Most coaches act like they never read anything in the media about their teams or games. Not TCU’s head man.
Patterson made no bones about the fact he reads what is said – including something by a Georgia player the day before. At one point in the press conference, when he was asked about some potential strategy, Patterson declined, saying he didn’t want to divulge anything.
“Kirby Smart’s sitting over there so I’m telling him everything,” Patterson said. “It’s kind of like how I was reading in the paper that one of their offensive linemen in the media talked about our slanting. … Right now I’m not giving Georgia anything. They don’t need much help.”
That appeared to be a reference not to an offensive lineman but to Georgia tight end Jeb Blazevich, who was offering a compliment to TCU’s defense. Blazevich said the Horned Frogs were “really good at slanting. I feel like they’re really good at winning their gap when they do slant. There is a field blitz where they slant hard to the boundary. They’re a little bit more unorthodox compared to what we’re used to.
“We’re used to huge guys right up in your face. They’re kind of smaller guys backed up off the ball, but they make up for that. That’s where their niche is—their speed and slanting in the gaps and flying around. I think they play well together. It looks like they have a lot of fun. I know they have a lot of speed off the edge. I think that’s the biggest thing we’re going to have to overcome, just adapting to their speed because they don’t have the size advantage that a lot of other teams have.”
On one level, I don’t think this is that big a deal. Patterson knows better than anyone, including Blazevich and Georgia’s staff, what he runs on defense, so I doubt this has any significant effect on TCU’s scheme and preparation for today’s game. But from a mind games standpoint, letting Georgia’s players and coaches know that he’s aware of what they’re prepping for, maybe that plants a small seed for overthinking on a play or two. Who knows? When you’ve been around the block as many times as Patterson has, you take any edge you think you can get.