TCU coach Gary Patterson, eager for a pass rush, sounded optimistic about the availability of defensive end Terrell Lathan for the Texas game and the return to form of defensive tackle Davion Pierson.
“We’ve got a chance to get some guys back this week,” Patterson said. “If we can get Lathan back, get some guys healthy, that will help us.”
Lathan left the SMU game with what looked like a shoulder injury. He did not play last week against Texas Tech.
Five of the injuries have been non-contact. Some years you get good luck, some years you don’t. You’ve got to live with that.
TCU coach Gary Patterson on the Frogs’ injury bug
Pierson played in his first game last week after sitting out the first three weeks with a concussion.
“Pierson wasn’t in as good a shape as we need to be,” Patterson said. “He’ll be a lot better player next week, kind of like Josh Doctson was at the beginning of the year when he had his hamstring through two-a-days — he and Aaron Green both didn’t practice much during two-a-days, and every week they’ve gotten better. Same thing is going to happen with Davion Pierson. If we get Lathan back, Lathan gives us another pass rusher that we need.”
TCU has scored 55 points or more in three consecutive games for the first time in team history.
The Horned Frogs also played without cornerback Torrance Mosley, who was in line to start against Texas Tech but suffered a sprained ankle three days before the game.
“Five of the injuries have been non-contact,” Patterson said. “Some years you get good luck, some years you don’t. You’ve got to live with that.”
Patterson did not give an update on receiver Ty Slanina, who was expected to have surgery on Monday for a shoulder injury that he suffered against Texas Tech. Patterson said after the game that Slanina is “probably down for the season.”
Receiver Kolby Listenbee tweeted a photo on Monday of Slanina at the hospital with the message, “Prayers go out to my brother and our backbone @TySlanina as he go in for surgery today! #MajorComeback.” The tweet was later deleted.
Listenbee also is dealing with an injury after landing hard on his backside with a touchdown catch against SMU two weeks ago. He did not play the rest of that game and sat out against Texas Tech.
Patterson did not say if Listenbee would play this week.
If anyone has a plan for defending the desperation lateral play at the end of a game, Patterson would love to hear it.
“How do you work on that play?” he said jokingly with reporters during the conference call. “I’ve been in it 33 years. I mean, you’d have to bring in a rugby coach.”
Turning serious, Patterson credited defensive tackle Tevin Lawson for his hustle in helping defend the three-lateral pass play that got Texas Tech to the 10-yard line with no time left.
“The biggest thing is effort,” he said. “One of the biggest tackles was a defensive lineman, Tevin Lawson, who came back and tackled the guy that pitched the ball last. Your whole defense just has to hustle back.”
TCU became the first team this season to score a touchdown in the third quarter against Texas Tech and get a sack against the Red Raiders.
Punt or go
Patterson said there was “no hesitation” about punting on fourth-and-8 from the TCU 49-yard line with less than five minutes to go, trailing 52-48, and Texas Tech having scored on every possession of the second half.
“We had three timeouts,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to be able to play defense if you want to win championships. So there was not any doubt we had to punt it, get them down there, do what we needed to do.”
The Horned Frogs got their three-and-out, only their third of the game, and got the ball back at their 47 with 3:02 left for the drive to the go-ahead score.