Trust the process? For the 2018 season, Gary Patterson and TCU would rather own it

TCU’s motto going into 2018 -- “Own the Process.”
TCU’s motto going into 2018 -- “Own the Process.”

Trust the process is common cliché in sports these days.

Most fans associate that with teams who are purposefully “tanking” in order to acquire assets. The Philadelphia 76ers used the motto and, in turn, landed two No. 1 and two No. 3 overall picks in a four-year span to rebuild their team.

The “tanking” concept doesn’t apply to college sports, of course, but TCU is playing off the “trust the process” mantra this season. Instead of “trust,” though, coach Gary Patterson is going with “own.”

There’s a can’t-miss sign in the team’s meeting room that proclaims “Own The Process (Eyes Up Keep Climbing).”

‘Own the Process’ sign hanging in TCU’s football team room. Drew Davison

Patterson expounded on the Horned Frogs motto during the school’s media day on Thursday.

“Own the process is what we do,” Patterson said. “Everybody says, ‘Trust the process.’ To me, you can’t trust the process. You’ve got to understand it and you’ve got to beat it. That’s what own the process means.

“Last year, we didn’t have to say ‘Own the Process’ cause we had an older senior class and they already did.”

Patterson went into an example comparing the 2016 and 2017 teams in how they treated fall camp. The 2016 team, which had more younger players, had to practice more in the indoor facility because the heat wore them down quicker.

The 2016 team went 6-7.

TCU coach Gary Patterson talked about quarterback Shawn Robinson and how he's grown during the school's media day.

The 2017 team, meanwhile, didn’t use the indoor facility as much. They worked in the heat and ended up going 11-3 and finishing in the top 10.

For Patterson, it came down to the mental toughness and mindset of each team. He wants the 2018 team to “own the process” like the 2017 team, not the 2016 team.

“For us, I didn’t want to ‘Trust the Process.’ Iowa State says that,” Patterson said. “To me, it’s ‘own the process.’ If I have to convince you to trust the process, then we’re way behind the eight-ball anyway.”

It’s something that his players understand. Senior safety Niko Small, an Arlington Bowie product, feels it’s the foundation for success.

“Own the process means taking advantage of every chance you get to get better and understanding that there are no shortcuts to greatness, there are no shortcuts to success,” Small said. “It’s all done the same way. You can’t name a successful person who didn’t get there off hard work and determination and consistency. That’s really the only three keys you have – hard work, determination and consistency. That’s what owning the process really means.”

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