TCU head coach Gary Patterson said Wednesday after practice that slowing the fast-paced offense of No. 11 Oklahoma on Saturday will be a matter of showing the Sooners a number of different looks.
“People want to go fast. If you’ll just play one front and one coverage, play base defense,” Patterson said. “We don’t do that.”
Instead, the Frogs elect to change who is bringing pressure and how they are playing pass coverage from play to play. Patterson said the team gets ready to do that during its “Wicked Wednesday” practices, where the team practices every blitz in its defense against a sample of the opponent’s plays.
The unpredictable scheme helps to slow down opposing offenses because opponents have to stop and evaluate what the defense is doing and adjust to it. Patterson noted that Southeastern Louisiana, Texas Tech and SMU all ran a hurry-up offense on their first few series against the Frogs, but were forced to slow their pace.
Being able to do that against the Sooners will be critical, because their offense is always moving at a fast tempo, the coach said. The defense has been preparing for that this week, running 110 plays during a 45-minute span of practice on Tuesday.
“Everything’s hurry-up,” he said of the Sooners’ attack. “It’s a sprint, baby.”
Early starts, night games:
Both of TCU’s home games this season have had 11 a.m. kickoffs. The Frogs are in for a change this weekend when they go on the road to play the Sooners at 6 p.m.
Patterson said that while he has no control over when the games are scheduled, he likes when the Frogs get to play at 2 p.m.
“Middle of the day, you get done by five,” he said. “You don’t have to get up too early and you don’t have to stay up so late.”
He said that he prefers the team’s schedule this week, which will include the three-hour drive to Norman.
“Playing a six o’clock, by the time the game’s over, it’s nine or ten,” he said. “By the time we shower it’s eleven, and we’re home at two in the morning. And then I’m back [in the office] at nine o’clock in the morning getting ready for Kansas [next week].”
Defensive end Devonte Fields, who missed Saturday’s game against SMU with a foot injury, returned to practice on a limited basis this week. Patterson said he could play “a little bit” this Saturday.
The coach said Fields’ injury is the same as what former TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga had last season. Maponga missed two games in 2012 because of the injury.
Offensive linemen James Dunbar is expected to play this week after leaving the SMU game with an ankle injury, as is cornerback Jason Verrett, who injured his shoulder against the Mustangs.
Safety Elisha Olabode, who sat out Saturday’s game with a groin injury that he has been dealing with since two-a-days, is “feeling the best he’s felt all year,” according to Patterson, and is likely to play as well.