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TCU State of the Union - The Celebrated Thumping Frogs of Tarrant County

Wherein a small-town coach undergoes tribulation and hardship upon introduction to big city livin' in the Big XII.


In compliance with the request of a friend of mine hailing from the Northeast, who badgered me more or less ceaselessly on the matter, I called upon good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler. I inquired after my friend's friend, Gerald W. Patterson, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suscpicion that Gerald W. Patterson is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that my asking would remind Wheeler of the infamous Gary Patterson, and he would go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence as long and tedious as it was useless to me.

If that was the design, it succeeded.

I found Mr. Wheeler dozing in the cantina of a Fort Worth J Pepe's, a Tex-Mex establishment of middling repute where the eye was prone to wander fitfully between the cankles and the canker sores of the barmaids. Once roused, Wheeler gave me a bleary good day and I promptly inquired after Gerald W. Patterson. Wheeler swiftly ordered a brace of anjeo margaritas before sequestering the pair of us at a small table in the dingy corner of an establishment constructed near-entire from dingy corners. As we sat, he began to reel off the monotonous account which follows this paragraph. Throughout his interminable narrative ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity; which showed me plainly that he regarded his tale as a matter of supreme importance. I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once.

"Gerald W. Patterson - well, there was a feller 'round these parts by the name of Gary Patterson. He was absolutely the coachinest' sun of a gun you ever laid eyes on. All he ever wanted t' do was get up ta coachin' some young 'uns. Had this monotone voice, dead eyes like a shark's, but he could get them fellers runnin' iso's and robber coverages like they'd a-been doin' it in the cradle.

'Fore long, Gary had ambled into this neck of the woods and taken up the coachin' of some Frogs - Horned Frogs to be exact, seein' as how that was what they'd named their mascot. Now when he come along, these Frogs weren't no hifalutin' outfit like them Longhorns down south or them Sooners up Oklahoma way. Naw, they was a raggedy bunch in a rickety conference, and most years ol' Gary would have to make do with th' others' leavins' when it came to recruitin'. He'd take snips an' snails an' puppy dog tails an' three-star runnin' backs while all the fellers at the General Store was laughin' under their breath. But I'll be hornswaggled if he didn't win with them scrubs an' scallywags. He'd take that three-star runnin' back and roid him,"

At this point my interlocutor might have inadvertently directed a swallow of anejo down the wrong pipe, as he was wracked by a brief spasm of coughs before continuing:

"pardon me there, meant to say he'd ride him until that scrawny ol' three-star had packed on 40 pounds of beef and turnt into an All-Conference defensive end. Now this goes on and it goes on, and before you know it them Frogs had done won eleven, twelve games a season. They even went out California way and won that Grandaddy-of-em-all bowl game! They was a downright respectable outfit.

But you know, now, respectable ain't quite the same thing as respected. So them country Frogs decided what as they should step on up to some fancier livin', and joined themselves the Big Twelve - them showin' up only made for ten, but that's a whole 'nother story.

So it weren't long after joinin' up that ol' Gary took a stroll down Main Street. His chest was puffed out all prideful-like, and them Frogs 'a his were strollin' down the street behind him. Now who should he happen upon but Coach Brown, Coach Stoops an' Coach Gundy, all leanin' up again' the General Store hitchin' post and shootin' the bull like fellers will do.

So up strolls Gary, and Coach Brown, polite after his fashion, asks 'im, "Who might those gentlemen be that you have with you, stranger?" And Gary says, sorter indifferent-like, "They might be Raiders or Mustangs or Wildcats, but they ain't - they's only just Frogs."

Now ol' Coach Stoops, who weren't as given to politeness as Coach Brown, up and says, "H'm - well, what are they good for?"

"Well," Gary says, easy and careless, "they's good for one thing, I could judge - they can out-thump any other team in this here conference."

Now coach Gundy leans forward off the hitchin' post, looks 'em up and down and says, "Well, I don't see no p'ints about them Frogs that's better than any other Frogs."

"Maybe you don't," Gary says, "maybe you understand Frogs and maybe you don't understand 'em, but either way I'll risk forty dollars that they can out-thump your boys this comin' Fall."

Well now, if this didn't set some consternation on them Coaches' countenances. They put their heads together, whispered a bit an' then Coach Stoops up and says, "Stranger, we'll take that wager." Each in turn, they shook Gary's hand, and Gary says, "Welp - suppose I'd best get my boys ready for this rodeo. Good day, gents." And he led his Frogs back down the way so they could get back to practicin'.

Now after he was down the road a piece, those three Coaches put their heads together and took to whisperin' agin'. After a few moments, Coach Brown looks like he'd just swallered a live catfish and says, "I won't be party to these kinds of shady dealings!" and he up and heads home for some of his wife's fine baked goods. But Coach Stoops and Coach Gundy keep conspirin', and before long they head off their separate ways. And danged if they didn't ron-day-voo later that night at the general store. Ol' Coach Stoops had him a blackjack and a ski mask, while Coach Gundy was holdin' hisself a mighty big bag full o' pills an' powders. And I'll tell ya, they set to work on them Gary's poor fellers.

Coach Stoops goes runnin' around them Frogs' athletic dorm just layin' to with that blackjack. He got some linebackers name 'a Hasler and Heiss in the knee like Nancy Kerrigan, and put ol' Waymon James' feet up on blocks an' crushed 'em like Jimmy Caan in Misery. 'Afore long, that trainer's room was fuller'n Charlie Weiss' plate at Pancho's.

For his part, Coach Gundy started scatterin' them pills and them powders all about the Horned Frogs' dorms and practice facilities and the like. And a lot of them Frogs took a likin' to them pills and them powders, and before you knew it some team rules started to get broke. In fact, you could strap weddin' porcelain to a Pecos packmule's ass and it wouldn't get as broke as some of them team rules. And 'afore long, Frogs from the linebacker to the defensive tackle to the QB Pachall his own self had broken enough rules that they weren't welcome around any more.

So them Frogs did a lot less hoppin' and a lot more limpin' when they took the field that Fall, and that ten-win shine got knocked off mighty quick. In fact, of those three Coaches from the hitchin' post, only Coach Brown couldn't figger how to get past Gary's beat-up bunch. And it was a right sour look on Coach Brown's face when he paid up his forty bucks. A'course, I always figgered that if you steal five million, forty shouldn't be of no account, but that's neither here nor there.

I reckon that forty was cold comfort indeed for ol' Gary after a 4-5 conference record. Especially after he paid out to Coach Stoops an' Coach Gundy, an' Coach Gundy said to 'im, "I don't see no p'ints about them Frogs that's any better'n any other frogs," an' winked as he walked away.

So you reckon ol' Gary's ears were steamin' as he got ready for 2013. And after coachin' and coachin' (and welcoming ol' Pachall back, figgerin' he'd learnt his lesson), Gary figured he had a team ready to do some thumpin'.

His OL was still a bunch of youngins' but after a season of seasonin' he reckoned they could do the job well enough. Some sprightly back name of Catalon and a healed-up Waymon James were ready to shoulder the runnin' load, and with Ol' Pachall back in the fold throwin' to that speedy Brandon Carter and a couple of big fellas named Cam White and LaDarius Brown, well that Frog offense looked ready to hum.

A'course, defense was always Gary's pride an' joy, and that side of the ball looked even better. He'd finally landed one of them highly recruited fellers name a' Devonte Fields, and as a young pup Fields had put a powerful whuppin' on the Longhorns in their own house. He an' this brick shithouse of a DT named Chucky Hunter was all set to hold down the D-line. Gary had him a tacklin' machine named Joel Hasley to lead the linebackin', while his secondary was chock full of studs like Jason Verrett, Kevin White and Elisha Olabode.

Long story short, Gary felt so puffed-up about this bunch that we went up to those three coaches and DOUBLED his wager that his Frogs would be the ones thumpin' this year.

Well, some folks just don't learn their lessons, and it weren't long before Stoops and Gundy got up to their old tricks. That young stud Fields soon found hisself afoul of them pesky team rules and earned a two-game sitdown. And his tacklin' machine Hasley, as well as a big ol' guard named Tayo Fabuluje, left the team for personal reasons. That ol' blackjack got some work as well, and another OL in Michael Thompson got a whack on the knee that finished him for good and all.

Now ol' Gary may finally be learnin', so he's allowed as how maybe Fields didn't break rules that were all THAT bad. But he's still limpin' into another conference year, and we'll see if he can get up to any thumpin' or if he cain't."

Now Wheeler began to launch into a second narration about the prospects of the Red Raiders, but I lacked the time and the inclination to listen further and politely took my leave.