Gary Patterson is no different from his peers. Like any football coach, he’s always looking for an edge, always seeking tweaks that might improve the program.
Earlier this year, the TCU coach got a first-hand chance to assess how the school rehabilitates injuries.
The day after the Frogs’ record-setting comeback to win the Alamo Bowl, Patterson underwent knee replacement surgery. He’s now pain free and more mobile – a good thing for a coach known for his ceaseless pacing of the sideline during games.
Spending time in the training room gave him a different perspective, not only on how the training staff deals with injured athletes but how the injured athletes deal with the training staff.
“I saw guys showing up late for their rehab, guys leaving rehab not sweatin’,” Patterson said. “When the head coach is sweatin’ after rehab … so I helped tweak the process.”
You can bet that injured TCU players are now showing up on time and doing the work prescribed by the trainers.
Patterson had a lot to say:
“If you can’t practice or play because you’re injured, there are other things you can do. Your job is to go to rehab, be there on time and work hard. You have to be dedicated to your rehab just like you are to practice or the weight room.
“One thing I learned is being a great patient means you have to give great information. If they asked me a question, you don’t lie. Some days my knee was stiff and we just stretched it. Other days working on the weights, I didn’t feel it was working my knee and they’d add some weight.”
But Patterson was far from a perfect patient. Two weeks after the surgery, Patterson was pushing it and his knee was not looking good.
“He gave me two choices,” the 56-year-old coach said. “Either go get some rest and get off my feet or go back in the hospital.
“But recruiting is recruiting.”
Seth Russell’s West Virginia connection
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell’s 2015 season ended on a nondescript hit in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ victory over Iowa State. What appeared to be a “stinger” turned out to be a fractured a vertebrae in his neck. His season — possibly his football career — was over.
Yet, as much as the injury was a fateful intersection with bad luck, Russell’s recovery was fueled by happy happenstance.
Dr. Joshua Russell, 29, is Seth’s older brother. He works in Morgantown at West Virginia University Hospitals. After talking to his brother and father, Joshua asked the imagery of the injury to be sent to him. Then he took it to Dr. Sanford Emery at the WVU Spine Center.
“He’s the head honcho of all the orthopedics in North America,” Joshua Russell said. “He’s ‘the guy.’ It’s purely a godsend that he was here.”
A spine surgeon in Dallas recommended surgery and that Seth end his football career. So, they turned to Emery, who completed the single-level fusion surgery on Oct. 30. While Seth was recovering in Morgantown, WVU quarterback Skyler Howard, a fellow Texan, stopped by to visit.
Seth says that he’ll remember meeting Howard and that they’re on track to remain friends. The Baylor quarterback is also thankful that his brother just happened to be practicing his profession at the same hospital where Emery, who is the president of the American Orthopaedic Association, works.
“It’s pretty cool how God puts you in certain situations,” Seth Russell said. “He put my brother in a place where I would need him, that had one of the best surgeons in the world at that particular part of the body.”
From “ripe” to “insane”
Kansas is putting the finishing touches on a refurbished locker room on the ground floor of Anderson Family Football Complex. Sunday night, the players were allowed inside to see their new digs. While the $2 million in renovations were going on, the players were housed in an old room underneath Memorial Stadium. Imagine over 100 sweaty players in a “locker room” with next to no ventilation.
“I guess the word ripe comes to mind in terms of the way that room smelled,” Kansas coach David Beaty said Monday on the Big 12 coaches’ conference call.
In the new room the lockers are personalized for each player and are equipped to charge their phones, with special filtered compartments to air out their cleats, shoes and shoulder pads.
“This is insane,” junior linebacker Joe Dineen said in a video supplied by the school. “This is a lot nicer than I expected it to be. A lot of room. Even like the little gadgets inside the locker are just insane.”
In addition to the renovated locker room, the players’ lounge has been upgraded. It now features a pool table, shuffleboard, foosball, air hockey, pop-a-shot, arcade games, a barber shop, cushy theater-style seats and big-screen televisions connected to video game consoles.
“This definitely helps out recruiting a lot,” senior safety Fish Smithson said. “You know kids these days, they want to see what makes your program different.”
- Kansas State is projected to have one of the top defenses in the Big 12 and the Wildcats will face a huge challenge in Friday’s opener at Stanford. Not only will K-State try to slow down junior running back Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal offense finished last season on an incredible roll. After scoring just six points in the season-opening loss at Northwestern, Stanford scored 30 or more points in its next 13 games. That’s the longest active streak in the FBS.
- Before the season starts, we have to give the Big 12 Conference’s website a turnover. Big12Sports.com posted a story about the preseason watch list for the Manning Award. The list of the top 30 quarterbacks, according to the Big 12 release, includes Seth Russell (Baylor), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) and Pat Mahomes (Texas Tech). West Virginia’s Skyler Howard made the list but was omitted from the list originally posted by the Big 12.
- Texas has one of the most inexperienced offensive lines in the country and now it has one of the most dinged-up units. Freshman center Zach Shackelford and junior tackle Tristan Nickelson suffered injuries early in pre-season practice, and it’s uncertain if they’ll be available for Sunday’s opener against Notre Dame. The latest injury befell sophomore left guard Patrick Vahe, who suffered a sprained ankle. Redshirt freshman tackle Buck Major is sidelined after undergoing surgery for a torn finger ligament.
The last word
Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford on forgetting about 2015, which featured one of the worst defenses in school history:
“Guys were talking about last year, and I forgot about last year. I’m an old DB. You keep thinking about what happened in the past — good or bad — you’re going to stay in the past.”