Between videoconferencing with players and staff, furiously planning for a multitude of possible college football scenarios, spending time with family, and helping in his community, TCU coach Gary Patterson is staying as busy as ever during this period of social distancing.
With practices and workouts on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Patterson is using his rare downtime to chase a dream: making music. He said he is working with a recording artist to make an album.
"I used to write music when I was younger," Patterson said Tuesday during a videoconference call with reporters. "I actually sent somebody some of my music, and somebody's going to record it."
Patterson won't say whom he is working with or divulge many details -- "I'm not letting somebody steal my music," he joked -- but he noted that the process is moving along well. He estimated that he has written about 15 songs over the course of 30 years, and some of the lyrics have been updated with some help.
"I've always wanted to be able to do it," he said. "They've already been in the studio, they've already put it on tracks, and we're going forward. That's something that I never thought I'd get to do because I always stayed so busy."
Added Patterson: "You might be really surprised when we get done with this. The guy that helped [rewrite] it, he put it in the modern age. If it hits No. 1, I'm gonna make all you guys all go out to some country place, and you're all going to have to dance to it."
Aside from his passion project, Patterson remains optimistic about the possibility of the football season occurring in some form or fashion. He said he has made multiple plans for different scenarios of how many practices his team might have during an altered training camp and has discussed countless possibilities for safety measures when his team is allowed to resume workouts, including staggering weight room sessions for groups of 10 or fewer at a time and having players not sit next to one another during meals.
He repeatedly stressed that he and his coaching counterparts will have to rely upon "the higher-ups" -- government officials and health experts -- to give them the green light to ensure that players and students are safe.
"I think there will be [a season]," Patterson said. "I think my optimism is very high. That's why I'm doing all the things I'm doing. At some point in time, whether it's fall or spring or it's shortened, whatever it is, we're talking about five, six, seven, eight different options. The closer we get to June 1, and people are starting to open things up more a little bit here in May, I think we're going to be able to make a lot better decision on what all that looks like. But right now, I think everything changes day to day."
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that the state's stay-at-home order will expire at the end of the month, and some businesses will be able to reopen at 25% capacity on May 1 as part of a phased reopening of the state's economy.
Patterson said more testing is necessary to ensure that it's safe for players to resume team activities. He mentioned that he is likely to have an antibody test himself, possibly later this week.
"Do coaches and players need to get tested every day or every two days? There's just a lot of unknowns right now," he said. "Our doctors and our trainers, our chancellors, we're working on a plan of what that looks like, so if we do have an opportunity to do it, that we're able to do it safely."
One thing Patterson is certain of is that whenever football does resume, it will be different.
"We're finding out, whether it's sports or just on your own block, our lives have changed," he said.
He pondered that it could be fodder for another song.
"Some of it slowing down, to be honest with you, is for the better," he said. "Maybe I'll write a song about taking that deep breath, see what that looks like."
Is he already working on the lyrics?
"Yeah, I might," he said. "You guys will be the first ones to hear it. I'll do a Zoom call and get the guitar out."