One reason No. 6 TCU continues to be successful is coach Gary Patterson isn't afraid to let his coaches coach. A prime example occurred on the opening drive of the third quarter Saturday in the Horned Frogs' 30-21 victory against No. 24 Oregon State.
With TCU leading 21-14 coming out of halftime, the Frogs were dominating the line of scrimmage and gaining chunks of yardage on the ground. Eleven plays into the drive, TCU rushed seven times to the Oregon State 14-yard line where it set up for a third-and-1. Running backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker were both finding big holes, but Frogs co-offensive coordinators Jarrett Anderson and Justin Fuente sent down a play that called for quarterback Andy Dalton to roll right and lead tight end Evan Frosch.
Only Oregon State linebacker Dwight Roberson sniffed it out and and made a pretty interception to end a drive that threatened to give TCU a 14-point lead and all the momentum. The Beavers capitalized on the turnover with a touchdown to tie the game at 21-21.
Patterson said he wasn't surprised by the play call because he was listening on the head set. But, he didn't jump in to question the pass play in the short-yardage situation when the ground game was punishing the Beavers.
"Myself, I would not have chose it," Patterson said of the call. "But, I mean that's not my job. They probably wonder sometimes when I call the defenses that I call. Going into Friday, I know what's going to go on. They did a great job a year ago and I thought they did a great job [Saturday]."
Allowing assistants to coach without being second-guessed is critical to success. So, too, is accountability. Dalton said he wasn't surprised by the play call either because they practice it all the time. The senior quarterback, who passed Sammy Baugh to become TCU's all-time wins leader with 30, said not executing the first down came down to a poor decision on his part.
"I shouldn't have thrown it," Dalton said. "I should have run it for a first down."