As things stand, TCU football coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday he is more concerned with quarterback Kenny Hill’s future audibles than his future hand gestures impacting the outcome of Horned Frogs’ games.
Patterson said he and Hill have addressed the quarterback’s hand gesture that drew a pivotal unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the waning moments of last week’s 41-38 loss to Arkansas. Hill’s gesture, which Patterson described as “sign language for honoring the king,” involved the player moving his hand across his body near his throat before pointing at the sky.
Game officials interpreted the move as a throat-slash gesture and Hill was flagged, helping improve Arkansas’ field position before a game-tying drive for a touchdown and two-point conversion that sent the contest into overtime. Patterson said he has urged Hill to simply hand over the football to the referee after future touchdowns but will not forbid future gestures if his players are moved in that direction. He also said videotape reviews show Hill made the same gesture twice in the South Dakota State game and once earlier in the Arkansas contest without drawing a flag.
“I’m not one to stop somebody from being like that. I understand honoring the man upstairs,” Patterson said at Tuesday’s news conference.
What he cannot condone, Patterson said, is Hill’s audible from a run play to a pass when coaches sought to position the ball in the middle of the field for a game-winning field goal attempt that was blocked with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
“To be honest with you, what I was upset with him about was the last play before we kicked it. It was a run play and he checked to a pass,” Patterson said, noting that the play and the result reminded him of a similar situation with Andy Dalton, TCU’s career record-holder for wins by a starting quarterback (42), during the 2007 season.
In that contest, Dalton checked to a pass against Air Force that was intercepted, setting up the tying score in a game TCU lost in overtime, 20-17.
“It has a lot of similarities,” Patterson said of the two plays. “I’ve talked to Kenny and he understands. Just give it to the referee.”