Around the Horned With Brian Estridge - Oct. 23
Oct. 26, 2004
Tonight as we welcome our old rivals from the Southwest Conference, the Houston Cougars, to Amon Carter Stadium, I couldn't help but reminiscing a little about the last seven seasons in Fort Worth.
No, not because I am worried that the great run is coming to an end. I'm reminiscing because I have heard people proclaiming just that and I can't disagree more. You have heard them too, the Frog fan who is ready to put a fork in this season, this team, these players and coaches. What in the world are they thinking?
So soon we forget the job that all involved in the program have done in the last few years. Have we forgotten the one-win season of 1997? Have we forgotten the lack of respect shown to us by USC? Have we forgotten the break-up of the old Western Athletic Conference? Those were negatives that I could see one putting behind them. I have no problem if you don't want to use those as references because I try to put negative experiences behind me as well.
It's the good times that we have all had together that we can't lose sight of. The next time that a Frog fan comes up to you to explain his or her theory on why the TCU sky is falling, remind them of those good times. Point out the big wins that we have highlighted here before, the Heisman Trophy campaign for LT, the national attention during the BCS run of last year, the numerous TV appearances that have come our way, and finally the invitation from the Mountain West Conference.
Times have changed around here in the last seven years, and guess what? They'll continue to change. Most of it will be for the better, but on occasion there may be a speed bump along the way. The Frogs are experiencing one of those right now. One that could be explained, if looking for an excuse.
One of the things I admire most about Gary Patterson is his refusal to make excuses. Excuse for losses, play calling or individual play never come from this head coach. He doesn't fret over things he can't control, he works doubly hard to make sure they don't happen again, and that is what he is doing right now. You and I may not be so determined.
We may have folded by this point in the season and begun to use the excuse of the transition year. If that is to be the case, we need to make sure we have the argument down. I don't mean a transition from last year's 11-win team to a new year; I am not even using the excuse of the final year in Conference USA. No, this transition goes back to 2001 and 2002. This has to do with the recruiting classes between the old regime and the new one led by Coach Patterson.
You'll remember that Coach P worked quickly to put together a coaching staff with terrific Texas ties and an amazing recruiting work ethic. Add to that the unbelievable amount of hours that Coach himself put in, and he salvaged that 2001 recruiting class, albeit with a few key defections. This happens in every coaching change, even in ones that went as smoothly as this one did.
The rough start to the 2001 season didn't allow for a lot of momentum until late in the recruiting season. Unfortunately, those transition years have finally caught up with this team. Those two classes are important pieces to this team. And although Gary wouldn't trade any of the players from those classes, he would have liked to have gotten a few more elite playmakers during those two seasons. Playmakers like we have seen this staff pick up in the last couple of years.
Don't worry, you won't hear any of the above reasons as excuses from this team, but I thought I'd pass it along in case you do hear from one of those "sky is falling" kind of fans. Maybe you can start with all of the good times we've had in the seven years, explain the speed bump, and give them some of the same hope that Coach Patterson and you and I have for the future.
From the streets and avenues of North Texas to the information superhighway, I'm Brian Estridge. We'll see you on the radio.