TCU

Who’s watching TCU end zone celebrations? Gary Patterson, from start to finish

TCU players celebrate an interception return for a touchdown by safety Ridwan Issahaku against Jackson State on Sept. 2 at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
TCU players celebrate an interception return for a touchdown by safety Ridwan Issahaku against Jackson State on Sept. 2 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Gary Patterson is judging the celebrations of TCU players after they score.

But the head coach is not giving out awards for creativity.

He wants exuberance shown properly or not at all.

“If I think it looks like it’s a natural thing, then I’m OK with what they do,” he said. “But when it looks like they rehearsed it all Thursday night, then I’m not necessarily fired up about it.”

The TCU coach was answering a question Tuesday at his weekly press conference about running back Sewo Olonilua’s chest bump with quarterback Shawn Robinson, which sent Olonilua tumbling to the ground. He had just scored the first touchdown of TCU’s 28-7 victory at Arkansas.

Patterson said he didn’t notice Olonilua’s fall, which ended with him landing somewhat awkwardly on his side, potentially risking injury.

“I didn’t see that until later,” he said.

But he said he makes it a habit, “as a general rule,” to watch the actions of the player who scores from the end of the play until the return to the sideline.

Last year, Kenny Hill received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a gesture after scoring in a game against Arkansas.

A week later, after a Cal player apparently dropped the ball before crossing the goal line in a game against Texas, Patterson was asked what he would do if one of his players did that. He said, “If one of our guys does that, he just needs to keep running up the tunnel.”

Two weeks ago, Patterson said he didn’t like the dogpile in the end zone following linebacker Arico Evans’ return of a fumble for a touchdown.

Tuesday, without referring to a specific player, Patterson said celebrations can negatively affect the reputations of athletes, particularly those up for national awards.

“People don’t vote for people they don’t like or they think don’t act right,” he said. “So if you want votes, if you want to be one of the better backs in the United States, in college football, then you have to get votes to get that. Well, if you don’t act right, then you don’t get votes. Even if you are. It’s just an easy thing. If you want people to recognize your level of performance, they also have to be able to like you. I’m just trying to help them out a little bit with that.”

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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