And it hasn't stopped for even one day.
"It's a mental game. It's a game of passion,'' Patterson said. "Even from the standpoint of 'What are you representing when you play out there?' When you take that field, you're representing the fans. You're representing the university. You're representing a state. You're representing something bigger than yourself. So that ought to affect the way you think and the way you prepare and the way you do everything.
"So we went to square one back in January and built it. I am very pleased with where we are right now. By no stretch of the imagination are we where we want to be, but thank God we're not where we used to be.''
Actually, Patterson tries as best he can to avoid at all costs discussing where this defense used to be. He says he did it once, in the beginning, back in January perhaps. It had to be done, but it didn't have to be harped upon.
"The only thing we have done is say, 'OK, here's where we are,' '' Patterson said. "I think you always have to identify where you are, as a defense specifically, to identify where you're going. So we took our Big 12 rank in defense, we took our national rank in defense, and said, 'Here's where we are and where we're going.' You can't get to where you're going if you don't know where you were.''
And so now, sounding like WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins telling his pickup-truck-sans-rear-view-mirror story - "We're not goin' backwards, son'' - Patterson moves forward. Last season is just that - last season, not this.
"Our kids know that last year they didn't meet the standards that each one of them, individually, wanted to meet. So why reference it?'' Patterson said. "I reference, 'Here's where we're going and here's how we're going to get there.' Hard work, blue collar, Mountaineer mentality. Those are the things I preach every single day.
"I don't drive down the road looking in the rear-view mirror. I don't want our guys driving down the road looking in the rear-view mirror. I want our guys driving down the road fixed and focused on where we're headed.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.