FORT WORTH, Texas --TCU coach Gary Patterson addressed a ballroom full of adoring fans Thursday during a membership luncheon of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. He discussed last year's historic ride to the Fiesta Bowl after an undefeated regular season and the prospects of doing it all over again.
"Not many people are perfect and not many people repeat being perfect," Patterson said afterward. "But we're going to try to be."
That's life in a non-automatic-qualifying conference. Ninenty-nine percent of the time a BCS berth is going to require a perfect season. The pursuit begins Wednesday when the team reports and practices begin Thursday, just as temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees.
"We've got 54 lettermen coming back with a bunch of starters coming back on offense and defense, but chemistry and all the other things and how you stay healthy go into it," Patterson said. "People expect you to be 12-0. To live up to that you have to have something go right for you and it will be tougher to do this year. The teams are better than they were a year ago that we'll play in the conference and we play an unbelievable non-conference schedule."
The nonconference schedule begins in grand fashion on Sept. 4 when the Horned Frogs play Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium. TCU also faces improved SMU on the road, plus a home game against a bowl-or-bust Baylor team excited about the return of quarterback Robert Griffin.
"We understand what we have in front of us," Patterson said, "and what we have to be able to get accomplished to get done what we need to do."
*Stadium renovation funding near complete: Patterson said the school will soon announce that it has hit its fundraising goal and will begin a much-needed overhaul of Amon G. Carter Stadium after the season. Also, Patterson said, plans are in place to completely revamp the football weight room and locker room over the next two seasons.
*Uniform surprise? Patterson hinted that the Frogs could be wearing new duds for the Sept. 4 season opener at Cowboys Stadium. "We've got a couple games -- at least one game, could be two games -- where we've got a chance for a special uniform this year," Patterson said. "Who knows, it may even be the first game."
TCU debuted the Nike Pro Combat uniform that included the grey helmet with thin red striping (supposed to represent blood real Horned Frogs spit as a defense mechanism) last season against Utah and brought them back for the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State. Patterson said the team still has those uniforms, but he seemed to be suggesting that a new uniform could be in the fold for the opener. The Frogs, Patterson said, will also still wear their traditional uniform -- black paints, purple jerseys and purple helmets -- although he said those uniforms have changed "just a little bit."
*Practice at JerryWorld: TCU is working out a date for the team to practice at Cowboys Stadium in anticipation of the Sept. 4 opener against Oregon State.
Healthy squad: Patterson said his team enters fall camp with no significant injuries. Linebacker Tank Carder, who had shoulder surgery during spring practice, is cleared to begin practice.