Patterson rattled off a list of nefarious tactics he’s seen such as a team using a fake construction worker to tape practice, having “inside guys” on opposing staffs and coaches camping out behind bleachers to catch a glimpse of practice.
So Patterson doesn’t take any chances, including on his own campus. Patterson likes practicing outdoors, but doesn’t get into the “nuts and bolts” of the game-planning portion until the team finishes practice in their indoor facility.
Why? Patterson is worried an opposing team could access one of the dorms that overlook the outdoor practice fields.
“I’ve got all these windows in these dorms across the street,” Patterson said. “Can you imagine what people would pay, when you’re talking about millions of dollars, if they could have a film of practice?
“Just telling if you guys want to know why we go in the indoor. We spend X amount of time [outside], but when we get into the nuts and bolts of everything, we’re inside.”
Patterson paused and smiled: “I do look for GoPros inside.”
The GoPro portion was a joke, of course, but college coaches are notorious for their — to put a nice way — meticulous nature. They’re always worried something is getting leaked out that shouldn’t.
That’s part of the reason Patterson and Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury have been so vague about the starting quarterbacks for Thursday’s game. Any advantage — perceived or real — is taken.
The topic came up on the heels of an ESPN report detailing how Mike Leach, an offensive assistant at Oklahoma at the time, planted a fake play call sheet that a Texas assistant would stumble upon before the 1999 Red River Showdown.
That act helped Oklahoma jump out to a 17-0 lead, although Texas ended up winning the game.
Patterson called that story “awesome,” but said he wouldn’t try it himself.
“I just have never been that smart. I’m not a good liar,” Patterson said. “I’m not a good poker player. You guys have watched me on the sidelines. Do I look like I’m a good poker player to you?”
Not at all. Anyone who has seen Patterson during a game knows he gets animated on the sidelines, barking changes and adjustments constantly. He usually has lost most of his voice by the time he does his postgame news conference.
But Patterson isn’t naive when it comes to the lengths college coaches will do to gain an advantage. He doesn’t throw anything football-related in the trash without putting it through a shredder.
“I have my guys go through all of our trash cans in our indoor and everything else to make sure nobody is looking for them [play scripts],” Patterson said. “I bring everything in and I tear it up. We never throw anything away outside. We have a shredder inside. We need to do a better job.”