TCU Football Roundtable Part III: Is Gary Patterson The Nation’s Best Coach?


Thank you for stopping by to read Part 3 of our TCU football roundtable. Our special guests Will Blume from and DBTCU and sNK from Spit Blood TCU have stopped by for one more go around with us.

If you missed part one of the roundtable about expectations for Pachall and what the future holds for TCU football, you can view that here. Part 2 where we concentrated mainly on the secondary and defense is also available here.

So let’s get started with the final four questions that we put to our panelists.

7. The national media gives a lot of attention to the likes of Nick Saban, Mack Brown, Frank Beamer, Les Miles, and others, but where does Gary Patterson stand among the best head coaches in the country?

Alex Apple (SportDFW): Is this question serious? Lane Kiffin is blowing away all the other chum around the country. I’m joking!! Comparing coaches can be very tough because each job at each university is so unique and while one coach may be good at TCU, they may not be good at Georgia or Tennessee. With that being said, I think I do know what Gary Patterson is the best at. That is finding players that fit into his system that he knows have potential. Just today Tank Carder and former TCU DE Jerry Hughes were named to’s All-Two-Star team over the past decade. Gary Patterson does not need top 10 recruits to compete at the very highest level. This year Sam Carder may be a great example of a player that Patterson took on that is changing positions and improving drastically from the time they step on campus to the time they leave. If I had to put a number on where Patterson stands in comparison to all other coaches across the country, I cannot see how he is not in the top 10.

Will Blume ( Comparing college coaches is always interesting because there is so much criteria to consider, and unlike the NFL, each coach faces different challenges and has different amounts of resources at his disposal. Coaching in Conference USA and the Mountain West has given Patterson a lot more ‘winnable’ games than his SEC counterparts. However, Les Miles and Nick Saban can walk into any recruit’s living room in the country and they are familiar with their respective programs. Whatever notoriety TCU has is based on Patterson’s success. Miles and Saban stepped into good situations and made them better, but they cannot claim they were the architect of a program the way Patterson can. All things being equal, Patterson is a top 10 coach.

Ryan Osborne (SportDFW): He’s right up there. Patterson has built one of the elite programs in the country. He probably didn’t get the publicity he deserved the first eight of those years but after making back-to-back BCS appearances and winning the Rose Bowl last January, Patterson has put TCU on the map. And the rest of the country is beginning to figure out the Frogs are here to stay. As far as rankings go, I’d place him third, among current coaches, behind Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, respectively. Saban has proven he’s both a) among the nation’s best recruiters and b) one of the best winners in college football. Stoops, who won a national championship in his second year in Norman in 2000, took a struggling program (Sooners went 4-7 and 5-6 in years leading up to Stoops hire), made it elite overnight, then kept it there for the next decade, similar to what Patterson has done in Fort Worth.

sNK (Spit Blood): You left out June Jones!  Kidding, obviously.  That’s not a fair question, because the coaches you listed ahead of Patterson are hated by myself and most others that follow college football.  Patterson is ahead of Les Miles for sure.  Hell, Wade Phillips is probably a better coach than Les Miles.  Anyways, if I had to rank Patterson, I’d realistically put him in the Top 5, and the only active coach I can think of that is better right now would be Nick Saban.  I’d put Chris Petersen, Bob Stoops, and Frank Beamer in the top 5 as well, but behind GP.  Let’s say he’s the 2nd best coach in the country.

Now just three left to go!

8. Which first time starter on offense or defense will emerge to surprisingly make the biggest impact in 2011-2012?

sNK (Spit Blood): On offense, it would obviously be really easy to say Casey Pachall, so I won’t.  I am not necessarily sure this guy will qualify as a starter or not, but the guy who could emerge as a playmaker early in the season is WR Skye Dawson.  We’ve all seen flashes of Skye in his first 2 seasons on campus, and he has unbelievable speed and should be a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.  Based on the spring game, Pachall seems to have taken a liking to him as he was target way more than any other receiver and looked very elusive with the ball in his hands.

Ryan Osborne (SportDFW): It won’t be much of an emergence seeing he’s already been given the job, but Casey Pachall, without a doubt, will make the biggest impact, good or bad, this fall. We know what we’re getting in the Boyces and Hicks and Carders of the offense and defense. How will Pachall perform as a starter? We know about his arm and his speed and how different he is than Andy Dalton. But what we don’t know and really can’t even begin to project (although we’ve tried) is how he’ll play under the pressure that undoubtedly will be there. Whether he thrives, chokes or lands somewhere in between, Pachall will make the biggest impact.

Alex Apple (SportDFW): You know, I think I will take a different approach to this question. I will say that Stansly Maponga will become one of the top defensive ends in the country this upcoming season. Obviously, Maponga is on most Frog fans’ radars already, but I think that his impact this upcoming season may be the very best weapon for Patterson’s young secondary. A good way to hide and inexperienced secondary will be with a good pass rush, and as a freshman last season, Maponga was already quite a force on the defensive line. He totaled 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks, and I expect another big leap forward in 2011-2012.

Will Blume (  I think Jason Verrett comes in and fill the void that Jason Teague leaves. I hesitate to give a cornerback the ‘impact’ label because a lot of times a defensive back’s impact is that you don’t hear his name (or the WR he is covering) the entire game. However, I think Verrett immediately becomes the team’s shut-down corner.

And then there were two:

9. Make a bold prediction for 2011-2012. Throw something out out of left field if you would like.

JD Moore (SportDFW): To hell with accuracy and realism, here’s my “bold” prediction. Following crushing victories at Baylor, Air Force and San Diego State, TCU continues to be road warriors as they stun Boise State with a romping on the Smurf Turf. For bold prediction’s sake, TCU wins 38-7, complete with 300+ all-purpose yards from Casey Pachall. The Horned Frogs go on to a third straight 12-0 regular season. Finally coming to their senses, the good ole boys place TCU in the BCS championship game, where they destroy whatever SEC team is undergoing a brand-new set of NCAA violations.

Will Blume ( At the end of the season TCU will remain the highest ranked football team in the state of Texas.

sNK (Spit Blood): Aundre Dean will lead the team in rushing yards and TD’s, despite not even making it into the EA Sports NCAA 2012 video game.

Ryan Osborne (SportDFW): Tank Carder and Tanner Brock make first-team All-American. Not too bold of a prediction, but one that is as realistic as it would be impressive should it come to fruition. Carder, after making a game-saving play in the Rose Bowl last year, will receive much of the publicity between the pair of linebackers early on, but it won’t take long for Brock, a Junior and the faster of the two, to gain some notoriety himself. The Copperas Cove, TX native was in an out of Patterson’s doghouse last year but still managed to consistently make big plays and amassed over 100 tackles as well as an interception return for a touchdown at Utah. Whatever is lost from a weakened secondary will be more than made up for by the tandem of Carder and Brock.

And for our final hoorah, we make a one final prediction.

10. For our last question, I thought about making a season prediction but instead let’s go this route. When TCU heads to Boise, Idaho, what will the Frogs record be? What will Boise’s record be? And finally, assuming good health for both teams, break down the game and give us a hint of how you think the game that could decide the MWC champion will shake out.

Alex Apple (SportDFW): TCU is upset by San Diego State in San Diego, so the Frogs come in with one loss, but the game will still decide which of the two teams gets a BCS bowl berth. Boise State will be undefeated after squeaking by Georgia in week 1, and Kirk Herbstreit is losing his mind over his love for Kellen Moore. Gary Patterson will have his team so fired up that Pachall can hardly contain himself. For that reason, Pachall is a little overanxious initially but settles in as the game goes on. As the game goes on, Tanner Brock and Tank Carder lay the wood enough to begin to wear down the Broncos. Two fourth quarter touchdowns from Waymon James give TCU a late lead. Kellen Moore leads a last minute drive down the field to give Kyle Brotzman’s replacement a chance to send Boise to the National Title game. But ohhhhh….wide left again leaves Kirk Herbstreit wallowing in his own sorrow as TCU charges the field in celebration of what will be an eventual Sugar Bowl berth. Bring on the SEC.

sNK (Spit Blood): Both teams come in to the game with 1 loss (Boise to Georgia in Atlanta in week 1, TCU to SDSU in week 6), but both squads in clicking on all cylinders and the game still holds BCS implications.  Kellen Moore will be going for the college football all-time wins record at home against TCU in the biggest game to hit the Smurf Turf ever.  By this point in the season, the young TCU team will be road tested (games @ Baylor, @Air Force, @SDSU, and @Cowboy’s Stadium against BYU with a very neutral crowd), so the magnitude of this game shouldn’t phase them too much.  Usually by this point in the season TCU’s defense has gelled and is basically impenetrable, and I don’t see this season being much of an exception.  However, the Boise offense is experienced, led by savvy mouth-breather Kellen Moore, and makes enough plays to put some points on the board, but it will not be enough.  TCU does something it failed to do in the previous 2 meetings and establishes a forceful running game early and often, and by the 4th quarter the Boise defense wears down.  Ross Evans plays the role of Anti-Kyle Brotzman and knocks in a chip shot game winner and TCU wins it 27-24, ending Boise’s infinity game home winning streak.

JD Moore (SportDFW): I think is somewhat fair to say that both teams will be undefeated and both teams will be in the top ten. It will be similar to the much-hyped TCU-Utah game of last season, only this time, Boise will be in either 3rd or 4th, whereas TCU will be around the 6th or 7th. Assuming good health… it’ll be the game of the season. Just about anything can – and probably will – happen in Boise. We’ll be seeing special teams execute trick plays. We’ll see huge hits from Tank Carder and the rest of the Frogs defense. We’ll see Kellen Moore throw for yard after yard. It’ll be so wild that I almost expect to see an army of zombie smurfs rise up out of the end zone for half-time entertainment. TCU will use defense to their advantage and Casey Pachall will have a career day. Because of that, I could see TCU pulling off the upset and winning 21-17.

Will Blume (  I think TCU goes into Boise with at least one loss. I don’t know where it happens but just believe it is so hard to go undefeated and the Frogs will eventually slip this year. The Broncos’ have a fairly easy schedule, save the opener in Atlanta versus Georgia. It is hard to say, how good Georgia will be but my gut tells me that the November game against Boise State will be similar to the 2009 TCU/Utah game with the Frogs attempting to play the spoiler role that Utah tried to play. I think the game will be low-scoring. The Frog defense will be ready for the Broncos but at some point the combination of Kellen Moore’s big game experience versus Pachall’s lack thereof will aid the Broncos in the win. Rod Gilmore will be shirtless dousing himself with champagne while he attempts to give Kellen Moore a copy of the mix tape he made for him.

Ryan Osborne (SportDFW): TCU will escape Waco with a slim win then run the table the next two months to set up a Gameday-worthy matchup with an undefeated Broncos team. And they’ll win. Give a Gary Patterson-coached defense two months of game experience and preparation and few teams, especially not Boise State, will be able to score enough to win. Good game? Yeah, sure. But defense wins championships and early-November games in Boise. Frogs bid the Broncos and the Mountain West adieu in 24-13 fashion…

So that is it for our roundtable. We hope that all our questions and answers have inspired some of your own thought and we welcome any feedback. We also hope that you all are excited for this TCU Horned Frog football season.

Hey Casey–if you can pull off another magical season, you and I will get tatted together in Dallas.

Rack us. We are out!

You can follow Alex Apple on Twitter @AlexAppleDFW and SportDFW @SportDFW.