“It’s almost here,” head football coach Gary Patterson exclaimed, in reference to the upcoming game with Oklahoma.Patterson has a different outlook on this game from what he had for last year’s season opener against Northwestern.
“Last year our players didn’t know much about themselves,” Patterson said. “They were still in the process of learning and figuring themselves out. This year it’s a lot different — our starters out there are experienced.”
Senior quarterback Tye Gunn said he knows Oklahoma’s defensive line will come out fired up.
“They have a very athletic front seven,” Gunn said. “Their speed is amazing. We’re going to have to run the ball a lot.”
Patterson said the Horned Frogs do not know much about the Oklahoma team, but they do know one certain player they must focus on: sophomore running back Adrian Peterson.
“He’s a great player,” Patterson said. “We will have to shadow him the entire game.”
Another player on TCU’s scouting report is junior Paul Thompson, Oklahoma’s starting quarterback.
“I don’t know much about him,” Patterson said. “We know he’s athletic and likes to run. I hear they have been working on the option with him.”
Patterson said the kicking game will be a question mark for both teams heading into Saturday’s contest.
“Field position will be key,” Patterson said. “We have a tight punting race, but (TCU’s) Brian Cortney will be the first punter you see out there.
“Peter LoCoco is probably the only kicker you will see out there.”
Health and experience are key factors going into the game for TCU, Patterson said.
“We have a senior in Tye Gunn at quarterback, the players are all feeling good and, unlike last year’s game with Texas Tech, they realize this is just one game, Patterson said.
Patterson stressed the importance of patience by his team.
“We have to be patient and capitalize on their mistakes,” Patterson said.
A key player the team said it is depending on to combat Oklahoma’s stingy defense is junior wide receiver Cory Rodgers.
“We’re expecting a lot from Cory,” senior cornerback Drew Coleman said. “With Reggie Harrell gone, he realizes the defenses will be focused on him. He’s worked hard in the off-season and improved his quickness.”
Gunn vouched for his receiver, too.
“We’ve played a lot of football games together,” Gunn said. “The more game situations we’re involved in the more confident I get with him.”
Patterson said everyone’s confidence on the team is growing. The players, specifically the defense, are more experienced, healthier and deeper.
Patterson said he is feeling really good about his team, including the younger players.
“The freshmen are all very conditioned,” Patterson said. “They have been here all summer and are used to how we do things around here.”
The freshmen will be thrust right into an anticipated raucous Oklahoma crowd. The Sooners are 36-1 at home under head coach Bob Stoops. Coleman said he expects the crowd to be a factor in the game, but only to an extent.
“The atmosphere won’t be a problem for the older guys on the team,” Coleman said, “but it may take our younger players a little time to get used to.”
Gunn said he sees the crowd playing a factor, too.
“The crowd will probably help motivate, as well as intimidate a little bit,” Gunn said. “Hopefully it will be more of a motivation factor, though.”
Patterson quickly erases any thoughts of being intimidated by Stoops’ one-loss home record.
“I wouldn’t mind being No. 2,” Patterson said. “We’re not going down there just to play well. We’re going to win.