June Jones: Praise misunderstood
SMU coach June Jones responded Wednesday to TCU coach Gary Patterson's rant a day earlier against the Mustangs coach and his program, saying Patterson misconstrued a compliment.
"I'm kind of disappointed," Jones told reporters after SMU's morning practice. "I thought I gave them a compliment. Obviously it got misconstrued to him, but that stuff happens.
"I know a loss sometimes makes you say things you wish you hadn't said. ... I wanted to tell him we try to copy what he does. They don't change. They do what they do, and that's what good teams do."
Jones said he has no beef with Patterson.
"Gary is a good guy. I have no issues with him," Jones said. "He's always been helpful and he's a good football coach."
During the week leading up to the Battle for the Iron Skillet Saturday at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium, Jones made a comment that Patterson and TCU "don't change, they do what they do and that's what good football teams do."
Patterson, during his Tuesday news conference, interpreted the comment as a slight to mean that his team is predictable. The TCU coach said he was also upset with comments from an SMU player. That was receiver Darius Johnson, who after catching 12 passes for 152 yards, said, "I don't like these TCU people."
Jones said he wasn't concerned about his players' comments, noting that it's not unusual after a heated rivalry game.
Patterson, whose then-No. 20 Frogs lost to SMU, 40-33 in overtime and subsequently dropped out of the national polls for the first time in three years, said he would cut all ties to SMU. Patterson said in the past he has been willing to share TCU's approach in areas such as academics and the stadium.
"They shouldn't ask me at SMU about going into a conference, they shouldn't ask me about how they play, they shouldn't ask me about their players, they shouldn't ask me about anything because they're not getting any help, period, any more," Patterson said. "Because we've bent over backwards to make sure that they can improve their program because I believe that's what you do."
On Sunday, SMU had moved into the "receiving votes" section of the polls and later that night it was reported that the Big East Conference, which TCU becomes a member in 2012, added SMU to its list of expansion candidates.
Patterson was also hot Tuesday regarding the officiating of the game, saying there were a number of "terrible calls," including a pass interference call on the game's first play that negated a TCU interception. SMU scored on the drive for a 7-0 lead.
Jones told reporters that he agreed the officials could have been better, but said those kinds of things happen and will go both ways every week.
As for Patterson severing the relationship with SMU and refusing to no longer help the program, Jones said, tongue-in-cheek, "I know he (Patterson) said he wasn't going to help us anymore, but he probably guaranteed a sellout next year" when the game goes back to SMU's Ford Stadium.
As perhaps a dig at Patterson and TCU, SMU announced Tuesday a new ticket plan for the remaining four home games at a price of $40.33, the score of Saturday's first victory over the Frogs since 2005.
Jeff Caplan is a columnist and reporter for ESPNDallas.com.