What the H?
Those five words are really all that needed to have been taken away from last night's Dallas Coaches Event. Those five words, uttered by Gary Patterson almost in passing during his sub-10 minute speech, more or less made the price of admission worth it. And, to be honest, I'm not sure everyone heard him say them based on the lack of reaction, although that could've been because it was stuck in the midst of a drivelly story letting us married folk know how much we'd "outkicked our coverage" in the looks department. A naysayer might suggest it was just a bit of coachspeak intended to appease a room full of boosters and normally I'd be with them. However, it's the way it just slipped into his speech without any fanfare that makes me think he really means it. So, SPITBLOOD BREAKING NEWS: GARY PATTERSON SIGNS LIFETIME CONTRACT!!!
Other than that though? It was a meh-tastic evening filled with mailed in speeches with no vital information of any kind offered. I'm glad that I went, but if I hadn't made it and later found out what was said, I wouldn't be kicking myself this morning. I understand why this has happened. When I first began attending these coaching dinners we were still in the MWC, hadn't made a BCS Bowl, and they were held in a barn in Plano with 100 people, 99 of them owning male genitalia. At that point there were no more than 5 young alumni in attendance, 3 of them being myself, WWHD and lyle (RIP), and the only amenities were whatever beer distributor ponied up a few free cases that would inevitably run out and lukewarm Dickie's BBQ. Now? The event has moved to a museum in Dallas, there are 500+ people with at least a quarter of them being young alumni and former players, J Black's waitresses and their up tops were providing drank which included MULTIPLE beer varietals and there was even a station serving wine, margaritas and brown water. In fact, the only thing that remains the same is the lukewarm Dickie's, except now that the event is all indoors the only flies in the food are the ones that fall through the cook's hairnet.
But, the main reason for this perceived meh is, of course, the success of Gary Patterson and his inevitable change from cornered dog to stadjium erectin' politician and keeper of football secrets. Even if you weren't in attendance last night you've noticed some of the changes, such as closing practices and cancelling the spring game. Given, Patterson was never too keen on opening his practices to the public like some other schools, but this became even more of a necessity this year based on the fact that the element of unfamiliarity is going to be an advantage for the Frogs in year one. Also, just in case you forgot, there were a few "headaches" this off-season, so any avenue of limiting distractions was going to be taken, even if it meant taking the rare step of barring the media as well. But, whereas at past coaching events where Patterson would talk for 10-15 minutes, giving a speech that was sprinkled with useful tidbits and jabs at opponents, then spend the same amount of time doing Q&A, last night he spoke for MAYBE 8 minutes, almost all coachspeak, then walked off the stage without any sort of fanfare. Not that there's anything wrong with it; GP will always be GP, even if he smiles a lot more than he used to. But, at least for the sake of speaking in front of a large group of people, we'll likely never return to the days of angry, frowny Patterson MC'ing a frenzied hootenanny of hate. He didn't even rip on the kicking game! What gives? The price of success, I suppose. No one said it was all fun and games.
So for those of you reading this post hoping for a snippet of information about a certain open coaching position, sorry, the goods were not delivered or even addressed. Same goes for anyone wanting to hear about what he expects from the freshmen or who is going to play backup QB. As for what WAS said? Well, here goes, in bullet form. Just a fair warning, don't expect much:
- GP has been here 15 years, and Schloss has been here 10. That shit CRAY.
- GP believes that Fort Worth is the best destination city in the Big 12 (agreed).
- GP would not offer up any team-specific hate. but said he will hate every team we play more than we could ever hope to for those 3 hours on Saturday.
- GP is firmly behind upgrading the basketball facilities to help Coach Johnson.
- GP one day wants to attend a tailgate, preferably in Lot 4.
And really, that's about it. He thanked the crowd and quickly exited stage left. We still love you, Gary, but give us something we can use! Let's just hope he was going home to his film room to check the tape on Texas and abuse his Ross Evans filled punching bag.
As for the others, the man I was most interested in hearing was Trent Johnson, just to feel him out and see if he is as verbally uninspiring as the LSU contingent claimed. To that account, I can say I disagree with them. Oh, true, Coach Johnson has about as many expressions in his repertoire as Tio from Breaking Bad, but he has a very dry demeanor and he's pretty blunt about expectations, even if they are as low as ours. It's possible after watching Les Miles eat grass and clap without bending his fingers for so many years, LSU fans simply became confused by a well-behaved gentleman that could have a quiet dinner at Galatoire's. We can forgive their caste for drawing such hasty conclusions, for they know not what they say.
As for that honesty, Johnson didn't sugarcoat things and basically put it that, other than Amric Fields, the team has a pretty low basketball IQ and a long ways to go towards competing in the Big 12, although he did suggest that the non-con schedule "sets up nicely" for success. read: YUMMY CUPCAKES NOM NOM NOM. Good recruiting can change things but, of course, it's a pretty chicken and egg proposition when you consider the sad state of our facilities. He acknowledged that there was a lot of winning going on by our baseball and football teams before the money came flowing in, but the way he spoke makes you believe that CDC and the board assured him that they will do all they in the way of infrastructural improvements to put him on leveler ground with the Conference. We'll never have an Allen Fieldhouse or Erwin Center on campus, but even upgrading the locker rooms and dank walkways at the DMC would go a long way towards setting the Frogs on the right path. Given our local recruiting pool and Big 12 tag, not to mention the brand name that TCU has become thanks to GP, a few minor tweaks can go a long way towards fixing things on the hardwood. A basketball program can undoubtedly be the quickest program to turn around on a college campus. I believe Johnson is going to do his part to the best of his abilities. Now the athletic department needs to do theirs. Come on, big donors! Stop being so poor!
Moving on, Schloss is very positive about next year's team, pointing out that by the end of last season we were starting 5 freshmen and still made the second weekend. He also pointed out that of the 530 some odd innings pitched last year, the staff returns 480 of them. In other words, pitching should not be a problem. Baseball has lost 4 incoming players to the MLB Draft and there are 3 more with offers that have until today to sign. He sounded positive about those guys making it to campus, though. He's very excited about the Big 12 move and what it will do for his program. He didn't come out and say he knows his team is the best situated for immediate success in the Big 12, but his expression showed it. As for scheduling, Cal State-Fullerton is coming to FW this year as they did 2 years ago and the Frogs will open the season on the road against Ole Miss. He also strongly hinted that our last home series of the year would feature the long awaited return of the Longhorns to Fort Worth. lyle's immediate reaction, "I'm gonna get drunk that weekend." Lastly, he made some mention of moving in the fences at Lupton in order to help his offense. Presuming this isn't some sort of insider baseball joke, perhaps he should wait a year on that considering the pitching he is currently blessed with?
As for the rest of them, let's cut to the chase:
- The swim team coach was there. My notes say he has a "buoyant" appearance, so I suppose the shoe fits. Apparently we have 2 swimmers either in the Olympics or that competed in the Olympic trials. I'm probably not going to watch to find out if it is the former or latter.
- Jeff Mittie talked about how tough it's going to be for our women's bball team, but that they were young last year so they should be better. He also said something about Baylor's Britney Grenier being a beast and how they needed to "check her out" or something to that nature. Was Coach insinuating that Britney Grenier was born a man? Because I am. He mentioned that she is the best women's basketball player alive which made me wonder why on earth she is still at Baylor. Then I remembered that the WNBA is not a viable career path if you want to make rent and it all made sense.
- If there was a happiest man in the room award, it'd almost certainly have to go to CDC. After upgrading Rice, he moves to TCU and in a few short years has a Rose Bowl win, 2 BCS Conference invites and a brand, spanking new, privately funded football stadium and if you don't think that last one is important, just ask Waco. He's only made one coaching hire thus far in Trent Johnson, but everyone is cautiously optimistic that he's the right man for the job. If he hits on that one, he should probably just burn the Athletic Director's office to the ground and drive away into the sunset. You could say he arrived at the absolute PERFECT time in TCU's history to be successful, but you can't fault him for being opportune. The fact is the man is absolutely on fire right now and we're glad to have him. That's why I'll forgive him for his 2-minute, uninformative speech.
That's about it. Any other commenters who were also there fill us in in the comments.