If he had to vote right now, Gary Patterson said he wouldn’t rank his TCU football team very high.
The Horned Frogs coach just isn’t seeing enough in spring practice to warrant it.
“I can tell you this much, right now, with this football team, with the guys that are playing right now, we’re not the third-ranked preseason team in the nation,” he said Tuesday. “I can tell you that.”
The Frogs ended last season ranked No. 3 in both the AP and coaches polls, and they are candidates to open in the top five.
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But Patterson said it won’t be because of him, at least right now.
“I have an expectation level,” he said. “I’ve had a team that’s been preseason-ranked as high as we’re going to be ranked — won the Rose Bowl. This one’s not acting like it.
“I’m not happy with them right now, so I don’t have much positive to say. It’s not necessarily I’ve got to pick on somebody, it’s just generally I’m not that happy.”
Two areas are bothering Patterson. First, the overall effort, especially toward the end of Tuesday’s outdoor practice in 81-degree weather. Second, the progress of the defensive line and linebackers.
“Today was not great effort at the end,” Patterson said. “We got tired with the heat.”
On the defensive line, the Frogs have experience after losing only one starter. But it’s not showing so far, to Patterson’s eye, and the newness of the linebackers remains a concern.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Patterson said. “Because the first ballgame of the season is against Minnesota, it takes a veteran team. You’ve got to be able to do your job. They make you accountable on everything that you do.
“The read option and all the things they do, they just come at you all day. So we’ve got to grow up for us to win that ballgame.”
Patterson said last year’s 12-1 team did not have a problem with effort at this stage.
“Nope, a lot better a year ago,” he said. “I was talking bad about them, and they went and proved me wrong. I’m not trying to make it up. I’m just telling you — I wouldn’t rank us high. I’m a voter. You won’t see me rank us high.”
The Frogs scrimmaged Saturday, and Patterson gave it a lukewarm review outside of special teams.
“It was all right,” he said. “We tackled decent. We were efficient running the offense, went pretty fast. But it’s the first scrimmage. It was all right. We’ll be all right.”
Patterson said two players were hurt, but not significantly, and that they would practice this week.
Patterson highlighted none of the backup quarterbacks after their first live action.
“We’ve got one quarterback right now I think we could win the Big 12 title with,” he said, meaning starter Trevone Boykin. “That’s it. A long way to go with all the rest of them.”
Patterson said all four special teams units scrimmaged and looked good.
“I thought one of the positives was the effort on that part of it,” he said.
Gray, Doctson updates
Patterson said receiver/returner Deante’ Gray had surgery for the “non-contact” injury he suffered in the opening week of practice and that he will be back after about a six-month recovery period.
Receiver Josh Doctson also had surgery for the broken hand he suffered last week, and he will have a four-week recovery period.
Gray should be ready by August, Patterson said.
“Physically, it’s not a problem,” Patterson said. “Most of the time, that’s a mental thing more than a physical thing, especially for skill guys.”
▪ TCU will have an announcement Wednesday about the football schedule. ESPN and Sports Illustrated reported that Colorado is on the schedule in 2022-23. A TCU source said another Pac-12 school is on the schedule after that.
▪ The Frogs will unveil new uniforms after their spring game April 10 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., with the Nike-designed uniforms to be revealed at 8. Gates open at 6. Admission is free. “The recruits will be here, the alumni will be here — it’ll be cool,” Patterson said.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407