With a Thanksgiving prime-time game against No. 15 Texas coming up, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said he and his team were ready for a holiday game, saying “everyone has a sacrifice” when it comes to playing on a popular holiday.
“Myself, my players, the administrators and the fans — they all make a sacrifice to be a part of something. It’s something as a team and fanbase we have to realize being in this league and playing this type of program.”
Here are some other highlights and quotes from Patterson’s weekly press conference:
Road goes through Austin and Norman
Patterson said he had great respect for the program built by Mack Brown, and also said that excellence in the Big 12 was based in Brown’s program.
“If you want to win the Big 12 title, you have to go through Austin or Norman,” Patterson said. “If you want to be consistent, you have to find a formula to beat those two. Anyone who argues against that needs to go the doctor, because they’re not right.”
Patterson compared preparing for the two teams to other top teams from previous conferences.
“When we were in the Mountain West Conference, it was always about how you defeat Utah and BYU,” he said. “Recruiting, schematics, it all revolved around that. In the C-USA, it was Louisville and Southern Mississippi. If you set yourself up to beat those two teams, you can defeat all of them.”
Boykin ready to play after bye week
Patterson said he was grateful for the bye week because he was able to have quarterback Trevone Boykin rest. Patterson said Boykin wouldn’t have been able to play last Saturday, following a shoulder injury against Kansas State.
Patterson said the bye week made Boykin “a lot healthier” and said Boykin will play Thursday against Texas.
As far as the rest of the team goes, Patterson spoke in generalities, saying his team was rested up and he expected a healthier team for Thursday’s game.
Offensive line “gaining speed”
Patterson said his practices this week have been based on game-day strategies, particularly for improving the offensive line.
“I felt like our offense needed some speed from our 1-defense and 2-defense,” Patterson said, referring to his first and second team defenses. “We struggled against Kansas State and we needed some practice.”
Offensive lineman Eric Tausch said the offense had improved during the bye week, noting the improvements in timing and synching.
“We got better looks and worked more on getting up to speed for games,” he said. “Texas is known to blitz, so we need to make holes.”
Playing on Thanksgiving
Patterson said the UT game would bring a number of challenges, particularly how Texas is still technically in the running for a share of the Big 12 title. If Texas wins out, it will share the conference title with Oklahoma.
National exposure on a big day will also bring pressure, Patterson said.
“Even back to when I was a kid, it was UT and Texas A&M on Thanksgiving,” he said. “It’s a staple.”
The history and tradition leading up to the game may create the biggest crowd TCU will see this season, Patterson said.
With the environment of a nationally-broadcast game, players are looking forward to the game as well.
Nose tackle Chucky Hunter said the attention and exposure will fulfill a “lifelong dream.”
Despite the excitement, players said coaches are keeping them focused by preaching a season-long mantra — it’s the “next game on the schedule.”
“It’s another chance to get another win,” Hunter said. “We’re just ready to play football.”