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Sports Friends face off when Minnesota goes to TCU

Friends face off when Minnesota goes to TCU

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill was in TCU coach Gary Patterson’s wedding a decade ago.

The two coaches are good friends, even though the fellow Kansas natives have never been on the same staff together. When Kill left Pittsburg State (Kansas) after the 1987 season, it was Patterson who filled the vacancy on coach Dennis Franchione’s staff.

“(Franchione) coached me, and Gary and him worked together and that’s how that bond started,” said Kill, who has been both an offensive and defensive coordinator. “We shared ideas and just got to be friends through that, and stayed friends.”

Now they are somewhat reluctantly playing each other as the Golden Gophers (2-0) visit TCU (1-0) on Saturday.

Patterson said the two friends had a long conversation about whether to have the series — the Horned Frogs go to Minneapolis for a season opener next year.

“Friends don’t like to play friends any time,” Patterson said. “Obviously, it’s always tough. But both of us got jobs to do, both of us got mouths to feed, and so for one week, you got to get after each other and get ready to play.”

Patterson went to TCU with Franchione as defensive coordinator, then succeeded him as head coach. Patterson asked Kill to be his offensive coordinator, but Kill was headed to Southern Illinois to be head coach.

Tracy Claeys, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator since Kill got there after the 2010 season, annually visits TCU and the defensive-minded Patterson.

“Some games, the way we’ve played, he probably wouldn’t want me to say I’ve learned anything from him because we haven’t played as well as he has,” said Claeys, whose squad had given up more than 400 yards in both games this season.

Here are a few notable things about TCU’s home game against Minnesota:

HEADED HOME: Minnesota RB David Cobb is back in his native state to play at TCU, about 150 miles north of his hometown of Killeen, Texas. The senior had a career-best 220 rushing yards in a victory over Middle Tennessee, the most for the Gophers since 2005.

BIG-PLAY BOYKIN: Trevone Boykin adjusted quite well to TCU’s up-tempo offense. “I think it simplified it. I think he’s also more mature,” Patterson said of the redshirt junior quarterback. Boykin had a career-high 29 completions on 41 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and also had a 1-yard TD run in the season opener.

TOUGH ONE: Golden Gophers QB Mitch Leidner is expected to play against TCU, a week after coming out of the game against Middle Tennessee State when he was hit on the left knee while throwing a pass. Backup quarterback Chris Streveler was preparing in case, but even he said this week that he was “pretty confident” Leidner would play.

FAST FROGS: TCU ran 96 plays from scrimmage in the debut of its new offense, piling up 555 total yards and 33 first downs two weeks ago in a 48-14 win over FCS team Samford. “They are going to snap it about every 15, 16 seconds,” Kill said. “I know Gary well enough that he’ll come out and do some things that he didn’t show in the first game.” The Horned Frogs had an off week before playing the Gophers — and another one next week.

WACKER BOWL: Jim Wacker was TCU’s coach from 1983-91, then left Fort Worth to become Minnesota’s coach from 1992-96. This season marks the 30th anniversary of Wacker’s most successful season at TCU, when the Horned Frogs were 8-4 in 1984.





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