LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – Midway through Jerry Kill’s second fall camp at New Mexico State, the Aggies have an extra set of eyes on the program and these ones are legendary.

Former TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who built the Horned Frogs into a perennial powerhouse over 21 years in Fort Worth, is in Las Cruces this week watching NMSU practice and helping out his old friend.

One of the most respected defensive minds in the history of college football, Patterson was let go at TCU in 2021, allowing Kill to fill in for him as the interim head coach and subsequently get hired at NMSU. Patterson was the special assistant to the head coach at Texas in 2022.

“To see him be successful and be happy with a smile on his face, it makes me happy too. It makes it really easy for me to come down here. I know he would do the same thing for me,” Patterson said.

Patterson arrived in Las Cruces on Sunday evening and according to Kill, immediately got to work with NMSU’s defensive staff, many of whom coached under Patterson at TCU. They watched film late into the night, before getting up early for NMSU practice on Monday morning.

Patterson said he watched and charted five or six of NMSU’s games from 2022 to give Kill and his staff another look.

“We have a lot of young coaches and it’s good for them to listen to someone who’s arguably one of the top two coordinators to ever coach the game of football and had success as a head coach,” said Kill.

At TCU, Patterson led the Horned Frogs to three New Year’s Six or BCS games, winning the 2011 Rose Bowl and the 2014 Peach Bowl. TCU also finished in the top 10 in either the AP or Coaches Poll seven times in his tenure.

He also dealt with conference realignment multiple times at TCU, as the Horned Frogs moved from the WAC, to Conference USA, then to the Mountain West, before settling in the Big 12 in 2012.

With the way college football’s landscape changed within the last week due to the latest round of realignment, Patterson weighed in on it on Monday.

“Change is going to happen always. You have to come up with a game plan of how you’re going to fit it and what you’re going to have to do to be successful if you want to keep your job. It disappoints me that we’re going to lose regional competition,” Patterson said.

Patterson will be at NMSU’s practice on Tuesday as well watching the Aggies as they get ready to open the 2023 season at home vs. UMass on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. on ESPN.