With the chance for an unbeaten season gone, the likelihood of the playoffs almost gone and the prospects for a Big 12 championship in not much better shape, the TCU football team got back to work Tuesday.
“In our program, it’s business as usual,” coach Gary Patterson said at his business-as-usual Tuesday press conference at the business-as-usual time and the business-as-usual place. “When we were 4-8, it was business as usual. And when we’re 8-1, it’s business as usual.”
But there is some self-evaluation to do.
The 15th-ranked Horned Frogs remain a banged-up bunch, with receiver Josh Doctson the latest and biggest injury to strike. Patterson said Doctson was “somewhere probable” to play Saturday against Kansas.
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Quarterback Trevone Boykin, his Heisman hopes dented by four interceptions in Stillwater, suddenly looks mortal. The running game averaged a season-low 4.2 yards per carry Saturday.
Defensively, big plays again hurt the Horned Frogs. Oklahoma State had gains of 82, 74, 50, 48 and 25 yards.
Obviously, in these next few ballgames, we’ve got to play better to get noticed again.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
“You lead the league in third-down percentage; we’re not playing well on first down,” Patterson said. “It’s not one of those things where we’re dead last in every category, not doing the things we need to do. It’s not as good as it has been here, but it’s not always going to be as good as it has been.”
If those problems can be overcome, Patterson remains optimistic about what the Frogs can still accomplish this season.
“Perception is reality — last ballgame, we didn’t play the way we needed to,” he said. “Obviously, in these next few ballgames, we’ve got to play better to get noticed again.
“But there are a lot of goals set. We still have a chance for a New Year’s bowl, outside chance for a playoff, a chance to at least tie for the conference championship, possibly. So you just go forward. Stranger things have happened.”
TCU lost its 16-game winning streak last week but retains an 11-game winning streak at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
But first, a normal thing must happen — a football team has to get past a loss, like dozens of others every week of every season, like TCU did last season and launched a 16-game winning streak.
“Every loss is tough, but our team does a very good job, I think, of moving on,” tight end Buck Jones said. “Probably because most of the guys were here two years ago from the 4-8 season. And compared to last season’s 12-1, we’ve had our ups and downs. We know every game counts.”
Said linebacker Travin Howard: “You can’t keep dwelling on a loss. Just kind of look forward and grind it out in practice and on the field.”
38.8Average margin of victory in four games at home for TCU this season.
More than a dozen players have missed a game or part of a game due to injury this season. Patterson said his team won’t be at its best until bowl season, when it’s had a month to heal.
But it doesn’t have a month right now. It just has a week.
“The one thing I will say about our group — they’ve done an unbelievable job fighting through everything that they’ve fought through to be where we are right now,” Patterson said. “It would not be fair of me to really criticize them at all, because they’ve done an unbelievable job of getting to this point.
“We need to find a way to beat Kansas, then we’ll move on to Oklahoma and then Baylor.”
TCU vs. Kansas
11 a.m. Saturday, FS1