Around the same time that President Barack Obama was in Dallas for the memorial of the police officers killed in last week’s shooting, TCU head football coach Gary Patterson spoke to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, addressing themes like race relations in athletics.
“I’ve been in this business for 34 years and I don’t see color,” he said.
Patterson spoke briefly about the Dallas shooting that killed five officers during a peaceful protest for the black men killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. He said his son is a rookie officer for the Fort Worth Police Department, patrolling the west side of Fort Worth.
Patterson said that no matter the person, society should focus on character, not race.
“The way I judge everything, especially even on my team, is there’s good and there’s bad,” he said. “What you try to do is you try to work on the bad and you try to enhance the good.”
Patterson spoke to about 280 business professionals and government leaders at the Chamber’s Annual Texas Christian University Football Preview luncheon on July 12. While he briefly discussed the Dallas shooting, he also talked about football – specifically, how his team is rebuilding after losing stars like quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson to the NFL.
Without Boykin, TCU’s quarterback frontrunners are sophomore Foster Sawyer and junior Kenny Hill, who transferred from Texas A&M last year. TCU fans have gotten used to Boykin’s fast-moving, dual-threat style in the past two years, but this year, Patterson said he’s not expecting the next quarterback to be a Boykin copy.
“You can’t make them somebody they’re not,” Patterson said. “We’re going to find the guy that can move our offense the best and score the most points and be a leader and get us where we need to get to.”
While the offense may be young, the defense is more experienced. Senior linemen like Josh Carraway and James McFarland are returning, as well as players like junior linebacker Travin Howard, senior safety Denzel Johnson and junior cornerback Ranthony Texada.
“Last year, the leaders were on our offensive group because of the amount of seniors that we had and the guys that played,” Patterson said. “This year, it’s shifted to the defensive side.”
But no matter which side of the ball the player is on, Patterson said that dealing with students between the ages of 18 and 22 is challenging. He said he hopes that players, regardless of their background, will consider what kind of reputation they’re building both on the field and in the real world.
“We deal with all walks of life – that’s the one thing coaches have always done,” he said. “As I said, my thing is about [trying] to help people get better. Good is good, and bad is bad. We’ve just got to keep moving forward in that direction.”