Practice Notes: TCU loses third player in fall camp while freshmen impress

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    TCU was hopeful about offensive lineman Michael Thompson returning to play for the Horned Frogs, but the injuries simply would not heal for the 6-foot-5-inch, 340-pound junior.

    Head football coach Gary Patterson said Thompson has officially left the team due to medical issues related to Thompson's knees.

    Thompson is the third player to leave the team in fall camp, following offensive lineman Tayo Fabuluje and linebacker Joel Hasley.

    The loss of Thompson is a hit to an offensive line which is not performing to a level that Patterson would like.

    “We still have a long way to go,” Patterson said, regarding his offensive line following practice.

    On his final day of “teaching,” Patterson said Tuesday’s partially-indoor practice was overall a middle-of-the-pack practice.

    “We’re having our highs and lows,” Patterson said. “Young ones are fighting through and the older ones know what to do.”

    “We’re still ***-deep in alligators,” Patterson said, referring to a long-running joke he tells about players who are still trying to improve.

    Patterson's next expected meeting with the media is set for after Thursday’s practice. Here are some other highlights from Tuesday’s post-practice press conference:

    Ty Slanina stepping up at wide receiver, young guys impressing

    Patterson was exceptionally optimistic about freshman receiver Ty Slanina, saying that he is having a solid performance in fall camp.

    “He’s probably one of our best wide receivers,” Patterson said. “He’s had a great camp.”

    Patterson said LaDarius Brown and Cam White have shown moments of solid play, but Slanina has been the best receiver on the field in fall camp.

    Slanina is seeing time as a special teams returner as well, as is Cydney Calvin. Calvin, a freshman cornerback who was also praised by Patterson in post-practice, is seeing time with the 2nd-team. 

    Freshmen linebackers Sammy Douglas and Paul Whitmill also received praise from the head coach, as both players are learning quickly to defensive schemes and keeping up with older players.

    Freshman defensive lineman Tevin Lawson also saw time at the defensive line against top players Tuesday, Patterson said. 

    Joel Hasley’s departure

    Patterson addressed linebacker Joel Hasley’s departure from the team, and said the former walk-on left the team on good terms.

    Patterson said that Hasley left not because of scholarship issues or playing time issues, but from a lack of enjoyment from football.

    "If you’re not having fun anymore, if you want to move on in your life, I fully understand that.” Patterson said, referring to Hasley’s intentions to be a geologist.

    Hasley already has a degree in communication studies and is in school for his second degree, which is in geology.

    Patterson said that despite the recent personnel losses, team morale is still high.

    “We have great chemistry in the house,” Patterson said.

    Devonte Fields suspension

    Patterson said he didn’t think Devonte Fields would be given a reversal on his two-game suspension. Fields, who is seeing practice time with the first-team, was suspended in May for the first two games of the season.

    Patterson said Fields has been “embarrassed for quite a bit for three months” and said the punishment has been giving the coach a chance to change the player.

    Patterson did not give an opinion on LSU’s Jeremy Hill returning to the team following a criminal charge, stating it’s not something for him to worry about and that he has to prepare for “whoever LSU puts on the field.”

    When asked whether Patterson would consider a team vote, similar to what happened at LSU to reinstate Hill, Patterson said he knew what result would come out.

    “My guys would all vote to have Devonte back, because they want to win. That doesn’t teach life lessons though,” the coach said.