Photo: USA Today Sports
When TCU kicks off the 2013 season on the big stage in Cowboys Stadium against SEC West power LSU, they will do so without one of their top players. Sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields has been suspended for what the team is calling a violation of university and team policy.
Fields is actually being suspended for the first two games of TCU's 2013 season. Last year's Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and defensive rookie of the year led the Big 12 with 17.5 tackles for a loss and he was second in the conference in sacks with nine QB takedowns behind the line of scrimmage.
This is clearly a significant loss for the Horned Frogs to start the season against an LSU team that tends to play a physical style in the trenches. The loss of one of the top defensive players in the Big 12 figures to be tough to replace for a big game to start the season. The Horned Frogs should easily get by in game number two of the season without Fields, as TCU hosts FCS Southeastern Louisiana a week after playing in Cowboys Stadium.
The loss especially stings for TCU because a chance to showcase the program in Cowboys Stadium, a palace for college football's premiere games these days and right in the back yard of TCU, relatively speaking, is one that should be embraced by putting the best foot forward. Without knowing the specifics of the violations involved, head coach Gary Patterson should be applauded for not sacrificing a sense of integrity for the rules at the expense of winning a non-conference clash against a top-level opponent.