Since the Horned Frogs won the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, TCU football has questions to answer.
With the loss of half his starters from the 2010-11 season, head coach Gary Patterson said after one spring practice in March that the team lacks leadership on the field. He’s also said he will not ask projected sophomore starting quarterback Casey Pachall to fill the shoes of former Frog Andy Dalton, just as he didn’t ask Dalton to fill the shoes of his predecessor, Tye Gunn.
Patterson’s new motto could answer any questions regarding his 2011 squad: Do it now.
With spring practices now over, Patterson said he will not wait on his squad to grow up.
“‘Do it now’ — that’s our motto, and it’ll be on top of the pyramid,” Patterson said. “Everybody thinks we need to have a year to grow up, but no. Our goal is to come out and win a lot of ballgames now.”
After concluding the final spring practice Thursday at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Patterson’s confidence comes in part from the progression he has seen from his young players over the last 15 practices.
“We got better,” he said. “We don’t have time to wait until the end of the year to become the kind of team we want to become. That’s what we coached all spring, to grow our younger guys up. And I think we did that.”
Going forward, Patterson said the plan was pretty simple, but the rest of the offseason improvement will be up to the players. Workouts and running will resume Monday, and Patterson said he was excited to see where this bunch can take itself before the Sept. 3 season opener at Baylor.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Patterson said. “I’m really excited to see how this team does. Because in the past years, we’ve made giant strides from May to August.”
As far as the incoming freshmen go, Patterson is not allowed to coach any of the new recruits per NCAA rules, but he said he is already developing relationships with some of them.
Whether it’s a visit to the office or meeting for lunch, this year’s recruiting class, which was ranked as the best in school history, is quickly learning what this program is all about.
“I can’t have meetings, but they can come up to the office and say hello,” Patterson said. “I will be able to tell once we start having meetings with the new group.”
Patterson reiterated his confidence in his team before the day was over.
“For us to be who we want to be, somebody will have to grow up,” Patterson said. “That’s the way it always is. You’ve got to find your best 11 on both sides of the ball. Hopefully we can pull it off one more time. Our goal is to outwork the opponent, out-condition the opponent and out-prepare the opponent.”
TCU 2011 Football Schedule
The Mountain West Conference announced TCU’s kickoff times and television schedule on Thursday.
Sept. 3 – at Baylor, time TBA, television TBA
Sept. 10 – at Air Force*, 2:30 or 6:30 p.m., Versus
Sept. 17 – vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 1 p.m., The Mtn.
Sept. 24 – vs. Portland State, 6 p.m., not televised
Sept. 30 – vs. SMU, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Oct. 8 – at San Diego State*, 9:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Oct. 22 – vs. New Mexico*, 1 p.m., The Mtn.
Oct. 28 – vs. BYU^, 7 p.m., ESPN
Nov. 5 – at Wyoming*, 1 p.m., The Mtn.
Nov. 12 – at Boise State*, 2:30 p.m., Versus
Nov. 19 – vs. Colorado State*, 2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Dec. 3 – vs. UNLV*, 1:30 p.m. Versus
*denotes a MWC game
^game to be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington