Mac Engel

Gary Patterson’s signal-stealing paranoia is fine — as long as it’s not an excuse

Gary Patterson said, “Don’t get me wrong - we steal signals, too.”

At least he admits it.

With his team flying due south for the winter, one of the items GP plans to change in the offseason is the long list of signals and vocabulary he uses to call plays.

“It’s been 21 years how we call everything, especially defensively; I think it’s time for us to re-do everything,” Patterson said Tuesday.

In reviewing this forgettable year, Patterson is only certain opposing coaches have figured out TCU’s signals, have spread the word amongst their friends, and are using this state-secret information to stop a TCU play, or two, or 10.

He said a few times he called for certain blitzes at West Virginia on Saturday, the Mountaineers countered with a fly sweep.

“Every time,” GP said.

The P stands for paranoid. Of course, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Or it may just mean your team can’t make plays. But who wants that explanation?

Were these the desperate musings from a coach during a lost season? Sure.

Some truth to it? A kernel.

A reason TCU is having a down year? Never.

Whatever the case, we need something to infuse some fun back into a rivalry that currently looks like the dying days of the Southwest Conference when TCU v Baylor was a kitten fight for last place in front of 12,000 fans.

On the long list of potential interceptors of these precious signals is, of course, an assistant from Baylor, which TCU will play on Saturday in Waco.

If sign stealing makes Baylor/TCU more interesting, BU coach Matt Rhule needs to buy a drone to film a Frogs’ practice, and Patterson can counter with a SCUD missile to shoot it out of the sky.

Paranoia time

Per GP, former TCU assistant and current Kansas assistant Kenny Perry is friends with Baylor tight ends coach Joey McGuire; like Perry, McGuire was a long-time high school coach in DFW.

Perry, who is a member of David Beaty’s staff at Kansas, should have some more time at work these days. Perry is doubtful to return to KU after Beaty was recently fired.

What better way to job hunt than to provide some assistance to a friend in need with a tip, or a signal, to help a friend defeat TCU?

“Are people stealing signals?” Patterson asked rhetorically on Tuesday.

Does our president tweet?

In TCU’s 47-10 loss at West Virginia on Saturday, GP could look across the sideline and see only too many faces and names who are familiar with his team’s calls and signals.

Namely, WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. You might remember Spavital as one of the many offensive coaches Texas A&M has run off over the years as the explanation to the Aggies’ lack of ability to win a national title.

Now, Spavital never worked at TCU but he was current SMU head coach Sonny Dykes’ offensive coordinator at California in 2016.

Uh-oh ... Dykes was a TCU assistant last season. Spavital is the reason TCU only scored 10 points!

“(WVU) had three guys watching my signals at SMU (on Sept. 7) when we were playing them,” Patterson said.

This is akin to a scene from the classic movie 1984 “The Terminator” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; a psychologist interviews the good guy who was sent back in time to prevent a nuclear war, or the end of the world or ... something.

In the movie, the psychologist says after interviewing the good guy, “You see how clever his part is? How it doesn’t require a shred of proof? Most paranoid delusions are intricate, but this is brilliant!”


All of this Mission Impossible, time machine stuff GP discusses is real, even if it’s preposterous, because it’s college football. The best part is none of it requires a shred of proof.

GP said Tuesday any team that successfully steals one of his signs is not an excuse as to why his team has lost, can’t score, or stop people.

Maybe Gary and his staff need to do a better job of stealing signs, too. There has to be graduate assistant he can hire with the title of, “Quality Control Opposing Signal Stealer.”

Talk of stealing signals or language is fine, provided it’s not used as an excuse to explain TCU’s blah record. Sign stealing is a staple of sports, and sometimes, even when successfully executed, it does not even work.

How does GP know WVU, Baylor, or any team, steal signals?

He really doesn’t need proof. He already knows, because, as he said, he does it, too.

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