Friday, January 1, 2016
Coaches Press Conference
COACH PATTERSON: First off, I want to thank Derrick, Valero and the Alamo Bowl and San Antonio. It’s just been an unbelievable experience. I know Oregon has been here before. I’ve been down to San Antonio many times, but just as a team, the hospitality and everything that went on has been spectacular.
From us, our chancellor Victor Boschini, AD Chris Del Conte, we just wanted to thank everyone that’s been involved. It’s really been a great experience for us.
Obviously, as head coaches you all have to make decisions, do things sometimes you don’t want to do. Outside of that, our kids, our families, our players, everybody, has been spectacular.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Helfrich.
COACH HELFRICH: To echo what Coach Patterson said, to Derrick and Mike, everyone with Valero and the Alamo Bowl have been awesome. The people here are truly special in the way they treat us and the sincerity with which it’s done is impressive.
The city of San Antonio is an awesome venue. Our families and everybody involved in the bowl are having a great time, particularly a great time last night.
We’re excited for the challenge that lies ahead in TCU. Rob Mullens, our athletic director who is here, and on behalf of President Schill, thank them.
I will intervene on some questions I know are coming up, but Matt Lubick will be calling the plays tomorrow and also will be the offensive coordinator going forward, period. We don’t want this to be a sideshow.
A job audition against Gary Patterson is not your best one to be judged against, so we want to try to keep that off the table. Lub’s done a great job, as well as the rest of our offensive staff, trying to plan an attack against TCU.
Excited about that, excited about our players, how they’ve prepared. Again, looking to the challenge of tomorrow night.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Gary, can you talk to us about what Trevone said to you about his arrest, the explanation he gave you.
COACH PATTERSON: I didn’t talk to him. But let me say this to you. I was a little disappointed yesterday that everything that was basically talked to my kids about was about Trevone Boykin. We’re here to play Oregon. If we’re going to make this a press conference about him, then I think we’re ruining San Antonio and the bowl game and we’re saying everybody else that plays at TCU is not important.
We played an Oklahoma team without a Trevone Boykin and played okay. About every three years, I think I saw a stat where three out of the four playoff teams had to send somebody home. One of the things I don’t think people give head coaches enough credit for is trying to raise men.
Obviously, Gary Patterson and TCU would love, especially against such a good football team as Oregon, to have all your players. But I’d also like my starting offensive guard Naff, and I’d like my starting center Joey Hunt, and I’d like my starting linebacker and my starting safety and my starting corner and my starting defensive end, everybody else that’s disappeared during the season that we haven’t played with.
Unfortunate for him, because Trevone has meant so much to TCU. We love him. But he understands. It wasn’t even a conversation between him and I. I talked to him later. But it’s one of those situations. He was there at curfew. Then I get a call early in the morning that he wasn’t at curfew.
Everybody makes decisions. What I hope, one of the things we stand behind in our program is that you can help people, young people especially, learn from it.
Here is the thing that I don’t think many people realize. It wasn’t just Trevone that had to go home, but nobody asked about the other guy. That’s the thing that disappoints me. Nobody asked about the other guy. There was two that had to go home.
You’re not just teaching him, you’re teaching the other 120 guys that are on your team, that they understand all your actions have a reaction, and you have to learn from it.
Let’s just say nothing happened, but he’s bragging that he jumped curfew, went out, came back, played a great game, I’m going to have the same problem next year if we’re good enough to go back to a bowl game.
You have to take it. Everybody wants to be the head coach. They like that look at that last day of the month, that paycheck, until yesterday. Then I sit down at the barbecue last night, nobody sat next to me except my wife. You go everywhere, it’s like the hand grenade, you don’t want to be that guy because you sit next to him, you don’t know, something might blow up here. You have to take it.
Really my feelings went out for him and for my team because obviously he’s the starter. He’s a veteran. But we’ll play another quarterback and they’re do just fine.
Just like anybody else, I’m a fan. I want to see Vernon versus Trevone. When you stand on the sideline, coaches are kind of like fans, you want to see all of it. You came here, got to the end of the year, you want that last ballgame to be everything you want. Hopefully it is.
That’s the disappointing thing just for the kids and for him, all of them, that they didn’t get a chance to be a part of all of it. This is one experience that he didn’t finish it off, he’s not going to be a part of.
Hopefully that solves all that.
Q. Mark, when did you come to the decision to name Lubick the O-coordinator?
COACH HELFRICH: I don’t know if there was an exact moment. I think Matt is an outstanding football coach. He’s extremely detail oriented. He’s a very good recruiter. The players really take to him. Just tireless.
He’s been on both sides of the ball. He can approach it from the secondary perspective, a total defensive perspective, as well as quarterback or receiver or runningback or front. I think just as a group, our continuity as an offensive staff is a big strength. He was kind of the outsider that came in and added a bunch to it, at the same time meshed into a great group.
I don’t remember the day. It’s probably a culmination of years and being around him and seeing him operate.
Q. Mark, you had been so open that the Alamo Bowl was going to be a pre-interview for Matt to get the permanent offensive coordinator position. Do you think it helps him or the team or the offense knowing there’s a permanent guy up there? Was that your thinking naming him now than next season?
COACH HELFRICH: I think it was one of you guys that said it was an audition or job interview. That’s how it was approached. I remember answering that question.
I didn’t want every third and inches having a split screen of Gary Patterson and Matt Lubick, and going, This is his job on the line. It’s not that. It’s our players against their players. They’re really good. We tried to prepare our guys to play against them.
Q. Coach Helfrich, how comfortable are you having Coach Lubick call plays? Difficult time to do that for your first time. Talk about that.
COACH HELFRICH: We’ve drilled it. Again, it will be his first time. It’s always funny communicating with guys on the headsets. This isn’t the first time we’ve ever communicated that way. We’ve done a lot more called-situational work throughout the bowl prep than we would normally do. That’s good for the offense and the defense and for our players to kind of try to improvise more than just script it.
So much of what you do on game day is predetermined. Coach Patterson has his whatever short-yardage situations, end zone, whatever you parcel out in a game day, they’re done, laminated, ready to go. You do that collectively, then try to get in the best position.
On Tuesday, you’re trying to predetermine what the best situation is to be on game day. So much of it is just staying organized, staying a play ahead, anticipating those scenarios. Then obviously, they’re going to do something a little bit differently – we’ll see if he can divulge that here today – that we’ll have to adjust to.
Q. Gary, yesterday when we talked to Doug and Sonny, they said they were unsure who was going to be your starter tomorrow. Speak to the confidence you have in both those backup guys.
COACH PATTERSON: I mean, we were able to win at Kansas. Played both of them in Oklahoma. Probably if they were asking me, Bram, for the simple reason of the last game both of them played in, just because of the moment.
You guys were asking me, Would you rather have a new coordinator or new quarterback, I’d probably say, new coordinator, because the guy on the field makes everything happen. It’s premeditated what we’re going to do, his reactions to it.
Like I said yesterday, you guys don’t know the background. But Bram lost his dad that Saturday that we played Oklahoma. Ended up being able to play and doing things. He’s one of those kids that walked on, had a chance to play as a quarterback in the system. I said, Take all the time you need, and was back for Tuesday practice. He’s committed to TCU.
Foster Sawyer the same thing.
For me, it doesn’t make any difference which one of them starts. The guy that can throw to the same color, the guy that can move the ball. More importantly, I think it comes down to when you watch your kids on the field. I’ve always defined a great player by everybody around him is better when he’s on the field. The quarterback position definitely is highlighted when it comes down to those kind of situations.
I think probably they’re going to get a nod, it would probably be Bram. Either one of them is fine with me because after today, starting tomorrow, we’re going forward. You’re going to be playing with a different quarterback anyway.
Add Kenny Hill to the scenario, then a young quarterback, Brennen Wooten. So you kind of go forward.
Q. Coach Helfrich, how has that bowl trip to San Antonio differed than 2013, when you were a first-year head coach?
COACH HELFRICH: Very similar and a little bit different. Playing against a great coach and a great team, definitely a road-game type of atmosphere for us. Our fans have been awesome, have represented us well down here. But we’re going to be the minority in the building.
It’s a great venue. Got kind of a basketball, indoor feel. Loud, great venue for this game. The city of San Antonio has been awesome.
The differences are just the people, the voices of your team, the leaders of your team kind of change every year. Not every year, but sometimes. Just the voice of your team is that much different.
Those experiences are a little bit different. A great experience so far.
Q. Gary, can you talk about for your guys, what kind of feel or attitude have you seen from them in the 24 hours that they found out that Trevone wouldn’t be playing with them?
COACH PATTERSON: We had a great practice yesterday. One of the things is they’ve played without him before. You have to go forward.
I think the other thing that helps us, we understand the film, we understand the type of team we’re playing. You have a team that played for a national championship a year ago. A couple of players are gone, but a lot of them are back. They’ve been in this kind of venue. They understand the bright lights.
The hardest thing for me is, because of all the injuries we’ve had through the season, we’ve had to play 30 freshmen, 15 redshirt, 15 true.
So for me, really more the focus is getting them to understand with everything going on around them. Because when you’re at home or on the road, you have the hotel, there’s not anybody around, you can isolate them, get them to hone in what you’re trying to get accomplished. This afternoon, Look, gentlemen, we’re not going to go blow the third floor. We’re going to stay up here.
They know all their friends, relatives are downstairs. Everything is going on.
Really, it becomes more the mindset than it is those other guys. Been here 18 years. There’s some traditions of how you do things. Your older kids carry those. Really I’ve looked to them to make sure that they keep everybody where they need to be and how they need to do it. Obviously one of them didn’t.
If you can’t get ready for a ballgame like this, then off-season is not going to be that much fun, honestly. They need to get ready to go.
Q. Gary, the police report said there was a group with Trevone a couple nights ago. Did you have to make a decision to let some players play, yet suspend two?
COACH PATTERSON: Only two that I know. Should have had them come talk to me if it was a group because I didn’t see a group.
Q. Mark, will Matt continue to coach receivers or do you expect to hire a quarterback coach and receiver coach?
COACH HELFRICH: That is kind of to be determined. We have a great pool, got a plan that I’m very excited about that is probably going to happen. But he’s very versatile, the people we’re talking to on the outside are very versatile. After the game, we’ll address that.
But it’s kind of a to-be-determined type of situation in a very healthy, good way.
Q. Mark, you’ve addressed your offensive coordinator situation. Your defense has struggled a little bit in some games this year. How comfortable are you with the way Don Pellum has coordinated the defense? Will he be the defensive coordinator going forward?
COACH HELFRICH: Everybody has to get better. Somebody asked me a similar question the other day. I could get fired tomorrow. My boss might fire me right after this press conference. I don’t know.
We all have to improve, every single one of us. We’ve learned that around the world for a long, long time in sport, win now, do it exactly this way, shut everybody out, score 50. Reality is somewhere in between.
But we all have to get better, starting with me.
Do we need to play better on defense? Absolutely. Do we need to play better on special teams? Absolutely. Do we need to play better on offense? Absolutely.
Again, that all starts with me.
Q. Coach Helfrich, can you give us a comparison of TCU to other teams in the PAC-12 on both sides of the ball? Do they remind of you anyone else?
COACH HELFRICH: Offensively, they have, for us, not a great combination of kind of the Washington State Air-Raid-Mike-Leach angle, combined with several teams, whether it’s Utah or us, Arizona State run game. They do a great job of combining those two things well.
They have a few more formations than some of those teams. Obviously each quarterback have some nuances, but they have a core of things they do regardless.
Defensively there’s not really anybody like them in our conference. Obviously when you invent a defense, there’s going to be a lot of people that try to copy it.
The PAC-12 is a lot more 3-4 than the Big 12. So there’s some differences there.
Then special teams, whoever is really fast, can run and tackle. You’ve got returners that have times that go 10.0-something, 10.2-something. We don’t have that many guys lying around either. But very fast, sound, tough.
So a combination of all those things.
Q. Gary, how much does it change with Matt calling plays? Do you have any base of knowledge on him or do you expect much change from what Oregon does?
COACH PATTERSON: I think coach already answered your question. You watch from the sideline. Mark is very involved. The rest of their staff is very involved. I saw a comment, he really feels great about how they’ve meshed the running and passing game together.
Most of being part of a staff is getting along. When I hire somebody, I don’t hire somebody to be loyal to me. I put them in the offensive, defensive staff room, see how they get along, see how those guys like him. They have to spend 18 hours a day with them.
Probably many of you know, but Coach Lubick is also the older Coach Lubick’s son. He comes from an unbelievable family.
COACH HELFRICH: Thanks, coach (laughter).
COACH PATTERSON: So you’re sitting in a situation where I have one of those guys on my staff, a young GA, that since Coach Cross has been going back and forth between Missouri and here, that’s done an unbelievable job of coaching our linebackers. His dad still’s a great Texas high school coach, Coach Phillips.
Nobody has asked me the question, but let me say this to you. If you’re asking my opinion about the University of Oregon, I know they went from a senior-based secondary to a freshmen-based secondary in one year. Was good enough to get to a national championship game. They do an unbelievable job of coaching.
I’ll tell you one thing that’s hard about defending Oregon is how fast they do, the formations they use. It’s hard to dial in on them, speaking of somebody that’s done it for a long time.
Defensively they make it very hard for you to get big plays.
Then special teams, if you watch them on the film, they got guys back there, just like we do, that if you don’t keep in your lanes, if you don’t stay where you need to be, you don’t do your job, then bad things are going to happen to you.
It’s a ballgame that’s very similar with two teams that have a lot of speed, two teams that try to be innovative as far as how they coach, how they coach their teams, to try not just to beat you with athletes, but schematically get you outnumbered.
You have to make sure you do a good job of staying on your toes because they are. Both teams will use trick plays and gadgets to put you in a situation if you’re not disciplined to score easily.
If both defenses don’t do a good job of that, you’ll all be happy because it will be a high-scoring affair. If the defenses do, you won’t be happy, I’ll be happy, it will be a low-scoring affair.
I think you’re going to see a great ballgame in the three and a half hours.
Q. Mark, what was your reaction when you heard that Boykin wouldn’t play? As a coaching staff, what is the challenge of preparing for two different quarterbacks in two days?
COACH HELFRICH: Well, I think Coach Patterson handled it well. Like he said, we make a lot of very tough decisions. Commending him, that’s a very easy difficult decision in terms of teaching people exactly what he said, developing young men.
Hopefully everybody learns from an unfortunate situation. Nobody wants that to happen. It’s an unfortunate reality of every single program in the country in developing people. You have to make those decisions.
Going forward, you go forward. Has nothing to do with us in a lot of ways other than learning from it. As coach said, we watched the Oklahoma film, too, of an outstanding team that they had beat multiple times. Those guys are very good football players surrounded by very good football players. They have enough talent that a lot of people can play quarterback and make that thing go.
Q. Coach Patterson, have you been kind of waiting or wanting to play Oregon given that these two programs have been over the last decades developed into national brands of flashy programs?
COACH PATTERSON: I wouldn’t say that I’ve dreamed about playing Oregon, no. I mean, they score a lot of points. For a defensive guy, that would not be on the top of my Christmas list. That’s not happening.
But I think one of the things you need to do to find out where you’re at, what you’re doing, you have to play. Even in scheduling in non-conference, we’ve always had to find a stretch game. This year was Minnesota, next year is Arkansas for two years, then we have Ohio State.
I always feel like you have to play somebody outside your conference to find out your level, show your kids where you have to get to if you want to be one of those four playoff teams, you want to be a top-10 football team in the country.
Playing Oregon is that. One of the things we’ll get out of that, this is not mine as a quote, but you’re either winning or you’re learning. When you go to the bowl game, you can lose in the score, but really what you’re going to do is learn. You’re going to learn about yourself because of the type of athlete you’re going to play on the team that’s won a lot of football games at the end of the year, has won a lot of football games over the last 15 years.
You go back to the drawing board saying, We have to get better at this, this, this. It’s a win-win situation for us. When you look at them scheme-wise, you have the read zone, you got to get your eyes in the right place, great play-action. They have speed on the edges to get behind you.
For us it’s a great measuring stick going forward of how you play when you go back into your season in the spring, playing Baylor, Oklahoma, everybody else in our conference that we have to play that’s going to line up and run vertical.
It’s a great challenge for me as a coach, not only as a head coach, but also as a defensive coach, because now you’re having to think of ways that you can try to gain leverage and do some things that maybe you haven’t had to do in the past because of the way they do it.
I wouldn’t say I dreamed about it. Now that it’s here, I’m kind of like if I could have seen both quarterbacks play, I would have been a fan. Being in this business 33 years, you get to where you like to do things. This is a bucket list to come to San Antonio. You still want to go to the Cotton Bowl because we’re from the state of Texas. Sugar, three, we haven’t played in it. Orange going east. To get a chance to do that in this city against this kind of football team is awesome. I don’t think you want it any different.
It didn’t take me much to try to get our kids ready to go play a football game, I can tell you that.