TCU’s Patterson on board with Sonny Cumbie calling games on field ... for now

TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie plans to stay on the field to call games this season.

Cumbie called a game from the field for the first time in the Frogs’ 39-7 season-opening victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and will do so again Saturday at Purdue.

Coach Gary Patterson had yet to discuss the matter with Cumbie as he met with reporters on Tuesday. But Patterson didn’t seem to have any concerns over it for now.

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask him,” Patterson said. “If I don’t think it’s where it needs to be, then we’ll change it up.”

Patterson dismissed the idea that he’d be able to have more direct conversations with Cumbie on in-game strategies with both on the field.

“I do that already,” Patterson said. “My mic has a four-way to all the headsets on the sideline. All I’ve got to do is click over.”

It’s an interesting development for the program. Whether assistants are better off upstairs or downstairs is a much-talked about subject in the sport.

SB Nation did an in-depth story in 2016 on why coach’s prefer to be upstairs or downstairs. San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the then-offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, liked making the transition from the field to the box.

“I’ve found it to be more relaxing,” Shanahan said at the time. “You get to gather your thoughts. Study. See what happens more clearly. Prepare better. Spread out your work. On the sidelines, you see pictures, you’re talking, distracted. There are less distractions up there.”

“Now,” Shanahan added, “if you go from the coach’s box to the field for the first time, that’s a huge difference. But from the field to up there, the transition is easier. You’re going from hectic to calm and the other way around is much more of a challenge.”

Time will tell the effect this move has for Cumbie and TCU. The Frogs are coming off the worst scoring season in the Patterson era, so a change might be warranted.

Plus, TCU’s top quarterbacks Alex Delton and Max Duggan are in their first seasons with the program. Cumbie wanted to have face-to-face interaction with the QBs between series.

With Cumbie moving downstairs, TCU’s game notes show just one offensive staff member upstairs -- inside receivers coach Jarrett Anderson.

The others -- Cumbie, co-offensive coordinator Curtis Luper, offensive line coach Chris Thomsen and outside receivers coach Malcolm Kelly -- are on the field.

Patterson has three of his defensive assistants in the box on game day -- defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow, defensive line coach Zarnell Fitch and cornerbacks coach Jeremy Modkins.

As stated, it’s usually personal preference when it comes to these decisions and what trusted eyes are best upstairs. For now, Patterson seems to have no issues with how the offensive staff is handling it.

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