Gary Patterson has a knack for perspective.
Saturday night’s 63-0 victory against Jackson State was No. 150 for him as head coach at TCU.
“Means I can get to 151,” he said. “Try to.”
But then he put it in broader perspective.
“I’ll be excited if I can get to 160 at the end of the season,” he said. “That would make me a lot more excited.”
He wouldn’t be alone. Getting to 160 this year means an 11-win season — minimum. What could come along with that? Well, for sure a nice bowl. Potentially very nice. A Big 12 title? Maybe.
It’s just too early to tell, too early to think about. Which is why it was unusual to hear a coach, Patterson of all coaches, look that far into the future. So many things can turn a game, certainly a season, that it’s hard to predict where a team will be even a couple of weeks out. Coaches know that better than anyone.
But Patterson wasn’t counting chickens. Just putting things in perspective.
He has a knack for that.
On to some other observations from Saturday night:
1. TCU will be on a rest disadvantage Saturday at Arkansas, which opened its season on a Thursday night. But the Frogs reduced it as much as reasonably possible by putting the game away in time to get most of their starters out by the middle of the third quarter. Patterson said that would actually give him a chance for a tougher Tuesday practice because his players would be fresher. He sounded like he was looking forward to it.
2. Shawn Robinson is faster than you think. If you watched him in DeSoto’s state championship game last December, you saw a player slowed down by a late-season wear and tear, not to mention a hip bruise in the game. But apparently at full health for his TCU opener, he flashed the speed that 6-foot-2, 225-pound quarterbacks really aren’t supposed to have. And the arm? Just as advertised. When his strength is paired with accuracy, look out.
3. Defensive scores are always a good sign for a football team, and TCU had two against Jackson State. Better sign? Strong safety Ridwan Issahaku and linebacker Arico Evans put together aggressive, athletic returns to get in the end zone. Both players looked comfortable with a ball in their hands, following blocking and making cuts — which they should; they both have quarterback backgrounds. They are part of the reason Patterson says he likes the speed and athleticism of this defense.
4. TCU has a lot of receivers. Did you know they had this many? Kenny Hill and Shawn Robinson sprinkled 23 completions among 11 wide receivers, two running backs and a tight end. Ty Slanina led all pass-catchers with four receptions. Six others had two, including intense freshman Jalen Reagor, who came within 4 yards of scoring on his first college catch. Seven other players had one catch. It won’t look like this every week. But out of this many candidates, a go-to receiver or two or three should emerge.
5. The old coaching joke is that when you’re coming off a losing season, the good news is you have a lot of starters back and the bad news is you have a lot of starters back. Patterson went around telling that joke this summer. And it’s true that the Frogs return 17 starters, who are going to play a lot. But as Saturday night showed, Patterson wants to look at a lot of players. Six players made their first TCU starts — running back Darius Anderson, defensive ends Ben Banogu and Mat Boesen, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, linebacker Arico Evans and safety Markell Simmons. Anderson started because Kyle Hicks was not at full speed, and Simmons started because Niko Small was serving a punishment. No matter. The Frogs blended new faces with veterans and dominated a game they should have dominated.
TCU at Arkansas
2:30 p.m. Saturday, KTVT/11