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Event: Head Coaches Press Conference

Date, Location: Wednesday Dec. 27, Marriott Riverwalk
Persons Quoted: TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson and Stanford Head Coach David Shaw



DAVID SHAW: First of all, thanks to everybody for being here. The week has been outstanding. I think you ask both groups of coaches and players, they’ve had a blast. The hospitality has been off the charts, and it’s about time to play a football game. We’re just about ready to get this thing going. I thought our event last night was great and says a lot about the two programs. We’re in the middle of an event, a guy compliments both teams on how well they’ve behaved, how well they’ve been mixed together, how much fun they’ve had. So I think it says a lot about both programs, and it’s just exciting to be a part of it.

GARY PATTERSON: Yeah, I would say that doesn’t happen very often. I would echo what Coach Shaw said. This being our second time here, obviously the hospitality has been unbelievable, the people. I always feel badly to be honest with you because I come here and I’m one of those guys that works too hard. I really leave saying I wish I would have spent more time with Derrick and Mike and all the different people that put on the event with Valero and the Alamo Bowl to be a part of it, just because it’s a great city, it’s a great time to be around it, and really to be honest with you, I echo the same thing David talked about, just the kind of kids that we both have on both sides.

We understand that we’re going to have to get out for tomorrow night. That’s what we do. But you know, to know that it’s a three-hour ballgame and you’re going to walk away and it’s going to be more about other things, kids coming out of TCU and Stanford, what else they want to do with their lives.

It’s been a fun occasion, and we’re excited about the ballgame. You get a chance at the end of the year, all of us, to try to play a game so you can see how you roll into the next season, see how guys do this, and make people proud at your place.

Win or lose, what you want to do is you want to play well. I think that’s the biggest thing is you want to play well, and you want to leave your kids with a great taste in their mouth.

Coach Shaw, what are the specific things in their defense – this is a terrific defense that they have – that concern you the most, and what particular players are you most impressed with?

DAVID SHAW: Well, I think with any good defense, it’s a combination of scheme and players within that scheme. Coach Patterson has been a great defensive mind for a long time in this profession, and what a lot of people don’t see is the subtleties, the line stints, the movement, the effort with which the guys play, the subtle changes in coverage. They do it so well and do it at such a high level. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not just the pre-snap read and the post-snap read, both run and pass, the way their guys move and the way their guys fit.

Coach Shaw, talk about your bowl preparation as you’ve matured as a head coach. You’re 3-0 in your last three bowl games. Has your approach changed, and what leads to that success?

DAVID SHAW: You know, I’m a coach’s kid. I’ve been around this thing my whole life, and I was a little kid running around the bowl games, going all over the place, so for me, I want everybody that comes to a bowl game to have a good time. I want them to enjoy themselves. When the kids have free time — hey, I wanted to have free time. I want them to enjoy the environment, enjoy where they are, have a good time, and at the same time, when it’s time for work, we’re going to get on the field and we’re going to get after it. We’re going to practice hard. We’re going to meet very intensely and make sure guys are locked in so that they come away from this with a great memory of, you know what, hey, I enjoyed San Antonio; I had a great time. But at the same time when it’s time for football, I did what my coaches asked me to do, which was go hard.

That’s the biggest thing for me. I’d hate to walk away from a bowl game with guys not feeling like they enjoyed themselves, and at the same time not feeling like they gave it their all. So we try to do both.

Coach Shaw, what similarities do you see between your coaching style and that of Coach Patterson’s?

DAVID SHAW: Oh, yeah, that’s an easy question. I think when you put both films on, you see effort. You see guys that care about each other. You see guys that care about what their responsibilities are. You see guys playing with passion and emotion. You know, as a football coach that’s what you want to see, and a high level of execution when you get it is awesome.

But you want every play on your film to represent what your program is about, kids playing hard, kids playing fast, kids playing together, kids playing with passion and emotion and trying to do their jobs.

Gary, is there a team in the Big 12 that reminds you of Stanford, their offense?

GARY PATTERSON: Probably — I don’t think so, but probably close is Iowa State. Come at you big, as far as their size, offensive line, tight ends, wide receivers. I’d probably say Iowa State is probably that team that’s like that. Early gave us a lot of problems, but they come right at you, well-coached, play hard. They have a plan. They’re not around the place — they understand what they’re trying to do and how they’re trying to attack you and how they do it, and Stanford is the same way.

They’re not going to get crazy if you can’t stop the simple stuff. I mean, they’re going to come at you. They’ve got a great tailback, and what makes him a great tailback, also, is they put him in positions and they do great job executing. If you see somebody stop a scheme in the first half, you need to understand there’s going to be adjustments in how they’re going to block you the second half, so you’d better be paying attention to what’s going on.

And defensively I don’t think they get enough credit, either. I think if you watch them, sometimes people say you look on film — a lot of times what they say about us, about, well, they don’t look fast, and everybody I’ve talked to, you’d better be careful about Stanford, they can run. They have a lot of length. They’re going — when they get in the red zone they play big. You have to get ready for them, and I think it says by — he’s been three out of the last four Pac-12 Championships since they’ve started. Stanford has won them and they’ve been a part of them. I think that says as much as anything about what they’ve done as a program. At the end they’re one of the last guys standing. That’s what we’re always — we’re always trying to get done is we’re trying to be one of the last guys standing.

You know, and as David said before, I think both of us pride ourselves in the way our kids play, the effort. When you talk to the NFL guys, they say the same thing probably about the Stanford guys; they say, well, you’re from TCU, we’re not worried about you because we know you’ll do whatever you’ve got to do to make the team; you’re not going to embarrass us. And I think that’s as big a compliment as you can have within your program, that you teach your kids how to have accountability, work hard. They want something else in life besides football when it’s done. But when they are playing football, they’re going to get after it, and that’s exactly what you want as a coach.

You know, and after tomorrow night, then you have to go back and you’ve got to build a team again. Some of those seniors leave and do those things. I’d probably say Iowa State was the team that probably fits that as well as anybody does when it comes — because they’re big and they have a lot of length, and they’re very good.

Coach Shaw, ever since the Oregon game, we’ve seen Bryce Love hobble off the field from time to time, but at the same time turn around and come back and make a great run. What can we expect out of him in this game, especially after four weeks of rest?

DAVID SHAW: Well, I think the biggest thing is he’s been really smart. We all know the thing with ankles is you’ve just got to get off of them, so he’s been off of his ankle for a long time. This week has been kind of a ramp-up week. He’s practiced some, he’s been on the sideline with the trainer some, just to continue to get that flexibility back and try to get that explosion back. He’s not going to be 100 percent until next year. Hopefully next year he’s with us. But he’s a tough kid. He’s going to go hard. He’s going to play as hard as he can. He’ll play through pain. It’s not a big deal to him. Hopefully he’s closer to 100 percent, but I don’t think he’s going to be 100 percent.

Coach Shaw, what is the status of Walker Little and any of the other injured guys?

DAVID SHAW: I think Walker, we have one more physical test today. If he makes it through today, he’ll play. If he does play, he’ll rotate in. He won’t play the whole game. He hasn’t played the whole game in a long time. I think he wants to play. We’re going to put him through some stuff today just to make sure he’s structurally okay. He made it through the other day pretty well practicing part of practice, not the full practice. So if he can make it through today, then he’ll rotate in. He’ll spend some time on the field.

How long do you think you’ll be able to use the lesson of the comeback here two years ago, and will it remain effective for you?

GARY PATTERSON: That lesson went away. I think Coach Shaw has been using it, too. For us this will be my 18th bowl in 20 years here, so I mean, you’d better not look backwards very long or you’ll find out you’ll get slapped across the side of the head because we’re not playing Oregon anymore, we’re playing Stanford. The biggest thing for us is we understand we have to play very early. You haven’t read about us in the papers, the front page, not the sports page, so that’s a good thing this time around, because coming into this, that was kind of what I was coming into this morning. Actually it was the FCA breakfast. I got that phone call at like 4:00 in the morning and then I was going to the FCA breakfast at like 7:00.

But all lessons we all learn. It’s a different football team, playing a different football team, and so for us, it’s always been what TCU has been about. It’s never been about we’re out of it, whether it’s that ballgame or anything else. We’ve always believed that you have to represent until the end.

As I told that team at halftime three years ago, I said, I didn’t raise my voice or anything else because in our hallway we have the front of the panel of this bowl game with those teams on it and we have the scores, and basically I told the seniors right now, it’s 31-0. I mean, you’re going to come back here for 30 years and walk down these hallways. Is that what you want it to read, because this is going to be your last ballgame, is that what you want it to read. So that’s basically what we said and what we did, and obviously you know the rest of the story. But it’s a whole different climate this time just because of the type of team we’re playing, and yeah, it’s three years later, so…

Coach Shaw, we’ve asked a bunch of your players all week about this, but can you just talk about the significance between a nine-win and a 10-win season, which you’d have if you were able to win tomorrow night when you look back at things?

DAVID SHAW: You know, it’s one of those — I don’t know if it means that much more, but double-digit wins always looks better than single-digit wins. More wins is always better than less wins. But I think for me, it’s still about how you play and how well you play. You know, I think you always want to finish the season with a win and all that stuff. I don’t know that it means that much more. It looks better, I know, on T-shirts and all the stuff that you put on. But it’s one of those bars that sometimes you set as far as getting to 10 wins. But I mean, more than just — it’s not a big difference between nine and ten; it’s just one more, but you always want to try to win.

Has that experience what you went through caused you to change any of your restrictions on your players —

GARY PATTERSON: No. He went back out. He went back out after bed check, so no, our kids in general, they act right. They know — I sent two homes at the Rose Bowl. Biggest stage you could possibly be on at that time for us at TCU. There’s an expectation level of what we do and how we do it, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the best player or you’re the walk-on. It makes no difference. We all represent TCU, and you’ve got to understand when one screws up, then we’re all that. Whatever they did, every guy on your team is all that. You’ve got to be smart, because again, what I said earlier, this is not about teaching them to be great football players. That’s not the total package. It’s about when you leave, we say at TCU, it’s not four, it’s 40. What we try to do from 22 to 62, what are we trying to bring in. If you’ve been somewhere — like now we’ve been here 20 years; my first set of seniors are 42 years old. You’re 42 years old; we’ve had over 400 graduates come out of TCU since we’ve been a part of the program. 300 something of them came back after the spring game, and they all know the expectation level and they all have their stories. Some it takes them five years to come back because I’m not real happy with you, and then as they get older and more mature, they figure out what we’re trying to get done because it’s never personal to coaches except that you’re trying — you turned over somebody’s kid — somebody’s kid, they turned them over to you so you could help them in their progress to become a man in life and to go out and represent in the proper manner. That’s what we get done — people ask me — I said, because I’m kind of crazy on the sideline. I said, you guys should try to be a defensive coordinator with no-huddle. You watch me tomorrow night, I’m going to get out — unless he’s decided to go to no-huddle —

DAVID SHAW: Yeah, we changed our whole offense.

GARY PATTERSON: Every eight seconds you’re trying to get a call in. If you’re not, you’re trying to match what they do. If you’re just — if I was just acting like a head coach, I could just stand there. But that’s not what I do. I still help call defense and do things. How do you — it’s all about winning. It’s not about what you guys think or what the interpretation is. I tell my players, there’s Coach P and then there’s Gary. Coach P is two hours in practice and three hours on game day, and then there’s Gary; once they walk off the field, it’s about us. That’s what we do and how we do it. And Corey and Coach Shaw here are the same way as far as what we try to get done with young people. Try to make them into somebody. It’s help be an extension of their parents because they turned them loose to us for four years, we made a promise most of us sitting in their living room that we’d help them get a degree and help them grow up and do all that. Some of us still believe that winning is not the most important thing that we do.

Coach Shaw, you said a minute ago that with Bryce Love you hope he’s with you guys next year; is that still an open question? Basically what’s his status for the future?

DAVID SHAW: Yeah, he hasn’t made a decision I don’t believe. He’s just thought about the bowl game, and after the bowl game I’m sure he’ll talk to his family. We were able to spend a lot of time together going to the College Football Awards and Heisman and all that, and he’s just — he said, Coach, I’m just getting ready for the bowl game. I’ll worry about that other stuff when we worry about it. He’s just excited to go and play. I don’t know that he’s leaning one way or another. He really hasn’t put a lot into it. He’s just trying to get his ankle as healthy as it can be so he can come and play with his teammates tomorrow night.

GARY PATTERSON: Yeah, and I’m really excited about that, I want you guys to know, for him to have four weeks of rest. A healthy Bryce Love, just so we all — holy-moley.

On that very topic, who have been the running backs that your team has faced over the course of your career at TCU, and how does Bryce Love, talking specifically about breakaway-type running backs, and how does Bryce Love fit into that group?

GARY PATTERSON: Well, obviously he’s one of the best. Just in our four losses, two of them to Oklahoma and one to Georgia we played last year in the bowl game, the running backs they have at Georgia we played a year ago, which when you ask me types of teams, probably Georgia and Arkansas were also teams that are very similar to the way David — the way Stanford does things. But you’ve got those guys there, the guy that played at Oklahoma this year is very big and powerful. I wouldn’t say he’s the same, but he’s a good player. But we’ve seen some guys all the way back to playing Oklahoma with the guy that was playing at Minnesota that came out of Texas. We’ve seen some awfully good tailbacks in our time, and we’ve had some bad days and we’ve had some good days against those kind of guys. But what I do know that you have to do is you’ve got to play great leverage and you’ve got to be able to tackle. If you don’t do any of the above, then usually it doesn’t turn out real well for you.

But what I like best about Bryce Love just listening to David and watching from afar is just the way he handles everything else in life. Football is really important, and he wants to be a great player, it sounds like he wants to play at the NFL level, but the bottom line, he also wants to go into — wants to have a great profession when he gets done and help people and do things. I think that’s one of the things I think that sets him apart from a lot of the guys that we’ve played through, like an Adrian Peterson or the guys — I don’t know as much about the guys that are playing for Georgia. But I know in both cases, you have to play with a lot of energy and you have to play a team defense to be able to even slow down anybody that’s like that.

It’ll be a — and I’ll be honest with you, our kids were really excited — when you get to this time of the year, you don’t want to play — you watch some of these guys that didn’t play in bowl games, your kids, if you have a good football team, they don’t want to play against average. They didn’t come and play all year to play against average. They want to play against the best, win or lose. That’s what you step on the field for. You want to play against the Bryce Loves of the world. You want to play against their defensive tackle. You want to play against guys that are playing at a very high level because you always want to match yourself because it helps your resume. If you can play well, then you help — when the NFL guys turn on the film, it helps your stock because they see you play against good people, good offensive linemen, good defensive linemen, good tailbacks. If you can tackle him in open field and you’re a safety or you’re a linebacker or somebody like that, you help yourself. And so for our kids, and the way TCU has always approached things, we’ve always wanted to play against the very best, and definitely Bryce Love is one of the very best.

For us, that’s what it’s about, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. It’s just your kids — if you have kids that like to play the game, you don’t want to see two or three, you want to see the first one, because that’s what you got to the end of the season to do. That’s why you want to play in the biggest bowl you can play in or whatever you do because it gives you an opportunity to do that, and I think they’re really excited about that opportunity, just because of the kind of kid he is and the kind of player he is.

Gary, Kenny Hill, he started somewhere else with a flash, didn’t end up working out for him there, he came to you. It can’t necessarily be easy for a leadership position like that in a transfer. As a quarterback, how would you sum up his career with you at this point?

GARY PATTERSON: Well, you know what’s the interesting thing is I get known for a defensive guy but we have two NFL quarterbacks right now, Trevone and Andy Dalton, then Kenny. Really what I do with Kenny, which I think ended up — you don’t know when you do it whether it’s going to be smart or not, but basically I didn’t let him come to TCU initially. He’s from Southlake-Carroll, which is close, came back, he went to junior college for that spring, and we got all the hype off, the media off of him, and then he kind of just snuck into TCU in the summertime and he got a chance.

Basically I just told him that the only rules were that he had to come over to all the spring practices so I could get to know him. As a head coach you’re in charge of 120 some guys. Every individual is different. And you know, I knew him — we recruited him out of high school and he came from a great family, very athletic family, good parents, and so you know, so what is it that didn’t turn out the way it did.

To be honest with you, ever since he’s been at our place, he’s been great. School-wise, off the field. I’m sure there’s things I don’t know as a head coach. Head coaching is kind of like being a parent. You’re the last person sometimes to know. But usually in a town the size of Fort Worth, usually I have my little birds. I know pretty much what’s going on as a general — he’s been great. And I think he’s appreciated this second opportunity, and to be honest with you, we have, too. He’s really tried to be everything we’ve wanted him to be and within his abilities to help us win football games.

I think his emotion when we lost our first ballgame against Iowa State I think to me summed it all up because he was very upset at himself, at a lot of things, just because he was coming back here to prove that he was the kind of player that he left high school in. He’s going to walk out of here, he’s going to get his degree, and not only in football, but his dad was a baseball player, his younger brother is a baseball player, and he probably has an opportunity, to be honest with you, to be a guy that could go in the organization — be a guy that could be a baseball player. I allowed him, I think, last spring or this summer to work out, and so — to get his opportunity to be able — so they could see. He just said it went well. I didn’t ask any more. I figured I’d find out at the end of the season how that all went down.

But you know, again, it’s our job to help — we all have jobs, coaches, we have jobs because of young people. I think we forget sometimes it’s our job once we keep our jobs because they play well and they win ballgames, how do you pay them back. You pay them back at the end because they never quit being — for what we say, they never quit being Frogs. You’re still writing job recommendations, you’re still making phone calls, you’re still doing all the things that you need to do to make sure you give them a chance to be successful just like they’ve helped you become successful.