Around the Horned With Brian Estridge

Nov. 1, 2002

Change is always difficult on us. Heck, I get a little leery when my wife rearranges the furniture, and that got me to thinking.

Something that has gone unnoticed has been head coach Gary Patterson's ability to weather virtually any storm that has been thrown his way. Gosh three years ago he coached a college football game with essentially two coaches and almost won! He salvaged a recruiting class late in the game that produced the quarterback that you'll see under center today. He worked through a new conference schedule with no previous meetings, game films or scouting reports.

Sure he had a chance to see them play other teams, but until you've played a game in Hattiesburg or witnessed first hand the speed of Louisville's receivers or adjusted to playing in caverness stadiums like the Superdome and Legion Field, you're at a disadvantage. He has meshed a coaching staff that had never worked together; and has groomed young players to step up when others graduate or disgruntled ones leave. He has changed the attitude around TCU football. Some of you haven't noticed and I think that is a good thing.

Sure, the goals of this program have been the same the last five years: win conference titles, win bowl games, and continue to win recruiting battles. The goals are the same - it's the attitude that's different. Five years ago a CEO head coach led this program up from ashes to the level of consistent winner. And he was perfect for the challenge. Then came change.

Enter Gary Patterson and his blue-collar mentality. As I mentioned in this column a couple of games ago, he'll try his darndest to outwork you. But I suggest it is his ability to push the right buttons, listen to his gut and allow people to be people that sets him apart, whether it be players or coaches, staff members or fans. There is no air about him, there is no front; just plainspoken, down to earth common sense. And it seems to be paying off. No longer does anyone complain about what he wears on the sidelines or why he still calls the defensive signals. The change has occurred and you didn't notice.

This is Gary Patterson's program and finally the fans are learning from the players - this ain't half bad. The winningest coach since Dutch Meyer through his first 20 games, off the field Patterson has shown the ability to put people at ease and an honesty that we all longed for has finally merged. Some would say it's his confidence that has increased, I think it may be our tolerance that has. Winning cures a lot of ills, it settles a lot of stomachs and makes change a whole heckuva lot easier.

Through six straight wins the Frogs have displayed an explosive offense and a dominating defense and they have gone about their business much like their head coach. He coaches and the players play with a sense of urgency and a burning desire to compete, yet with a display of class and integrity that should make Frog fans everywhere proud.

Some of you had questions, claiming the jury was still out on Gary Patterson, yet now it's just like when my wife moves my favorite chair, I'll eventually come around to its new location-much like most of you have done-you've wisely come around to accept the new top Frog. And with good reason- this change has definitely been for the better!

From the streets and avenues of North Texas to the information superhighway, I'm Brian Estridge. We'll see you on the radio!

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