Having an open week before playing Baylor Nov. 30 may help TCU be more prepared when the Bears come to Fort Worth, head coach Gary Patterson said Wednesday.
“They run a lot of different plays,” he said. “And they’re fast. So I think it helps your kids to see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, but you’ve still got to play them. It’s still about playing on Saturday.”
Patterson’s teams generally perform well when given an extra week to prepare. The Horned Frogs have won eight straight games following an open date. Their last game following an open week was a 48-17 victory over SMU earlier this season.
The extra preparation will be necessary before facing the fast-paced, high-scoring Baylor offense. The Bears lead the country in both points (61.2) and yards (684.8) per game.
The Bears’ offense has flourished since Art Briles became their head coach in 2008. Patterson said that is due to how Briles has been able to recruit fast, athletic players to play in his system.
The difference for the Bears in 2013 is the emergence of their defense, which ranks seventh in the country in scoring, allowing 17.4 points per game. Patterson said he has been surprised by Baylor’s defensive success this season, and that it has him rethinking his approach with his own team.
“I’ve always felt that you couldn’t play defense in those types of offenses where they throw the ball a lot more,” Patterson said. “And they’ve proven all of us wrong when it comes to that. It gives me a [thought about if we] should be one of those groups that go to where we throw the ball more.”
The Horned Frog offense has improved as of late with the return of quarterback Casey Pachall and the emergence of Trevone Boykin as a receiver and red zone quarterback. The Frogs have still struggled to get wins, however, and Patterson said the play of the offensive line has to improve for TCU to move the ball well against the Bears.
“You’ve got to be able to be better up front, protection-wise, and be able to drive people [off the line of scrimmage] running the football to be good on offense,” he said. “That’s where it has to start. It doesn’t matter what kind of skill players you’ve got.”
Close games show character:
TCU has managed to keep most of its contests close despite the offensive difficulties. Of the Frogs’ seven losses, five have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
The Frogs have had the most success offensively late in games when there has been more pressure. TCU has outscored its opponents 92-67 in the fourth quarter this season.
Patterson said that while the team needs to do a better job of finishing, the fact that the Frogs have fought back late in games shows character.
“You don’t want to give them excuses. We’ve had our opportunities. You’ve got to go make the plays,” he said. “But you watch how they played the last two weeks against Iowa State and against Kansas State, how could you not think that they have character and have heart? A lot of teams have quit already, and these guys kept fighting back.”