NORMAN, Okla. —
Derek Patterson hasn’t changed much since his days at Kingfisher High School when he quarterbacked the Yellowjackets to back-to-back state championship games.
It’s still all about winning.
Which is why he wasn’t looking forward to having an open date following a 51-20 loss to Oklahoma Saturday.
“Nobody gets used to losing,’’ said Patterson whose Golden Hurricane dropped to 1-2 with the loss. “After a loss, you want to get that taste out of your mouth, We know we have next week to go back to the drawing board, then it’s getting ready for Iowa State (Sept. 26). We still have to get better.’’
Patterson came into the game as both TU’s leading receiver for yardage (106 yards) and touchdowns (two). But he had only one reception for three yards Saturday.
“That’s not on me,’’ Patterson said. “It’s a team thing. I’m not worried about it. We played well as a team (321 yards), we beat ourselves really.’’
The Golden Hurricane’s game plan, Patterson said, was to establish the run. Teammate Trey Watts, whose father J.C. was a star quarterback at OU from 1976-80, rushed for 60 yards and had another 65 in receptions. Jordan James had six catches for 100 yards.
“My role on the team is whatever the coach wants,’’ Patterson said. “Whatever play is called, I try to give it my best, whether it’s to block on a run or run a route, I try do to that.’’
Patterson’s role could be changing after Keyarris Garrett, TU’s leading receiver from a year ago, went down for the season after breaking his leg against Colorado State.
“We had to make some changes this week because of Keyarris,’’ he said. “We adjusted to it fine this week. The guys who moved around played well.’’
Patterson can put his numbers in perspective. He had three catches for 29 yards all last season when he contributed primarily on special teams.
“It is a little more fun this year,’’ he said. “Nobody wants to sit on the sidelines and watch. Everyone has to wait their turn. I definitely paid my dues.
“You just feel like you contribute a little more when you’re starting. When you’re celebrating a win in the locker room, it’s more fun knowing you contributed a little more.’’
He had touchdown receptions in a 34-7 loss to Bowling Green and a 30-27 overtime win over Colorado State.
“I hadn’t thought about that too much,’’ said Patterson when asked if he was ahead of where he thought he may be. “Everyone wants to score. If we execute a play and it’s somebody that scores, it’s just great to me.’’
Patterson earned his starting spot with a strong preseason camp. Being a former quarterback proved to be an advantage.
“At first, I thought I would try to learn one position, one route,’’ Patterson said. “Coach (TU’s head coach Bill) Blankenship sat me down and said ‘You’re a quarterback, think like a quarterback, think of the concept of how the quarterback is going to be.’
“I think that helped me out after my redshirt year. We know where the windows are going to be. You know if they’re going to be playing inside or outside.’’
He now sees himself as a receiver.
“I’m done with that quarterback stuff,’’ he said with a smile. “I miss it every now and then, but that’s in the distant past. I don’t think about it that much now.’’
He credits his starting “to just knowing the offense better.’’
“Proving myself on special teams last year helped me get in the role on offense this year,’’ he said. “I just try to keep it that way.’’
But he is not content with his play.
“I’ve gotten the receiver part down better, but I can still make improvements every week,’’ he said. “You always have to go back to the drawing board.’’
He said he has “great chemistry’’ with TU quarterback Cody Green.
The announced crowd of 84,229 was by far the largest crowd he had ever played before. Patterson was redshirted two years ago when TU last visited OU.
“You notice it at the beginning, but after the first drive, it was pretty irrelevant,’’ Patterson said. “You could tell when it got loud, but it wasn’t a big thing to me.’’
What is a big thing for Patterson is for TU to repeat as Conference USA champions in its final year in the league.
“I just want to win,’’ he said about his goals for the year. “I think that (leaving C-USA) gives us more motivation. We want to go out on top. I think we can have another good year in Conference USA and try to win another championship.’’
He hasn’t changed much since leaving Kingfisher. The Bible remains his favorite book and ex-Yellowjacket Curtis Lofton, now of the New Orleans Saints, remains his favorite player.
“Just talked to Curtis a few weeks ago,’’ he said. “He’s doing well.’’
So is Patterson
Notes: Ex-Hennessey star Derrick Luetjen was credited with two solo and two assised tackles for TU. Ex-Enid product Colby Scott saw some action at fullback for the Golden Hurricane.