TCU coach could use a little snake in his personality
With the glare of a national spotlight now firmly focused on TCU football, with the Frogs barely into September yet still climbing this week at a 50-plus-year high-tide mark in the polls, we can all agree on one thing:
Gary Patterson doesn’t need any advice, either from you, or particularly from me.
But I couldn’t help myself, of course.
So a conversation with Patterson the other morning went something like this:
Uh, Gary, how your team plays the game is most important, but since college football also revolves around human voters and Dell software, there’s another game also being played.
Being classy can be costly. Doing the right thing can be the wrong thing in the end.
By my accord, Patterson stood accused of both — being classy and doing the right thing — in the season-opening 30-21 win over Oregon State.
“Do I need to apologize for that?” said Patterson, laughing.
No, but, truthfully, for your own good, it might not hurt to adjust priorities. Having some snake in you helps.
Such as the last four minutes against the Top 25-ranked Beavers. TCU had played pretty well, but with more defensive breakdowns than maybe expected, and with a veteran quarterback surviving two killer turnovers in an otherwise fine Andy Dalton performance.
With the “W” finally in the bank, however, style points were left on the board. Style points are piling-it-on points. Running-it-up points matter to humans and computers.
The Frogs had the ball at the Oregon State 31-yard line with 3:30 to play.
Patterson ordered his offense to sit. The Frogs ran six straight plays, and by my recollection all between the tackles. It’s not that the offense wasn’t trying to score, but only basic legwork was going to make it happen.
Somewhere down the line this season, the difference between a 16-point win over Oregon State and a nine-point win could be held against you, particularly after we find out the final score in a couple of weeks when Boise State hosts the same Beavers.
That’s the way the polls work. That’s the way those computers compute.
“The only thing I’m thinking at that point is go ahead and wrap up this win over a good team,” Patterson said. “Throwing the ball, trying to score another touchdown, was not really a consideration.
“Also, he [Mike Riley, the OSU coach] was not calling timeouts. I think that also factors into the situation. We weren’t throwing and he wasn’t calling timeouts.”
Oregon State fans in Arlington did not seem pleased that Riley wasn’t using his timeouts. When one was finally called with 43 seconds left, a mock cheer for the coach was heard.
Actually, that timeout was basically an invitation for the Frogs to throw on a third-and-7 from the OSU 18. But on a keeper, Dalton was tackled at the 13, and the clock ran down and out.
“I will stand on my record,” said Patterson. “I don’t think I’ve been accused of running up the score, and I don’t want that to happen.
“We do a lot of preaching to our kids that, no matter what happens on the field, be classy, be classy, be classy; represent our university well and maintain a good reputation for our football program.
“We certainly don’t do everything right, but on that, I think we’ve done a good job. And we want that to continue. So I don’t think putting the ball in the air a couple of times at that point in the game would have sent the right message, both to our players and our fans.”
Of course, Patterson is right. And you have to applaud him. But it’s also a wicked game that’s played in college football.
Everyone remembers the Mack Brown situation in ’08 when he was being nationally commended for not running up the score on some outmanned opponent. But in the final regular-season polling, the Oklahoma team UT had beaten by 10 points in October finished ahead of Texas going into December.
Then last season, after Colt McCoy was busted up in the bogus national title game in January, that loss to Alabama had some critics chirping that backup Garrett Gilbert should have been playing more during all those regular-season blowout wins.
Mack was accused of keeping McCoy in those games to pad Colt’s stats. One way or the other, it can be a winless and thankless job.
“That’s why you do what you do and don’t worry about it,” Patterson said. “And in one of those polls, we do have coaches voting. I think coaches, some of them anyway, do take note of what’s going on, and who is running it up, and will vote accordingly.”
Not so sure Gary is right on that one. But yes, he did right on Saturday night, except in college football’s “other” game, it can always end up being wrong.
Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.
Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/09/08/2454147_p2/tcu-coach-could-use-a-little-snake.html#ixzz0zCHJgAqp