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July 14, 2021

Gary Patterson

Arlington, Texas, USA

TCU Horned Frogs

Press Conference

GARY PATTERSON: Glad to be here. Good to see everybody. You don't miss something. You guys always know how I do things as far as how this is. I think you kind of have to enjoy the moment. I know a lot of people say, well -- this is the one time get an opportunity to be around all of you.

It's been a fun summer. It's been more of a normal summer for us as far as the team is concerned in the state of Texas. Our guys have been working hard. I did an interview the other day where I said it was one of the better chemistry teams that we've had in a long time, and they took it to say that we are going to win a National Championship, and that's not what I said.

But I would say that's different than the norm Gary Patterson, which plays below the water, just for the fans and the team, they deserved a lot different look at things. And so our group has had great chemistry, and I'll give you a great example. Usually in May when we get done with finals, guys will leave for a couple of weeks, because we only had eight seniors, but 90 percent of them didn't. They stayed on their own, lift, ran. So, you can tell where they are at, what they are doing.

It will be the first time we have had a returning quarterback back since 2017. People don't really understand what Max (Duggan) went through a year ago, when you understand you're only a freshman, you're going to go in the spring, you don't have spring, you didn't get an opportunity to also throw in the summer with your teammates, and then he had his condition, and they basically didn't let him do anything until a week before we played on the 26th against Iowa State. So for him to grow up where he's at, an unbelievable leader, he's here with me today.

But basically, everybody on offense comes back, snapper, kicker, punter. Defensively we have three really good players. We have to replace two tight ends we had on offense that got into camps. We had I think eight seniors, five guys got into camps, so the two safeties and Wallow, the linebacker. Been kind of fun. It's a great group to be around.

Usually, your offense and defense will have chemistry together not initially as a whole team. I'll give you a great example. The other day I come walking out, and they just got done with workouts, and when they got done they were on two ends of the field and ran around high-fiving each other. Very rarely do you have a group that likes each other. And I think COVID has a little bit to do with that for the simple reason that you had Zoom classes and you didn't see the regular students. We basically had to rely on each other.

This group here really kind of came together, I think probably because they were so young. And so I don't know how that's going to turn out, but chemistry is a great start. The way they work is a great start, and having the quarterback back is a great start.

For us at TCU, we're glad to see everybody here and have an opportunity to get full 100 percent capacity in our stadium and get a chance to do that.

Then a tough early schedule. Besides Duquesne, they have a Cal Berkeley team they are talking about, watching them enough in their spring game to understand they are going to be a really good football team. SMU has got a good football team going early, and then you start out with Texas at home. Texas, and then we have -- you go down the list of Texas Tech on the road, then OU and that's your first six ballgames.

After that, we'll regroup and see what goes on. Questions?

Q. I'm curious, now you kind of go into this second year with Jerry Kill there, with Tim Beck there, where do you feel you are at from an offensive schematic perspective and how much will it help to have that continuity?

GARY PATTERSON: No. 1, I think we have really, the best, systems in place to have two older guys that have won National Championship, Jerry Kill, obviously anywhere he was a head coach, he made that program better. And then that allowed me to hire people like Kenny Hill that's a younger quarterback coach, but you have guys that can sit and watch and make sure that we don't miss any of the details, but a guy that can recruit, the kids relate to.

I think it's probably as good a system as anybody could have in college football right now because I have guys in place behind the scenes that help do all the things we need to do.

And more than that, you know, especially in this day and age not only just with COVID and everything else but to have somebody else that can be a father figure, a guy that can sit down with kids, 125 of them at TCU and there's only one of me, and to have other guys that can actually sit down and help kids with their lives, with the NIL, everything else that's going on, how do you navigate, how do you navigate the world.

Anytime anybody can have a guy with that kind of experience, almost like myself, 40 years in college football, the places he's been, it couldn't help be a plus. The rest of my staff, people don't understand, seven out of my 10 full-time coaches, since we've been there so long, started out as GAs or played for me, and then out of the other 20, 10 of them started as GAs and played and have been around the program. So you don't have to teach the culture.

For us going forward, it's a lot of fun to watch them grow within your program and how they have gone on. It's a hard business right now for young coaches because with all the analysts and everybody, it's really hard, everybody thought, well, there would be a lot of movement. But there's not been any movement. Because we've got some really good young coaches that deserve to be full-time coaches at any level of college and they had to stay another year because last year there wasn't a lot of movement.

You have a lot of experience as a staff coming back, as a whole group because even in your young coaches, it's a lot more than just your full-time guys. It's everybody, and so to have a guy like Tim Beck that's been a head coach, Coach (Tony) Sanchez that was the head coach at UNLV on our staff is a volunteer analyst, you just have a lot of guys that have a lot of experience. Coach (Chad) Glasgow, Coach (Jarrett) Anderson have been with me 26 years. Anytime you put all those people in place, you think the same way in a lot of ways. So with a returning quarterback, we'll see how that turns out.

Q. You talk about having all these pieces around the field; how do you see this all coming together to compete in the Big 12 this season?

GARY PATTERSON: I put it in a playoff perspective. I think that in the eight years we've been in the Big 12, '14, '15, and '17 I think we would have in the playoffs if we would have been 12 teams. We know how to win ballgames, between 2008 and 2010, we were 36-3. 2014 and 2015, we were 23-3. So winning ballgames is not new to TCU. 2017, you win 11-3, the three losses were the two teams that were picked at the top of the conference this year. Iowa State team, we lost by three at our house.

I told my team this week, if you want to win 10, 11, ballgames, you're probably going to win five ball games because the parity in this league is very close. So you're going to have to win the close ball games. When we've had big wins, you're going to have win games by ten points or less and so how do you do that. This is one of the years where we go on the road five times, four at home, but we have seven homes games.

I think the biggest thing is getting back to understanding the detail of what we have to do, and that's what I told them. Now, you're going to have to learn how to win the close ballgames and one of the ways you do that, also, is like other teams in the league, you have to have a returning quarterback. You always want -- if you have, you want to ball last, and when you have an older guy, that's a lot better to have the ball last.

Q. You're one of the first programs to have the benefit of the in-conference transfer rule. What has that done for a guy like Chandler Morris who can come in in the off-season and prepare with the goal of playing next year? And secondly, have you been able to look forward? Is there any concern that the new rule might increase, whether it be tampering or poaching in-conference?

GARY PATTERSON: I don't know about just in-conference. You need to understand right now we're in a situation where we have the NIL and transfer but the NFL, they have a Players Union. Right now, we don't have a Players Union. There are no rules right now besides the state laws. As we move forward, one of the things that's off-base, we can only take 25 scholarships, that has to change, whether it's the basketball rule where you can have 25 or and if you lose one you can add another one.

The biggest thing is roster management. How do we manage our roster? Again, we only had eight seniors, so for us losing guys, we didn't have to worry, but if I was somebody that had 24 seniors, until that rule gets changed, that's going to be hard because if you do it and then lose ten guys to the portal or whatever they do or however things go down, you can't replace them.

Especially not talking about Power Five, but we're talking about the lower level of Division I football, I think that's a big problem right now that we have to be able to fix and be able to understand that you've got to -- you have to have solutions. I always say the difference between a good coach and a great coach is a coach that can fix things quickly. That's something before we get to signing day here in December, we have to make sure we get it fixed and that marries up a little bit better than what it does right now.

To be honest with you, I'm a little bit different on the NIL. I think it evened the playing field. I think it gave every kid an opportunity to -- again, our job is going to be as coaches, even though universities stay out of it. The really good players are going to have to have their own deals. People are going to find them.

My job -- we have a saying, it's not how we grow them up for the four years but what we are going to do for them from 22 to 62. I've been there at TCU 24 years. I think we can probably talk about that as well as anybody around the country about that, and I think it's really important for us to understand how do we help.

And I'll give you a great example how it might have helped TCU last year: Ar'Darius Washington. He went early in the draft as a safety. He didn't have all the measurables. Probably if he could have some endorsement deals where he could have made some money that he could have given to his family, he might have stayed another year and then played at TCU right now.

I think there's going to be some positive things that came out of doing all this, and you know, but like anything, abuse leads to restriction. The things you talked about, tampering, using leverage as far as the amount of money that you would have to go to one school or the other; if any of us believe that that's not -- that that might not be a possibility is crazy. That's why if you look at the NFL model, you can't talk to other teams. You can't do those kind of things. There's severe penalties. There's going to have to be some things in place. That's probably why they like me talking first because I get the 800-pound-gorilla questions out of the way so everybody else knows how to answer when we get done.

It still comes down as you saw in the ESPN article, and I think Max Duggan will tell you if you interview him, he knows it's a big year for him. If he has a great year, all those other things take care of themselves. I saw a high school kid talk about in recruiting, anybody that starts talking to him about Name, Image and Likeness, he took -- he took them off his page. He was going to college to play football. There are still those guys out there that want to do things for the right reason, and we want everybody to be successful and we want them to be able to move on and help themselves, whether they help themselves or their family or anybody else. It's a big deal.

But I think you'll find the teams that keep everything in perspective, that understand you still have to win football games, they are going to be the ones that do the best job in the season and they are going to have more opportunities.

Every year that we have had big years at TCU, more guys have been drafted and more guys have been free agents. And so success breeds success. I don't think there's going to be any change. Obviously, all of us know that we've got to have a few walls around everything we do because my job as a head coach is to protect the good guys, whether it's rules within our team or how we do things, and I don't think it's going to be any different with the NIL or transfer rules or anything else. I'm not a big transfer guy. I would deal with a junior college guy in a lot of ways that if we need a hole filled, then you do it. We are still a developmental school. That's why we had three of those guys that came, they were grad transfers that came here because their people told them that they could get better and be more draftable and go higher in the draft if they came to TCU because that's what our reputation is.

So for me, that's what we want to keep it and we want to keep doing those kind of things because I still think if kids are going to get to a high level, it's still about the process. You still have to learn how to fight through the hardest things you've got from accountability, work ethic and all those kinds of things to get because of the measure at the NFL level, it's still 250-some guys you're going to get drafted out of 13,000 or 14,000 every year that are eligible.

Like I told my team the other day, how many five-stars were there on either one of those teams that played in the Super Bowl? I don't know what it was, one or two, maybe three or four, five four stars, but a lot of three stars, two stars, all the rest of it. So I'm looking for five-star talent with two-star humor and humility and accountability and all those kind of things that we get where we need to.

Q. It wasn't that long ago Kenny Hill was here as a player talking to us. What did you see from him off the field as an analyst and GA the last few years that made you feel confident?

GARY PATTERSON: Kenny is always a guy that's had the "It" factor as far as a personality and all of that, and that's one of the key issues in recruiting and everything else that goes along with being one of those nine or ten full-time assistants. You know, I keep a file on what I think guys, just like my assistant, all assistant coaches complain about their head coach. I did when I was an assistant. I think the biggest thing is his relationship with the kids on the team, Max Duggan in particular. Knowing the game, being in the systems, the relationships when the kids came on campus as to how they related to him as a recruiter; that was the same reason I hired Zarnell Fitch when he was on campus. The kids just gravitated to him. I think if you ask guys that are in here, they would talk to you about how those guys do a great job in recruiting.

One of the reasons why, again, I put in place and the university really the chancellor and Jeremiah Donati allowing us to be able to put in position a guy like Jerry Kill or Tim Beck or (Tony) Sanchez or any of the guys I have that are behind the scenes, when you have those guys that have experience, I think Coach (Nick) Saban has been able to do that best at Alabama. I mean, you've got to be able to make good decisions. So to be able to have good decisions, you've got to be able to have a lot of people have an opinion that you can sort through everything and come up with the right answer.

And Kenny Hill is one of those, it became very clear he would be the right answer for us because of his relationship with Max (Duggan) and the other quarterbacks and also that he has such a high end as far as personality and being able to recruit and do all those other things. He loves football. That's an easy part. Now we just need to mold him into being a guy that can be in this profession on a day-to-day basis and be in it a long time. I mean, that's my job.

Q. Surrounding the new rules with preseason pad practices, how do you feel this will affect your team preparation-wise, especially with those big games you talked about?

GARY PATTERSON: Well, you know, all of us I think coaching-wise would have liked us to have gone back to the 2019 rule where we were able to have walk-throughs in the summer and do things. But again, we all -- because I thought, again, just like the NIL, I thought it evened the playing field; the guys that did it, the guys that didn't do it.

Our kids, now that we're a year older, it's a lot easier for us now than it was a year ago with all the young guys that we had to play. And really with COVID, anybody that had an older team had an advantage last year, especially early in the season.

Now I think it's a little bit more normal doing the things we're doing and how we're doing it. I think everything is going to be okay now. You set your preseason up where we have four home games. You play Duquesne which is the 1-AAA team and go into Cal Berkeley, then come to Texas and SMU.

I think the level of competition will definitely get us ready to play in the Big 12 Conference the way we do things. It's a long road because after the one week early we have off, we go straight through and don't have any other off-weeks, so we'd better be ready.

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