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July 23, 2012
THE MODERATOR:¬† We're ready to start with TCU.¬† Coach Patterson has joined us up on the stage.¬† He's going to make an opening comment or two.
Coach Patterson, welcome.
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Thank you.¬† On behalf of TCU, my players sitting in the back, we're excited about our first inaugural year in the Big 12.¬† Obviously it's been a long journey for us.¬† We've been through a lot of different conferences along our way.
And, for us, the way we approach things, we've always approached things, whether it's been as a university or as a football program, it's been about one day at a time and making sure we build a foundation that would last.
And so my biggest as a head football coach is to make the Big 12 proud of inviting us into the league and make sure we have a product on the field, which is what I'm in control of.
Our goal has always been to win a conference championship no matter what, if you look in our pyramid, no matter what our league is, and that's going to be our strive in this league to do so also, and also someday play for a national championship.
When I was‑‑ in 2004, which is the only year we didn't go to a Bowl game, a lot of people talked about‑‑ I was still telling them we wanted to play in a BCS game.¬† They said:¬† We love this guy's passion, but we think he's crazy.¬† And now we've played in two.
So for us as a program, on behalf of my players, I wanted to tell you thank you for helping us get to this point because it's taken a lot of different people between alumni, they raised the money and given us the kind of facilities we have, to a university that supported us, to the players and the high school coaches that have helped us get to where we are, because really great players make great coaches.
So for us, on behalf of our staff, our chancellor, our Board of Trustees, I wanted to say thanks.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions?
Q.¬† Gary, as you've mentioned, you guys have been in a lot of different conferences and the goal has always been the same.¬† But do you feel like now joining the Big 12, is there more of a sense of stability?¬† Do you feel like you've found your home now?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Well, I would say this to you, and I've kind of used this line, I think Fort Worth, before we play a ball game, wins.¬† I think before we play a ballgame, TCU wins.¬† Financially, credibility‑wise, Gary Patterson's job got harder.
That's okay.¬† If you look at what we've had to accomplish and the facilities, we were walking a mile and a half to practice 15years ago when L.T. was our starting running back.¬† And now our practice fields are right outside.¬† So there's a lot of things that stand in front of us but I would say as a university and as a group totally that we do feel like that we're a little bit more stable in what we're doing.
Q.¬† You talked this spring about how you had every Big 12 game from the last couple of years on your laptop.¬† Having watched those‑‑
COACH PATTERSON:¬† It passed.
Q.¬† Anything that stuck out to you that maybe you didn't necessarily know?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† No, because most‑‑ we've been recruiting against the Big 12 for the last seven or eight years.¬† And we always felt like if we could get a few of those guys that could play at that level that we could win the Mountain West or whatever conference we were part of.¬† And we've won more of those battles here in the three or four years.¬† So we know a lot about the players.
Most of those teams we're talking about have Texas players.¬† We recruited them.¬† We had them in camp.¬† We understand the kind of players they have.¬† It's no different.
That's the one great thing about coming back in the Big 12 for us is that when you do step on the field, you're stepping on the field that you knew all kids, they're going to know guys they played against in high school.
There's a natural challenge to all of this.¬† And after you leave the field‑‑ you know, you've heard me say this a lot, and I truly believe it, for three hours you've got to hate each other.¬† It's a violent game, go get after each other.
But afterwards I firmly believe it's about life and how do you help everybody else and it's about friendships and relationships.¬† I keep talking to alumni all the time now coming back into the Big 12 of the people they played against from Baylor and Texas Tech and Texas, if you go down the list of alumni that talk about their friends and how they tailgate together.¬† Now they're going to get a chance every year to go whether it's at their place or ours, they're going to get a chance to spend a whole day with them or maybe a couple of days.
So besides what I need to get done and my team needs to get done, I think everybody else wins.
Q.¬† In the past, you guys used this as a rallying cry when you would play a Big 12 team.¬† You'd say this is our chance to play against the big guys.¬† You said that playing Baylor, playing other teams like that in the past.¬† How is that going to change playing them all the time, do you think?¬† Just the mentality of your program?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† You're still playing the same football team.¬† It doesn't matter what logo's on your jersey.
The thing for us is to understand‑‑ as a head coach, just being honest with you, I'm saying everything we did up to this point, if I said, well, now we're in the big time, then what I'm saying the Rose Bowl game didn't count, that playing in the Fiesta Bowl didn't count, winning all the ball games‑‑ I mean, this senior class is 36‑3.¬† We all talk about wins, but the bottom line to it is their three losses are to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl to Baylor by two points and SMU in overtime, two rivalry games.
So they understand how to win.¬† How does that equivocate and how does it go forward?¬† We don't know.¬† We'll have to go prove it just like we have to go prove it every year.¬† But I'm not‑‑ you sit in a situation where you're trying to move a program and a university forward as a football program, how do you do that and give them confidence?¬† I read what you all write, and the key to it is can they do it on a day‑to‑day basis.¬† Well, we're going to find out.
But I don't think it's a quick race.¬† I don't think it's one of those situations where we're going to define TCU on what happens in 2012.
Do we want to win the conference championship?¬† Yes, we do.¬† Every time every head coach is going to sit up here should be able to say the same thing.¬† And that's what your goal is.¬† Do we want to play some day for a national championship?¬† Yes, we do.
Will it happen?¬† We're going to find out.¬† But I think for us being in the Big 12 will help us recruiting‑wise.¬† It's already doing that.¬† We've had kids that we've recruited but we couldn't get them on campus now come on campus.
Now looking, seeing what kind of new locker room we have, they see the new indoor, they see the new stadium, they see the kind of crowds we have.¬† We're always sold out.¬† How is that going to affect us over the next three to fiveyears, I think that's important.¬† But I think winning is the number one thing.¬† That's what I've been telling my people since February.¬† When you're sitting on the side of the mountain, you don't rest.
Everything we've done to this point is great.¬† But now the real work starts.¬† Now we're climbing.¬† It's another challenge.¬† It's another way we've got to keep climbing the mountain.¬† The higher you get on a mountain, the thinner the air, the harder it is.
So for us we're going to keep doing that.¬† Starting on August5th we're going to come into camp and do the same thing.¬† It's going to be the same first 11 practices as it's been for the last 12years, because my goal and my job is to produce the best TCU football team I possibly can.¬† That's the only thing I have control over.¬† And then we're going to see how that stacks up to everybody else in a nonleague schedule.
We've got Virginia coming to town.¬† That was a Bowl team.¬† You have SMU, which it's always a Super Bowl.¬† They beat us in overtime a year ago.¬† You've got to go to Kansas, which will be probably 2‑0 with their nonconference, with the new head coach.¬† Every challenge along the way, sports‑‑ I write a whole‑‑ I'm not‑‑ you don't have to ask the question‑‑ write a whole paragraph how I think‑‑ a whole sheet of how I think the season needs to go.¬† I write it in the summertime after I study.¬† We're going on the road, coming home, and we're going to see if we can follow that roadmap.
Q.¬† You kind of answered my question, which was going to be about the reception you're getting from recruits now that you're in the new league.¬† But let me ask you, does the new league change your recruiting tactics at all about the kind of players you go after or anything?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† You know, everything I've actually backed up, I felt the last couple of years, with the early commitment stuff, I felt we got‑‑ had a couple of guys come in that maybe it was about getting a great private school education, maybe it wasn't about winning a national championship.
And so if you've noticed in our commitment deal up until lately in the last three, four weeks, I think we only had three or four commitments.¬† I've backed up making sure the guys we do commit to TCU, the old saying it's not the guys that lose that get you beat; it's the one that you take that can play.
So for me‑‑ I'm very excited about this freshman class that just came in.¬† And obviously they're freshmen.¬† You hear me use the term "paper tigers."¬† So I don't know what they're like, but as far as character, credibility, work ethic, everything, what they've done so far this summer, they're going to make us a better football team.
So we'll move forward.¬† But probably if anything I backed up a little bit as far as making sure that I've been a little bit more patient as far as taking a commitment and/or offering one.
Q.¬† Obviously football's a game of adjustments.¬† Has there been any adjustment in the off‑season preparation or have you noticed a difference in your team's preparation as you go to the Big 12 competition?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Well, not really.¬† I think our kids are excited.¬† I tell you what's really helped us, moving into our new weight room, because we moved from about 8,000square feet to a 20,000‑square‑foot facility.¬† What it's done‑‑ I've just kind of watched the kids walk through the office.¬† I think Coach Sommer has done an unbelievable job.¬† Probably since the beginning of May when we ended school to right now, upper body, shoulders, everything, because we've been able to work in more individual groups out there, has been unbelievable.
They look like a whole different football team right now than I thought we ended in May. ¬†And so I'm kind of excited myself to see how they approach two‑a‑days, because we've always been a group that's kind of attacked it.
We haven't shied away even in the Texas heat.¬† We don't go in the mornings.¬† We go 4:00 to 6:00 because that's when you're going to have to play.¬† We run in the afternoons.
And so it's going to be kind of interesting to see how what our mental state is and how we want to attack it.
This year's a little bit different two‑a‑day‑wise, because we don't play the first weekend of the season.¬† We only have two weeks of two‑a‑days.¬† And so then we start school and we have three weeks and one‑a‑days, which really allows us to get our legs back.
The negative is you don't play the first ballgame of the season.¬† The positive is that you get a chance to grow up the younger football team a little bit longer.
Q.¬† I wonder, you talked about your schedule, if you could just talk about getting that first week off and how the season comes backloaded with the three tough games at the end.
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Everybody keeps talking about all the games tough at the end.¬† I've always approached it, I think starting from the beginning, obviously if you're going to struggle with the one AA school coming in your place and you got a chance to open a new stadium, break a record, then you're going to probably struggle the rest of the year.
I thinkstarting even with Kansas, I think all the way through it, each one of those games poses a problem and we should approach it like that.¬† We've always been a very workman‑like group when it comes to ball games like that.
I tell people who give me a bad time talking about winning by one point, but really that's‑‑ whether it's about life or about football, it's about the same thing.
Because people said:¬† You're not going to be playing New Mexico anymore.¬† You're not going to be playing Vegas anymore.¬† Yeah, but those were 50‑point ball games.¬† What's reality?¬† Because all you have to do is win by one point to get where you need to get to.
Last year was a great example of kind of the mental toughness that our group had.¬† All the games we had to win, all the Bowl teams in our conference were all on the road.
The Mountain West commissioners and presidents changed the ballgame from Boise, from Fort Worth to Boise, because we were only going to play them once.¬† You had to go to San Diego State.¬† You had to go to Air Force.
You could talk to Coach Stoops about playing Air Force and what's that like because you're used to playing‑‑ getting ready for a regular conventional offense and then getting ready for the triple.
So along the way all of them present problems.¬† And for us we're going to‑‑ it's going to be‑‑ it's a lot of work, but I think one of the things is everybody's kind of excited about it, because kids that come from the state of Texas, they grew up being told they're supposed to play in big games.
And there's a lot of kids from Texas playing on a lot of Big 12 schools that have played in a lot of big games, and there's a lot of good head football coaches in this league.
We've just gotta do what we've gotta do.
Q.¬† Gary, over the last couple of years, while the Big 12 was going through its uncertainty, your school, just being right down the road, had kind of a front row seat to everything that was going on.¬† What were your observations about that time, and at what point did you think TCU might be able to take advantage of this?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Well, number one, maybe it's just because where I grew up, I grew up in the Big Eight, growing up in Kansas and watching everything, I never felt that the Big 12 was ever not secure, even before TCU came in.¬† I think you had some unbelievable universities, unbelievable programs on a lot of levels, not just football, but a lot of different athletic programs that have positives.
And so like I began with my opening statement, what we want to do is we want to add to it.¬† We want to make sure that when we're done with our journey at TCU, whether I'm the head coach or before‑‑ because as a head coach all you want to do is leave a place better than you had it when you got there.
And I think that we're already going that direction.¬† But we're not done yet.¬† And I'm excited.¬† I think that our people‑‑ and I've said this in a couple of different articles, we need to make sure that everybody understands.¬† I think TCU has a chance and Fort Worth has a chance to be the best destination city in the Big 12.¬† You get a chance, you can come in on a Wednesday, watch the Rangers 15minutes down the road, go play golf, go to dinner, go to the Galleria, come over here, go to the Stockyards, watch the TCU game and then watch the Cowboys on Sunday, and then later in the year watch the Stars and the Mavericks.¬† If you're a sports fanatic, you can make a week of it.
So we need to make sure has a city and as a university we treat it as such.¬† Three hours on a Saturday or Friday or whenever we play, or a Thursday, we've gotta go do what we have to do.¬† But outside of that it needs to be about relationship and make the people in the Big 12 glad that they invited us.
As a team, how we play on the field, how we carry ourselves and how our fans carry themselves off the field.
Q.¬† Coach, the 2005 win over Oklahoma, how often do you think about that?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Are you trying to make Coach Stoops mad at me again (laughter)?
Q.¬† What did that game do in terms of propelling your program to this point, did that have anything to do with it, and also how often do you think about that now that you're a member of that conference?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Number one, it was a big learning situation.¬† If you remember 2004 was the only‑‑ we didn't get one of these ranks.¬† We've had 13 Bowl rings in 14years.
And so we went through an off season in spring, it was I don't care, I'm going to find out who really wants to play.¬† So coming into the Oklahoma game, excluding Oklahoma, just what was TCU going to be like?¬† How are we going to answer the call in what kind of program are we going to be moving forward?
And so that was only going to be my fourth year as a head football coach.¬† Whether it was going to be my trademark how you're going to handle adversity.¬† We did it.¬† But we didn't learn how to be a winner, because we win that ballgame.
We come back and the only loss in the season we lose the next week at SMU.¬† And then we go on in 2005, which is the first year in the Mountain West conference, we beat Utah in overtime at our place on a Thursday night, then we have to go to BYU, the two top teams in the Mountain West, and win there 51‑50.¬† So there was a lot of things going on.
But people, you look back, you have to learn from history, but the bottom line to it is you can't look back too long.¬† And so for me, how we move forward, what's it going to be like and what's this team going to be like, how are we going to handle ourselves doing it.
Q.¬† Gary, Penn State, what's happened over the last several months, has that given you or your staff or your department, whoever‑‑ what have you done in the wake of that in terms of just getting together and saying:¬† Listen, here's what we need to do differently, here's how we need to look at things?¬† Has it made you do anything differently in the way you guys conduct your business?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† I don't think things have been the same since it happened.¬† But I would probably follow what Coach Saban talked about.¬† Obviously it's tragic on a lot of levels, a lot of different people.¬† But for me I would really follow what Coach Saban said, is that I'm more interested in how are we going to find an answer to the problem.¬† Because that problem is not just at Penn State.¬† We've got to find the problem.¬† That's a world problem.
That's not just a Penn State problem.¬† So for me how do we handle that problem‑‑ because I'm in the business about kids.¬† So that's why I have my foundation, that's why we give back to Fort Worth.¬† Always trying to help kids.
And that's a hard question for you to ask any college football coach that's been in it a long time, because it's your life.¬† I'm going to try to find an answer.
Q.¬† Can you talk about your defensive end Stansly Maponga?¬† He's had a successful career, First Team All‑Mountain West last year, he was voted Preseason All‑Big 12.¬† What are your thoughts on him as a player and how he'll transition into the Big 12 now that you know it's a better athletic conference than the Mountain West was?
COACH PATTERSON:¬† Number one, since he's in the back of the room, I want him to live up to the expectation.¬† That's the first thing I'd want him to do.¬† But for as a group‑‑ and we've said all the time:¬† It's not what people say in August; it's what you say in November.
So we're going to start‑‑ I hope he has a great season along with the four guys that came, because for us to be what we need to be, we have to have some guys step up.¬† We graduated a class last year that won 47 ball games.
You've got a chance‑‑ this group here has a chance to win that many ball games starting out, starting at 36‑3, and it's something that we talk about all the time.
You've got to give small goals.¬† Has to be individual goals as groups, along with big groups, big goals as far as teams are concerned.¬† But one of the obvious questions, one of the things, comments we've always tried to make sure that we answer is what kind of football season are you going to give the senior class.
And one of the things that's going to happen when we have an opportunity to break Dutch Meyer's record as a university, as a football program, is that I'm going to do a commemorative trading card deal where it has every senior class in it since we started back in 2001.
Head coaches get too much credit.¬† Assistant coaches, my staff, most of those guys have been with me for 12years.¬† We've had a little bit of changeover.¬† But we've had a lot of different faces, different names of players that have come through there, graduated, that have played a part.
And I always tell them this class helped build this.¬† This class helped get the weight room in place.¬† This class helped get the indoor in place.¬† These couple of classes got the stadium in place.
It's not just about us.¬† And so from a football perspective, those guys understand you gotta love to play the game.¬† You gotta love to play at a high level if you want to win.¬† That's the question that all of you‑‑ not only you, but me, we're all‑‑ that's what we're looking for.¬† How is TCU going to handle that high a level from a week‑to‑week basis.¬† And I think we have the potential to do that.
Where we do it that's a hard answer for everybody not just TCU, everybody.¬† If you look at the league, there have been ups and downs by everybody but the bottom line to it is you gotta come ready for it.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Thank you.
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