By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer
FORT WORTH — Coaches coach the best way they know.
They incorporate the way they were coached, the values they’ve picked up as they’ve grown professionally and the way they’ve been successful in the past.
They can get stubborn as their sport evolves, but the best ones can make the necessary adjustments to get back on top.
But college sports are in the midst of an overhaul as the transfer portal and name, image and likeness change the landscape. Programs can no longer rely on taking prep players and developing them over the course of four or five years.
Players have options. They are can leave any time they please. They are free agents.
They have been told for years that their farts don’t stink and that they can do no wrong, and their systems are shocked when they hit campus and learn the opposite.
Or are told the opposite by a coach with an iron fist.
The players might not perform at their best because they are more worried about the price that comes with making a mistake rather than playing with the freedom that made them college-caliber players in the first place.
If they don’t play right way, if they aren’t able to market themselves, if they want to be told how great they are again, they’re gone.
No one should fault the player who leaves because his coach left, whether by his own choice or was told to go by the athletic director. A commitment should go both ways.
But the portal-NIL 1-2 punch is the biggest challenge college coaches have ever faced. They have to adjust quickly or they will be left behind.
Gary Patterson didn’t adapt quickly enough with the TCU football team, and it caught up to him. New coach Sonny Dykes, meanwhile, has shown an ability to recruit the transfer portal.
The first impression of the 2022 Frogs baseball team is that the 2021 season, which included the Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles under former coach Jim Schlossnagle, wasn’t as fun as it could have been.
Men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon has gamed the system this season with seven Division I players from the portal after eight left last season.
There has to be a balance between winning and letting players run amok. There has to be discipline and an inherent respect for the game and the opponent, but in an environment that allows a player’s best talents to shine through.
Even then a player might leave. There might be more NIL riches elsewhere, or the chance for more playing time. At least that’s what a player will be told.
A coach’s No. 1 job these days might be making sure he doesn’t give a player a reason to leave.
The fewer egg shells a coach leaves laying around the better, even if it means he has to change.
Love for men’s hoops
The TCU men’s team appears to have a big fan who has some clout nationally, Dick Vitale.
The legendary broadcaster is battling cancer, but he’s never far away from the college game. He took note of the Frogs’ 77-68 victory Saturday over then-No. 19 LSU, which validated his belief that TCU needs (14-4) some recognition for how it has played this season.
The Frogs will never replace Duke as Vitale’s No. 1 love, but they appreciate the attention.
Mike Miles Jr. received some ESPN love as well, as NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz took note of the guard’s performance against LSU. Miles finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and only one turnover.
More than that, Schmitz said that Miles made correct decisions and was pushing the tempo. LSU coach Will Wade also praised Miles for taking control of the game down the stretch.
What to watch this week
No time to sit around and twirl your thumbs. There are TCU sports to follow every day this week. Here’s the schedule through Sunday. Suggestion: Go see the men’s golf team play in Hawaii.
Men’s basketball: at Oklahoma, 8 p.m. Monday (ESPN2); vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2)
Women’s basketball: vs. West Virginia, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN+); at Kansas, 2 p.m. Sunday (ESPN+)
Women’s equestrian: at SMU, Saturday
Men’s golf: at Amer Ari Intercollegiate, Thursday-Saturday, Waimeia, Hawaii
Women’s rife: at Patriot Rifle Conference Championships, Saturday (smallbore)-Sunday (air rifle), Colorado Springs, Colo.
Men’s tennis: vs. Mississippi, noon Sunday
Women’s tennis: vs. Houston, 2:30 p.m. Tuesday; vs. UT-San Antonio, 2:30 p.m. Friday; vs. Washington State, 1 p.m. Sunday
Track and field (indoor): at Lobo Invitational, Friday-Saturday, Albuquerque
Frogs Today reminders
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That’s it … until next week.
Damn it, Brian Kelly: Longtime southern gentleman Brian Kelly is back at it, dancing with a recruit on social media.
The LSU coach, who left Notre Dame in December to replace Ed Ogeron, previously danced with a recruit to the Garth Brooks song “Callin’ Baton Rouge.” This time it’s “Right Foot Creep” by Kentrell DeSean Gaulden,who is from Baton Rouge.
Kelly looks pretty goofy, again, but the Tik Tok video has more than eight million views. That’s good for the recruit, tight end Danny Lewis Jr., and probably LSU. If a coach is willing to make a total ass out of himself for you, he probably has your best interests in mind.
You’re up, Sonny Dykes.
That’s a record?: When I was growing up, I always enjoyed looking a the Guinness Book of World Records. I distinctly remember tallest man and woman, longest hair and longest fingernails, which in hindsight is disgusting.
Maybe it’s always been this way, but Guinness has really stretched the bounds of meaningful records. For example, some Iranian fella just set a Guinness record for balancing 85 spoons on his body. The story doesn’t say if he broke someone’s record or established the mark for this excited new category.
I hope it’s the latter, but I have a feeling that there’s some dude in Paraguay hoping to get his name back on top in the spoon division. What about knives and forks? I hear Albania is a hotbed for utensil balancing.
Bad golf shots: This is clever. I don’t know if I should like the fact that there are people out there who have the time to do this stuff or worry that they aren’t out in the workforce. Of course, these days creating Instagram content can be a career. I’ll this chaps a thumbs up.
Oh, for those wondering, Part 2 is better than Part 1.
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com