The final pre-game press conference with TCU head coach Gary Patterson and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema took place today in Los Angeles. This is the first of two parts featuring select quotes from Gary Patterson. Questions were posed by a variety of sportswriters in attendance.

On his impressions of Wisconsin’s heralded offensive line:

“They’re big. They’ve scored a lot of points and they’re very physical. But since we started ten years ago or 13 years ago at TCU, everyone’s been bigger and faster. So, we’ve been doing this a long time. We’re 15-3 against BCS opponents. I think we’re the last team to beat Oklahoma in Norman. So this won’t be our first rodeo.

courtesy Kirby Lee/Image of Sport

If you were on the outside looking in, what would scare you more, TCU’s defense or the Badgers’ offense?

“I’ll be honest with you, I think the match-up that will be the most interesting tomorrow that I think will make an even bigger difference is TCU’s offense versus Wisconsin’s defense. That was the one thing against Utah we were able to do. We were able to start early and get up and get going, so it didn’t turn into a slugfest. That is probably one of the formulas we have to do tomorrow to be able to beat Wisconsin.”

How many coaching opportunities have you seriously considered to go elsewhere since you’ve been at TCU?

“Seriously, probably three or four. But as you know, whether it’s in football or the business world, whatever it is, one of the things in 27 years I’ve learned – and I’ve moved a lot – if you look at my resume, I came the low road … my way of doing things is to make sure that the grass is not always greener. It’s to always enjoy the people .

… What’s helped me at TCU is I’ve become part of the talent and I’ve become part of the administration there … When a university and a town gives you all the things that they’ve been able to give us, I think you should show that loyalty back. Up to this point, I’ve never found somewhere that if you looked at all the intangibles, that was better. So that’s why I’m still here.”

What does that trophy to the right of you mean to you, coach?

“Probably a hospital bed, because I’ll probably faint …

Because if you think about where we came from 13 years ago, we had to walk a mile and a half to the practice field. We had to pull partitions in an old weight room to have meetings. We didn’t really have any office space. We didn’t have an indoor practice field … To be able to say you won the Rose Bowl would be quite an accomplishment, and it wouldn’t be in a braggish way, it would be more of, hey, if you only knew where we came from …

If you know where we came from, you understand why we play with a chip on our shoulder.”

With all the preparation and expectation of celebration, let’s fast forward to tomorrow. What will the headlines read and why?

“Oh, I don’t know. Right now I’m trying to decide which blitz to call. But I would say this to you. Unless you’ve been inside and you’re part of the Mountain West and you’ve played against us, I don’t think you know much about TCU.

What about your outlook and anticipation? People are going to look at this game as a sort of measuring stick of BCS versus non-BCS, and the selection process, perhaps. What are your thoughts on that sort of big school – little school perception and the result?

courtesy Kirby Lee/Image of Sport

“Well, I’d probably ask you guys this question: If we do win, and it’s Sunday, how are you going to write it? Are you going to write that Wisconsin didn’t play well, or because TCU won the ballgame? Because that’s what we’ve gotten for 13 years.

Even in the state of Texas, we’ve battled the Cowboys and the Longhorns and all the groups. People always ask me, how do you measure up against the Mountain West? We’ll we’ve never measured against the Mountain West. We’ve always been measured against the State of Texas, where you have the Big 12, and the SEC that come in and recruit …

Can you comment on the logos we’ve seen with the rose stem in the horned frog’s mouth? It’s been a hot-selling t-shirt at the hotel.

“It’s a good advertisement (laughing). They put it on our equipment truck. It kind of looked cool, so we’ve been a part of it.

… We only get one chance to be in the Rose Bowl … the other night I was listening to Mr. Frank’s talk [Richard N. Frank, chairman of Lawry’s Restaurants and founder of Lawry’s Beef Bowl] and he’s been feeding Rose Bowl teams for 55 years at Lawry’s, and had a young man that was just a walk-on come into his restaurant a couple weeks ago. He wouldn’t know him from anywhere but he was on the 1974 Rose Bowl team for somebody, and just talked about what a great experience it was.

My kids are going to remember this for the rest of their life. So the rose is just one more thing.”

Let’s talk a little shop for a second. What does Tejay (Tejay Johnson, TCU free safety) need to recognize and call out with the burden that falls to him before the weak snap?

“The free safety and weak safety are both quarterbacks. They control their line of scrimmage. Any time you play a great run team that is a great play action team, you have to play with your eyes. they have a great tight end in Kendrick that you have to be able to control. You’re not going to stop, you have to control.

… It’s kind of like playing Air Force in a lot of ways. But safeties will have to make a lot of tackles. Our whole thing is to make people go sideways in the way we set up our defense, so if we’re able to do that, then the safeties have to make tackles. In general, every year one of our linebackers is a leading tackler. And usually, the number two and three tacklers will be two of our three safeties.

So, Tejay’s got to be able to look, read quarterback, and you’ve got to to to your verticals, play run, and play leverage. With the three backs they have, they stay fresh. We’ve got to be great tacklers.

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