Spring practice: Patterson impressed with the defense

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The TCU football team returned to the practice field Tuesday afternoon. The Horned Frogs were off last week for spring break and will wrap up spring ball this week with practices on Thursday and Saturday. Here's a few nuggets from Tuesday's practice:

Patterson impressed with defense

Gary Patterson hasn't gone easy on his defense this spring, but the Frogs' head coach was impressed Tuesday with the unit's ability to learn and execute schemes, something it's struggled with at times this spring.

"Defensively, I thought there was a lot more retention," Patterson said. 

Part of that, Patterson said, is due to the Frogs' new practice schedule. TCU has practiced three days a week for the past month, typically practicing on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Patterson said the extra time in between practices has given the Frogs more time to recover and rest as well as soak in information.

"We went to every other day practices this spring and we really think it's helped us in our knowledge with our younger team," Patterson said.

Last week's break helped, too, Patterson said. 

"For some of those players, this break has been great," Patterson said. "It kind of cleared their minds and they kind of got where they were getting tired." 

Patterson said his younger players, especially those on defense, can't settle for simply learning a new scheme or assignment -- they have to go further.

"You got to own it," Patterson said. "You just can't know it. So they can fix it. We're in the process of getting that done."

Frogs come back safely

One of the concerns Patterson expressed before the team split for spring break was getting all his players back safely. 

No worries, there. Patterson said all his players made it back to campus without any issues, the lone exception being offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje, who had a plane ticket problem and is currently stuck in Salt Lake City. 

Ironically, Fabuluje's misfortune might have turned out to benefit the Frogs. Backup center Eric Tausch was able to work out at left tackle Tuesday in place of Fabuluje. The junior impressed Patterson, enough so that the head coach went as far as to say Tausch could slip into a sixth starter role on the offensive line. Patterson said having a player like that who can play multiple positions on the line is key.

No rest for the weary

While his players were enjoying spring break, Patterson kept working, sifting through game tape of the Frogs opponents for this fall. Patterson said he focused on a few teams TCU will be unfamiliar with next season, breaking down tape of Kansas State, Virginia and West Virginia.

The 12-year-veteran wouldn't have it any other way. If he did, then he, and his team, would be falling behind.

"I didn't need it," Patterson said. "It's a busy time. There's no down time right now. Everybody's on a timeline. I sleep well at night."

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