At some point toward the end of each summer, Gary Patterson sits down at his desk and writes himself a letter outlining how his TCU team can get to 12 wins during the upcoming season.
Patterson breaks down each opponent and examines obstacles that stand in his team’s way, such as opposing personnel, challenges the road stadium poses — basically anything he can glean from his 20 years of being the Horned Frogs head coach. When he’s finished, Patterson files it away in a cabinet in his office.
“I don’t necessarily read it to the team,” Patterson said. “Sometimes at the end of the year, I read it to them to see how close I was. But you need a game plan, and all coaches know what kind of football team they have.”
It’s obviously more fun to share his thoughts with his players after a successful season, and this could be a year Patterson winds up reading that letter to his team.
He looks at the Horned Frogs and he sees a returning quarterback, a roster that is loaded with depth and a schedule that could set up nicely for yet another one of those special TCU seasons. It’s a little trickier to get an accurate grasp on the league because opposing rosters are a little bit harder to evaluate — due to a rise in transfers and the return of super seniors — but the most important thing is the ability to evaluate his own team. And When Patterson looks at what he has this year, he sees a chance for success.
“I think our kids feel good about themselves,” he said. “We probably have as good of chemistry as we’ve had in a long time. The offense and the defense are really getting along, and you can just sense that things are clicking.”
When things are clicking for TCU, it often has a team capable of winning the Big 12. Patterson’s resume as one of the top defensive coaches is well documented. If he puts together an offense that can score points in the Big 12, that’s when the Horned Frogs have a chance at doing something special — like the 2014 team that won 12 games and came oh-so-close to being selected for the inaugural College Football Playoff.