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October 1, 2013

TCU coach talks OU in press conference

TCU's Gary Patterson has something not a lot of other coaches have. A win in Norman.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has an 84-5 record at home and one of those loses came to Patterson's Horned Frogs in 2005.

That is one of a handful of signature wins the Patterson thinks helped shape the TCU football program.

"That was the start of what we've done since then. People have been taking notice since we've done that," Patterson said. "It was like the 1998 win in the Sun Bowl against USC. That got us going for four or five years then we elevated it even higher. You get to a higher level when you get to the Fiesta Bowl and an even higher level when you win the Rose Bowl. Now we're in a different league at a different level and we have to keep climbing."

That Oklahoma win is one of the five biggest games of Patterson's 166-game tenure at TCU. Oklahoma got revenge a few years later when eventual Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford threw for 411 yards in TCU's 35-10 loss in 2008.

Last year's contest was a classic as OU held on to win 24-17 as TCU's potential game-tying pass in the final seconds tipped off Josh Boyce's hands. Both teams scored touchdowns on plays longer than 65 yards, but TCU's offense only mustered 11 first downs while OU picked up twice as many.

If you thought the Sooner defense was tough last year, Patterson thinks its even more stingy this year.

"They apply a lot of pressure. I think (defensive coordinator) Mike (Stoops) and Bob (Stoops) are a bit more comfortable with what they're doing now, and I think it shows," Patterson said. "They tackle well. They're physical against the run and the pass, and they're getting takeaways. They're back to what an Oklahoma team is like."

Oklahoma is allowing just 12 points and 299.5 yards of offense per game. By comparison, TCU's defense allows almost 23 points and 353.8 yards per game.

Patterson mentioned the pressure the Sooners generate, but they have just four sacks. TCU has 15, which is the fifth most in the nation. TCU's defensive pressure is led by defensive tackles Jon Lewis' four sacks, which leads the Big 12.

"When you get push inside, that really helps you," Patterson said. "When inside guys are able to get sacks, that means you're pushing the pocket and they are able to step forward."

The Oklahoma defense has forced six turnovers this year and has touchdowns following each of those turnovers. TCU has turned the ball over six times this year, so ball control is absolutely a key to the game this week.

"Defensively, they're playing as well as anybody in the league and are being physical," Patterson said. "I think they've only allowed a couple touchdowns in the air. They're playing very well, so we've got a lot of work to do."

The Sooners have battled through some injuries the last few seasons, but TCU's coach thinks they are back to being a power thanks to their health.

"They were banged up and had season-ending injuries to a lot of players, and this year they've stayed healthy. That makes a big difference. It's like that with us," Patterson said. "You have to keep people healthy. Very few people can lose a couple players and make it through things. You have to find ways to win."

As far as TCU's players health, Patterson said he wasn't sure if Devonte Fields would be able to play this weekend. Jason Verrett will be good to go. Elisha Olabode and James Dunbar are still questionable, but Olabode was going to try and practice Tuesday.

Having Verrett, Olabode and Fields would be huge as the Frogs will try to contain Oklahoma's "Bell-dozer" Blake Bell. In two games as the starter, he has thrown for 645 yards and six touchdowns to no interceptions. In these last two games, he's rushed 22 times for 83 yards.

"They've won, and they've played better on offense. Both their quarterbacks can run. They do some things with (Trevor) Knight they don't do with Bell. Both of them have those capabilities," Patterson said. "You've got three or four tailbacks who can really go, and they've stayed healthy. Your center and two tackles are guys who have played a lot of football. They've kept their five for the first four ball games."

The Sooners rack up 480 yards of offense, most of that comes after the first quarter as Oklahoma gets used to what teams do after the first frame.

"They up their level of play once they figure out what you're doing," Patterson said. "That keeps going in the third quarter. I always look at how teams start and how they go going forward."

TCU's offense has been slow to get going in the first halves of games so far. That will probably have to change this week to keep up with the high-powered Sooners. To do that, Patterson's team does what he calls "purple ball" in practice.

"It's right after we start the first or second period of the day. We then go good-on-good for a couple plays," Patterson said. "We want them to have an understanding that you have to go at a fast tempo, and you have to get ready to play quick."

The coach will also have his team ready to handle the raucous crowd that Oklahoma brings. Last season, the Sooners' average attendance was 103 percent of its stadium's capacity.

"It's a great atmosphere and very loud," Patterson said. "We'll do a lot of crowd noise on Wednesday and Thursday to make sure we get ourselves where we're communicating and ready to go."

The game will kickoff at 6 p.m. and will be televised on FOX.


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