagger. I was pretty tough early, doing things. ... We’ve got to give him help. We’ve got to catch the ball better. I think we’re going to be better up front offensive line-wise. We only lost one receiver. So I think all those things benefit him, and then we’ve got to put him in an offense that bends toward his strengths. ... And we’ve got to play a lot better defense to help him out.”

On the retirement of OU coach Bob Stoops: “It’s hard to lose a guy, No. 1, what he stood for, not just for Oklahoma, but for the Big 12, obviously. I considered him a friend the years now that I’ve played in the Big 12. ... I understood his decision. But obviously, I think it hurts the conference a little bit when you lose somebody like that. But like all of us as coaches, we find out, it is the University of Oklahoma, and at some point in time, they’ll change or I’ll change and it will be somebody new at TCU. The great programs, the next person steps in, and they step up. ... And I never did hear him say that he was never going to be back in the sport.”

On a higher leadership role for himself in the conference with Stoops gone: “I’m on a lot of committees. I think I’m the guy you don’t like walking into a committee because I’m the guy that’s going to ask the question nobody else wants to ask. I’ve been doing that for a while, whether I like it or I dislike it. But I do believe the Big 12 — I hear we have a problem with what people think about us — it’s a great conference. ... We just need to keep doing what we’re doing as a league, and I think the Big 12 is a great league. As coaches, we have a responsibility, all of us do, to recruit better players, play better on the field, and have a responsibility to our league and our people that we do well.”

On the effect of Sonny Cumbie as a playcaller: “Our offense, the way we do it, it’s everybody’s all in as far as the ideas and how we do things. I think what we have to be able to do is, we have to do what we need to do to move the football. If it’s running it, then you run it. If it’s throwing it, being able to be more of a vertical game, then be more of a vertical game. But you have to have guys. What everybody understands is players have to step up. You can blame the quarterback, you can blame whatever, but at the end of the day, you have to make plays. ... How much it will change? I don’t know. We’re teaching the same thing. If anything, we’ve gone back to more of the essence of making sure that we can run a base offense and run it really well and then add things to it and not change on a game-to-game basis.”

On KaVontae Turpin’s status: “He’s good right now. ... One of the worst things that happens in this day and age is a young player is great as a freshman, because I think it’s really hard with the media and everything else for them to handle being invisible. One of the biggest problems we’ve had is when we’ve had great freshmen that have played early and got a lot of notoriety. Obviously, you need some of them to do that. But how do you get them back into where they get in the right lane and do the right things. I think KaVontae is doing the right things, understanding what it is to be a college athlete and a college student. We’re a lot better football team when he’s on the field doing some of the things like a lot of our guys have been. Right now, I’m excited that he’s back in purple and black.”

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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