Three years later, Patterson moved to Tulsa and was settled in as co-defensive coordinator in 2007 when the Golden Hurricane hired Gus Malzahn as the co-offensive coordinator. The coaching staff would get together and share overviews of the entire offense and defense.
Patterson paid the most attention to what Malzahn didn't like.
Soon the offensive coordinator for the Auburn team that won the 2010 national title and now the Tigers head coach, Malzahn liked quick throws and single coverage to the short side of the field.
To this day, Patterson won't give an opponent that and will have his cornerback thump that receiver to take away that quick throw and the easy yards. He prefers to bring pressure from the other side of the field.
Malzahn was also very good with the zone read, which wasn't much different from what Rodriguez had done, though Malzahn might use a fullback to lead. Patterson again wouldn't let that happen and would scoot a cornerback up and give him up to the fullback. In the 3-4, there was still an inside and an outside linebacker to make the tackle against one blocker.
Chad Morris would come to Tulsa two years after Malzahn left and Patterson would apply the same study habits, confident again that Tulsa's offensive coordinator was on the cutting edge -- and proven correct again by what Morris is doing at Clemson and how it shares the principles of other spread offenses throughout the country and the Big 12.
"When I studied spread offenses and Dana and Malzahn and Chad, I said, 'I've got to put somebody in the B gap,' " Patterson said.
The B gap is the alley between an offensive guard and tackle. Patterson saw it to be the throwing lane most quarterbacks exploited in the spread offense. He now tries to close that opening by positioning defenders there.
"If there's going to be a window, it's going to be a small window," he said. "So I play tight, hard coverage into the boundary and I try to get people into the throwing lanes and make people be precise."
The rest of Patterson's playbook reads much the same, written by the offensive minds WVU's defensive coordinator has studied most.
"I'd sit there and listen to those guys and listen to them talk about what they tell their quarterback," Patterson said. "Whatever they'd tell their quarterback, I'd say, 'OK, I'm going to do the opposite.' Over the course of time, a long period of time, I've tried to develop everything they don't want."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.