During Gary Pattersonâ€™s tenure at Texas Christian University he has earned a reputation as a defensive coach â€” with good reason.
His undefeated, Rose Bowl-winning team last season ranked first in the nation in team defense and scoring, giving up a paltry 12 points per game.
But the offense often gets overlooked. Last yearâ€™s team ranked fourth in the nation in scoring at almost 42 points a game while being led by current NFL Rookie of the Year candidate Andy Dalton.
This year has seen no noticeable drop-off with sophomore Casey Pachall taking the reins behind center.
â€œThey are impressive. Theyâ€™ve done a nice job,â€ CSU coach Steve Fairchild said. â€œTheyâ€™ve got tremendous skill, and not just good skill, fast good skill.â€
Fairchild says TCU (8-2, 5-0 MW) hasnâ€™t had to alter its offense at all to make up for the loss of Dalton. And Pachall has such a strong arm that the offense can use the whole width of the field to make plays many quarterbacks canâ€™t make.
â€œAs a defensive coordinator, (if the) ballâ€™s outside the hash (marks), you can have anything outside the numbers,â€ Fairchild said. â€œNine out of 10 guys arenâ€™t going to make that throw over there. Heâ€™s the guy thatâ€™s going to. All of a sudden the ballâ€™s out there complete and their guy is running around with it.â€
CSU (3-6, 1-3 MW) defenders will have to ignore that defensive philosophy, and be on their toes to avoid getting exploited by Pachallâ€™s strong arm.
â€œYou canâ€™t fall asleep, especially that corner to that (far) side of the field,â€ safety Ivory Herd said. â€œYouâ€™ve got to know that he might make that throw.â€
And the numbers show that the offense hasnâ€™t experienced a fall-off at all.
TCU ranks second in the conference in every major offensive category, rush offense, pass offense and total offense. They are also second behind Boise State in scoring at 41 points per game.
Combine those numbers with a CSU offense that will most likely be led by its backup, freshman quarterback, and the pressure is on the Rams defense to make it a game.
â€œTheyâ€™re going to move the ball,â€ Fairchild said. â€œTo have a chance youâ€™re going to have to turn the ball over and hope for some negative plays, try and create some negative plays.â€
Now with CSUâ€™s bowl-hopes disappearing fast, the game is a pride-check for the Rams.
â€œWeâ€™re coming through the last three games of the season, we donâ€™t want to drop off,â€ Herd said. â€œWe want to continue to improve and show people weâ€™re not going to give up.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.
Rush: 208 ypg
Pass: 249 ypg
Total: 457 ypg
Scoring: 41 ppg
The game: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Watch it: Versus