Sept. 29, 2009
NEWS CONFERENCE VIDEO
FORT WORTH, Texas
-- TCU football coach Gary Patterson
held his weekly news conference Tuesday as the 10th-ranked Horned Frogs prepare to host SMU in the State Farm DFW Duel - Battle for the Iron Skillet.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Included below are excerpts from Patterson's meeting with the media.
Opening Statement ...
"It's a big weekend for us, playing at home against our cross-town rival. We have an opportunity to do some of the things we need to do before heading into conference play."
On how winning at Clemson last week compares to a victory at No. 5 Oklahoma in 2005, both preceding a game with SMU ...
"The only thing that is different from 2005 is that we weren't surprised when we won. The fans and everyone around here went into a shock and, all of a sudden, we became God-like for a week and our kids practiced that way. If you listen to the way our kids talk right now, I think they understand what is in front of us.
"In 2005, we went from being ranked 65th to going into the top 25 and back out of it within a week. Some of those guys that were redshirts then, like Nick Sanders and Rafael Priest, have the feeling of what that was like. I don't think we have the same kind of football team or the same mindset of what we are trying to do, but we will find out today when we get on the practice field. If Sunday's practice was any indication, they have dialed in already."
On what he learned about his team in the 14-10 win at Clemson ...
"The Clemson game gave us a lot of confidence, especially defensively. If you look at the rain, the fact they have a great record when playing at home, the environment and also the kinds of players they have, it can be intimidating. I've very proud with the way our kids kept fighting. They had an opportunity to quit when Clemson scored right before the half, but they came back and made stops at the end of the game. That is something we didn't do a year ago against Utah. I think there were a lot of positives out of that game, and I could see it in their faces afterwards in the locker room. We now need to move forward and see if we can take what we learned and use it."
On whether his team's top-10 national ranking will motivate opponents ...
"I think we are going to be circled the rest of the way. Whether it's SMU, Air Force, Colorado State, BYU or Utah - as long as you stay where you are at, it's going to be that way. We don't have any control over them. We just have to be able to handle what we do and play the best football game that we can. The type of work ethic this group had in the spring and summer, on the field and in the weight room, has really paid off because we haven't had many players get banged up. If you can get the same guys to play on Saturday that practiced together for the last five or six weeks, you're going to have a chance to be successful. With no off weeks, staying healthy is a big deal."
On SMU ...
"They play with a lot of confidence and are one of the best offensive groups skill-wise. They really run around and do a lot of good things. They threw for over 400 yards last week against a Pac-10 opponent (Washington State) on the road. They have forced 14 turnovers and lead the nation with 11 interceptions. They have been very opportunistic on what they do on defense, changing their scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4. They man blitz, zone blitz and do all of the different things to keep offenses off balance. All you have to do is turn on the film and see the caliber of team they have. They have a couple of guys who can run just as good as the back (C.J. Spiller) at Clemson. Aldrick Robinson is a track guy, and Emmanuel Sanders is leading the nation in catches with 11 a game. They have a transfer from Miami, Shawnbrey McNeal, that we offered a scholarship to.
"June Jones has done a good job of changing the mindset at SMU. I think that is the biggest thing. In Texas, there's no reason why you don't recruit or get good players. There's over 350 Division I scholarships a year in this state alone. They are going to get better every year."
On areas of his team that pleased him at Clemson ...
"The defensive line played great all day on a rainy field, and I thought our guys played hard all game. We didn't play smart a couple of times, but as long as we keep playing hard, we are going to have a chance.
"When you look at the game, Andy (Dalton) played real consistent. He had 326 yards of total offense. You have to give him a lot of credit. We didn't have an interception. With as much water that was coming out of the sky, you also have to give our backs and return men a lot of credit. That was a tough place to play and to get done what we needed to. There weren't a lot of things in our favor. The offensive line also played well.
"We did a good job of getting the ball out of our hands. Most drop-back teams are going to get the ball out in about three seconds. Right now, we are getting the ball off somewhere between 1.2 and 1.7 seconds, so it's virtually impossible to rush the passer and get a sack in that time.
"Our whole goal was to not allow them to get past the 30-yard line on a kickoff and no more than a 10-yard punt return, because they had three touchdowns on returns. We had a couple of punts that didn't go as far as we wanted, but they weren't returned. Our whole goal was to take No. 6 (Jacoby Ford) and No. 28 (Spiller) out of the ball game. Except for a couple of plays, we were able to do that."