Whether you believe him or not, just how he thinks about it is plenty impressive. Like, oh, yeah, no wonder he’s won 84 games his last eight seasons.
For one thing, his offense isn’t running a hurry-up scheme, so his defense isn’t facing quite as many snaps. TCU opponents snapped the ball 65.8 times per game last season. Yet, far more than that, he refuses to give in.
Three seasons ago at the Rose Bowl, the Horned Frogs beat a Wisconsin team that had scored 83, 48 and 70 points in its previous three games 21-19.
In 2004, Patterson reminded everyone that Leach’s Red Raiders turned a 21-0 deficit into a 70-35 victory against the Horned Frogs, yet the next time the two teams met, in 2006, TCU prevailed 12-3.
“The key is to manage the game,” he said.
That means two things.
One, it means putting in extra time in the spring and summer for the unique offensive teams on your schedule. Like this year, TCU opens against LSU, now the very rare traditional team that lines up offensively with two running backs and a tight end on the field.
The last five days of spring football for TCU, Patterson said, was about getting ready for LSU.
“I’m going to work on them a lot more so that our kids can adjust to it,” he said.
Second, it means coaching proactively. Patterson said TCU coaches defense the way most programs coach offense. While opposing offenses are trying to call the right plays, Patterson is trying to do the same thing defensively.
“What happens with the fast pace is (offenses) get people into playing their base defense and, when they can find you, it’s hard to get them in second-and-long because they’re winning the battles,” he said. “If they have 60 plays, I feel that I have to have 30 (better) calls (than the offense). I’m going to cut it down to where they only get 30 chances of having a big play (because) I have 30 calls better than your 30 calls. That’s the way I approach defense.”