Patterson’s wealth of knowledge
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
From high school to college and even the NFL, when it comes to football, UTEP’s defensive coordinator Andre Patterson has coached it all.
“To me coaching is like being a history professor,” Patterson said. “My job is to give the young men the information and make sure that they know it and if they struggle with it, find different ways to get them to understand it and know it.”
Involved in football since the fifth grade, Patterson has made a career out of the sport he loves.
Playing football all throughout middle school and high school, Patterson went on to play as an offensive lineman for Contra Costa College and Montana. However, his time on the field was cut short after he sustained a career-ending knee injury.
No longer able to play, Patterson decided to channel his knowledge of the game by turning to coaching. First, as graduate assistant at Montana then as a defensive coordinator and head coach at the high school level.
Returning to the collegiate ranks in 1988, Patterson spent nine seasons as an assistant coach, defensive coordinator and head coach at programs such as Weber State, Washington State (both under Mike Price), Western Washington, Cornell, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, before being offered the opportunity to be a part of an NFL coaching staff in 1996.
In the NFL, Patterson helped developed the defensive line of the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos. He helped in the break down of offenses led by all-pro quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
After 10 years in the NFL, Patterson returned to his roots as a college coach and in 2010 found himself at UTEP.
Despite the differences between pro football and college football, Patterson sees all players the same.
“Football players are football players, so there is not a lot of difference between college and professional athletes,” Patterson said. “The biggest difference is that in the NFL those guys are getting paid to play the game and it is their job. They are there from 7 in the morning until 5 in the evening and all they do is focus on football where as in college the players are students too so they have to go to class, so the window that you get a chance to work with them on football is a lot smaller.”
Since joining the UTEP coaching staff, Patterson has led the Miners to hold four teams to less than 300 yards of offense for only the third time since 1977 and eight games where the opponent scored 24 points or less for the first time in 20 years.
With an assertive defensive style, Patterson has coached NFL players such as Ebenezer Ekuban, La’Roi Glover, Gerard Warren and recent Hall of Fame inductees Chris Doleman and John Randle.
His UTEP players hope to become a part of this elite group of athletes.
“He has coached some of the greats and he has brought all of his experience to us college players and he is truly teaching us a lot,” junior defensive lineman Germard Reed said. “As a coach he holds a cool attitude, but when it comes to playing he brings out our competitive side and teaches us an aggressive, frenzy defense.”
With UTEP at a 0-2 record in conference, Patterson said communication has never been more vital to the team.
However, he also said he’s still confident that the Miners can turn it around, they just have to take it one game at a time.
“We need to get the first win, so all we are focused on right now is trying to find a way to beat Tulsa,” Patterson said. “These kids have played their hearts out. They have played hard. They have played physical. They have sacrificed their bodies for UTEP and all of the Miner fans. I have a lot of respect and pride for the way our kids have played. We just have to keep playing and working hard and the victories will come.”
Audrey Westcott may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.