Patterson addresses media in first luncheon of the season

Football coach Gary Patterson held his first media luncheon of the year Tuesday afternoon and discussed Saturday’s game at Virginia with reporters from several media outlets.Patterson said he is ready for the season opener.

“For me, because of watching everyone else play (last weekend), it raised my intensity for this ballgame because I got to watch everyone else play plus had a little bit more time (to prepare,)” Patterson said.

The coach had a casual lunch with media members in attendance before moving in to the Four Sevens Team Room to take questions. Topics ranged from specifics about game planning for Virginia to his thoughts on BYU’s upset of Oklahoma.

Patterson said he was not surprised by the upset.

“I told people all week that (Oklahoma vs. BYU) was going to be a lot closer game than people were giving it credit for,” Patterson said. “That’s the reason why (I don’t put much importance in) preseason rankings. Only the coach inside knows what his team has ——– leadership, chemistry, injury, you name it.”

Patterson also mentioned that even though Oklahoma lost quarterback Sam Bradford in the second quarter, BYU was without their starting running back, Harvey Unga.

“The other guy (Bryan Kariya) ran hard, but Unga’s a good football player,” Patterson said. “I’ve tackled both, and I’d rather tackle (Kariya) than Unga. . . You have to play with what you have.”

When asked if there was now a change in perception about the speed of Mountain West Conference teams and how they match up with BCS conference team, Patterson said a change in philosophy defensively has something to do with the change.

“Like this year, if you read what (BYU coach) Bronco Mendenhall talked about, he started putting linebackers to defensive end, started putting safeties to linebackers. That’s what we’ve be doing forever to try to get more speed on the field,” Patterson said. “You stay within your system, but you start changing your recruiting or you change your (methods.)”

As Patterson continued to discuss the Mountain West Conference coaches and their approaches, he said he doesn’t expect a wait-and-see approach from coaches who have an inexperienced team.

“One of the things that has happened in our league is you have good football coaches and guys that are going out every week, and they’re not just sitting there saying, ‘We’re going to play this year, and I have a young team so we’re not going to be any good, but we’ll grow up and we’ll be better,'” Patterson said. “I don’t think anybody is taking that approach.