Under the radar.
Gary Patterson is all for it.
Closed practices. Stealth injury reports.
You almost got the impression Tuesday that the TCU coach was only half-pleased this week to see his Horned Frogs had cracked the Top 25.
Shhh. Don’t anyone tell Bob Stoops.
Now, 2005 — that was an under-the-radar Oklahoma game. Patterson’s Frogs, 5-6 the year before, opened the season in Norman, Okla., with a stunning 17-10 upset of the defending national runner-up Sooners.
But enough about that, he said Tuesday.
“I learned a valuable lesson after the Texas Tech game,” Patterson said.
He was referring to the Red Raiders’ visit to Fort Worth in 2006, two years after Mike Leach’s team had spanked TCU 70-35 in Lubbock. The Frogs won the rematch 12-3.
But instead of rightfully praising one of the top defensive efforts of the Patterson era, he surprised the postgame media with a rant.
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“People have been underselling our kids for years,” Patterson said that day. “All everybody wants to talk about is the Big 12. I get tired of being treated like a stepchild in this state and in this town, and our kids do, too.”
Patterson remembers what happened next.
“I go into that Little Sisters of the Poor deal, and then we go and get beat the next two weeks,” he said Tuesday, half smiling, half wincing at the memory.
“So between that and the things with June [Jones] and coach [Art] Briles, I think it’s just better to be quiet.”
His TCU defense is betraying his silence, however. Ornery again and allowing only two touchdowns in their three games, Frogs defenders appear to have grown accustomed to the Big 12 neighborhood they once were excluded from.
They will be tested mightily Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. But as Patterson has shown often in his 17 years at TCU, a mature and prepared defense can give most teams at least a chance.
“Our offense has got to be better on third downs,” he said. “When you get down there, you’ve got to score points. I saw where TCU has never scored over 20 points against Oklahoma, whether we’ve won [four times in 70 years] or not.
“They’re good. They’re a Bob Stoops team.”
The quest for more points is what led Patterson to do something he doesn’t like to do and change coaches after the 2013 season. He brought in Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to run a more up-tempo TCU offense.
Quarterback Trevone Boykin has responded, and the scoreboard has shown it. Patterson cited Boykin’s maturity, and the fact that the junior quarterback has realized the Big 12 is not just about passing yards, but winning.
“Yeah,” Patterson said of the new offense. “One of the reasons we did what we did was to make sure we have the opportunity to score enough points to win ballgames.”
With three seasons in the Big 12 and the same quarterback still healthy and finding the end zone, the Frogs may well have a chance against the No. 4-ranked Sooners.
But shhh — Patterson would rather you not talk about that.
The Frogs are healthy. With two weeks off in September, they are well rested. And they are playing Gary Patterson-style defense.
The jig is up!
Don’t tell Stoops.