It’s been 264 days since TCU played a football game that meant something, but this weekend the Frogs begin a new campaign against Virginia.
Coach Gary Patterson spoke Tuesday about the team’s upcoming opener in his weekly media conference.
“After watching (Virginia’s season opening loss to William & Mary,) I thought (Virginia) is very good on defense – they only gave up 50 or 60 yards in the second half,” Patterson said. “Offensively, they look very skilled at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions, and obviously they have four out of five offensive linemen coming back, so they’ve played a lot of football.”
Virginia was upset by William & Mary, an FCS team, in their opener 26-14. The opener also marked Virginia’s first attempt at rotating three quarterbacks.
Patterson said the team will focus not on the quarterbacks individually, but rather on stopping the offense as a whole.
“Each one (of the quarterbacks) has a strength, and I don’t think your kids can worry about it and we have to stop what they do,” Patterson said. “We’re just going to try to stop Virginia…They go in the hurry up. They’ll get the ball off fast, and we’ve got to work on getting lined up.”
Virginia’s newly installed spread offense struggled mightily in its season opener, turning the ball over seven times. They were out gained 309-269 in total offense by the William & Mary Tribe. However, the Cavaliers’ three quarterbacks accounted for 222 of those yards, running for 85.
Defensive end Jerry Hughes said the defensive line is prepared to keep the quarterbacks in front of them.
“For the most part, you’ve got to keep those guys contained,” Hughes said. “Those two quarterbacks (Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell) are very mobile and very fast, so we just got to keep them in that pocket.”
Patterson said playing an East Coast team at home will be a difficult way to start the year from an intensity standpoint.
“It’s always hard to go into someone else’s house. The biggest thing we have is playing with that emotion needed to win,” Patterson said. “We have to find a way to hate somebody for three hours. It’s a lot easier to do that when you are playing other Texas kids, because there is an emotional factor there. For this week, we have to find a reason to play at a high tempo on the road and be ready to go.”
Quarterback Andy Dalton said the team will not have a problem coming out motivated.
“It’s the first game for us, so that’s motivation in itself,” Dalton said. “Virginia is a great team no matter how they played (against William & Mary.) Having seven turnovers, it’s kinda hard to win… You just have to keep harping on it, that they’re a great team. They just didn’t play their best game that day.”
The Frogs come in to the season with only 14 seniors on the roster, and Patterson said four of those will be starters on offense and four will be starters on defense. Because the team is so young, Patterson said, he is glad he had an extra week to prepare for Virginia.
“We won’t be as good a football team against Virginia as we’re going to be at the end of the football season is we stay healthy,” Patterson said.
Some Frogs will begin contributing in their first game at TCU. Patterson said two to four freshmen will play Saturday.
“There’s a couple of guys who came in the spring that graduated (high school) early that will play that I don’t consider freshmen,” Patterson said. “They had two cycles of offseason lifting, went through spring ball, went through a whole cycle in the summertime and now they’re going through fall ball-I consider them like a redshirt freshman.”
Patterson also said redshirt freshman Ed Wesley would start at tailback.
The Frogs will take the field in Charlottesville, Va., for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and 88.7 KTCU.