Sunday, September 26, 2010
Gary Patterson would've voted Oregon, too
By Jeff Caplan
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU's 41-24 victory Friday night at SMU was good enough to drop it one spot in the lastest AP Top 25 poll. That's right, drop. The Horned Frogs are now ranked No. 5 in the nation.
Oregon, fresh off a 42-31 win against Arizona State at a hostile Sun Devil Stadium is the nation's new No. 4 team, just seven points ahead of the Frogs. In the USA Today coaches poll (Patterson is not among the voters this season), TCU stayed put at No. 5 with Oregon jumping to No. 4, taking the spot vacated by Texas.
TCU didn't play as sharply at SMU as it had in its first three games and it cost the Frogs an important spot. Judging by TCU coach Gary Patterson's unprovoked comments about the coming poll after the game, he was all but expecting Sunday's slip if Oregon played well.
"When I watched Oregon and I watched us the other night, I would have voted them ahead of us," Patterson said Sunday. "That may be the worst game we played as a team in two years and we still won by 17 points. There wasn't anything we did really well."
Patterson even found fault in the game-changing play, senior Jeremy Kerley's 83-yard kickoff return to set up a quick, retaliatory touchdown that gave TCU the lead back early in the third quarter. The Frogs would extend the margin to 35-17 early in the fourth quarter.
"Kerley caught a big return off the back side," Patterson said, "but it wasn't because anyone was blocking."
Patterson said that prior to his team returning to the locker room after pre-game drills, he sensed a lack of enthusiasm and he stoppped them for a little chat, something he normally does not do.
"I told them, 'You guys are not ready. You're going through the motions,'" Patterson said.
Patterson then heaped of blame on himself.
"I made a mistake. I talked about the big picture with my team. I won't do that again," Patterson said. "I tried to help them get fired up for the game, telling them that everybody was watching, that it was a chance to make an impression. That's the last time I talk to them about making an impression. ... We have one of those kind of games it seems like once a year. We picked the game on national TV to do it."
The Frogs now head into their eight-game Mountain West Conference schedule on Saturday at Colorado State, 36-34 winners against Idaho. He said he's not worried heading into league play on the road that he had to put a mid-week charge into his team during some lackluster practices leading up to the Baylor game two weeks ago or that he felt it necessary to gather his team before kickoff at SMU.
"I think we'll get their attention," Patterson said. "The last time we played at Colorado State we won 14-10. They just broke a 12-game losing streak. They could make their season by beating the No. 5 team in the country. You don't think they'll be ready to play us?"
Attention-grabbing started Sunday, especially for TCU's back seven defenders -- two linebackers and five defensive backs -- a group he was not happy with after the Mustangs gallop to 190 rushing yards tailback Zach Line went for a career-high 139 yards. The defensive players were greeted by a guest during film study who normally leaves that to players and their position coaches.
The mystery guest? Yep, Patterson.
*Running back Ed Wesley will have to pass a battery before being cleared to play Saturday. Wesley, the Frogs' leading rusher, sustained a concussion in the second quarter Friday and did not return. Patterson sounded as though he expects Wesley will be ready to play. He said Wesley has not experienced concussion-like symptoms since the game.
"He's fine. As far as I'm concerned he was fine 10 minutes after he got hurt," Patterson said. "But, it was good that we protected him."