TCU head coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday that “nothing has changed” regarding the status of Devonte Fields for Saturday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana, and Fields will serve the second game of his suspension.
“No matter what, he will serve a two-game suspension,” Patterson said.
However, Patterson did leave open the possibility of Fields playing Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana and being suspended for another game later in the season. Patterson said he would talk to Chancellor Victor Boschini before deciding to play Fields Saturday.
The coach said his concern about not playing Fields against SELU would be that the defensive end could get injured when he makes his first start. If Fields sits out Saturday, his first start would come next Thursday against a Texas Tech team that has already played two games, while he has yet to see the field.
Patterson said the other issue with Fields is making sure the sophomore has learned from the suspension.
“We talk about, why do you have punishment?” Patterson said. “Why do you do the things you do? Do you think that he changed?”
Fields has served 135 hours of community service for violating university policy, according to Patterson, by working at a local food bank. Patterson said he made the decision to suspend Fields, not the university. He said Fields has done everything the university has asked of him.
Despite his comments about Fields possibly playing last week, Patterson said there was never any possibility that he would play. The coach said he took Fields’ helmet from him but let him be in uniform to show that he was still a part of the team.
“I think, physically, he was hurt that he was in that situation that he couldn’t help,” Patterson said of Fields having to sit out Saturday.
Patterson said the whole situation has been about trying to do what’s right, not about winning.
“A righteous man loses also,” Patterson said.
Preparing for SELU:
Patterson said Tuesday that his team is not taking SELU lightly. He noted that the Lions played on Thursday, giving them two more days to prepare for the Frogs, and that a number of FCS teams pulled upsets last weekend.
The coach also said that the second week of the season is about more than the opponent. He said it’s about learning from the first week’s mistakes and getting better.
“This is not just about them,” Patterson said. “This is about us.”
Offensive guard Eric Tausch said the Frogs need to treat SELU and every opponent on their schedule like LSU.
“Never overlook an opponent,” Tausch said, “because, as you can see from the first week, we saw a couple teams fall to [FCS] schools. You never want to take them for granted.”
Seven FCS teams upset FBS teams last weekend, including two-time defending FCS Champion North Dakota State, which defeated Kansas State, the 2012 Big 12 Champion. West Virginia also played a close game against FCS school William and Mary, pulling out a 24-17 win.
Catalon earns returner role:
Patterson said Tuesday that B.J. Catalon is now the starting kick returner for the Frogs after his explosive performance against LSU.
Catalon took over fielding kicks after Brandon Carter fumbled during his first return attempt. The sophomore returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, the second-longest in school history. Carter is still the starting punt returner.