The tension between Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and TCU coach Gary Patterson seemed to be a real thing. At least since the Sooners’ Heisman Trophy candidate lashed out at Patterson in December 2015.
At the time, Mayfield said “[TCU] told me they were going to offer me a scholarship and kind of drug it out, and I told other schools I wasn’t interested because I thought I was going to go there, and I truly believed they were going to offer me because they told me that,” Mayfield said of his 2013 recruitment out of Lake Travis High School. “They disappointed me and kind of hung me out to dry right before signing day.”
Mayfield also added that Patterson didn’t like him. Patterson, at the time, responded with a different version of events.
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“If Baker Mayfield wants to blame TCU for 128 BCS schools not offering him a scholarship, that’s fine,” he said. “But ask [coach] Kliff Kingsbury why he didn’t offer him a scholarship at Texas Tech. Ask about Baker’s dad [James]. He’s an arrogant guy who thinks he knows everything. If people knew the whole story, they might not have a great opinion of Baker or his father.”
Fast forward to Monday, when Mayfield was asked if his “mindset towards Patterson has changed” in advance of the Big 12 Conference championship at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Mayfield took the high road.
“I’ve never had a mindset change about him. I’ve always had respect for him,” Mayfield said. “He’s always one of the best coaches in college football. There’s a reason they’ve been successful and they’re a top program year in and year out. It’s solely because of him and what he does, coaching, recruiting and just that program, in general. So it’s never been about respect. That’s always been there.”
Mayfield chalked up the various moments of discord between him and TCU as part of competition. In 2014, TCU accused Mayfield, then sitting out after transferring from Texas Tech, of stealing signs on the sidelines during a game. In 2015, Frogs linebacker Ty Summers was ejected for targeting Mayfield, who was knocked out of the game with a concussion. During warmups before Oklahoma hosted TCU on November 11 Mayfield pegged a TCU player with a pass and pompously clapped as TCU players jogged past him.
“When you play somebody and you’re trying to beat them, there’s going to be issues,” Mayfield said. “There’s going to be tussles here and there. That’s to be expected. I’ve always had respect for coach Patterson.”