TCU needs to end This Knucklehead Era

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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engel All of this “talent” has resulted in headaches, disappointments, losses and so much stupid that it’s time for TCU to let these guys go be great someplace else.

It would have been a nice story had wide receiver Brandon Carter got his stuff together to produce the type of dominant season he could. That’s gone.

It would have been a nice story if defensive end Devonte Fields got his stuff together to be the Big 12’s defensive player of the year. That’s gone, too … or it should be.

Even if Fields’ ex-girlfriend recants and then persuades the masses that the police report that said Fields assaulted her is incorrect, TCU needs to be done with Fields and The Knucklehead Era.

One TCU source said if any of the police report is true, Fields will be dismissed. There is just enough “if” on the police report to suggest that maybe nothing will happen and the “separation” between TCU and its stud defensive end will be brief. What TCU and coach Gary Patterson must ask, is it worth it?

Let me help — no.

To repeatedly have high profile and embarrassing off-the-field incidents suggests a lack of control, and the type of recruiting that will eventually force TCU to stop making “exceptions” on its admittance policy for football players.

Over the past three seasons, Gary Patterson has dealt with players who were cutting class, accused of stealing, drinking and driving, dealing and possessing drugs, not showing up for practice and, now, accused in domestic altercations.

Such a run could even prompt The U to say, “Well done.”

The standard of doing things the right way now looks like what it is — by any means necessary.

Nearly every major Division I football team faces such behaviors, but this is a bad run by any standard.

It is so bad because in these three seasons TCU hasn’t done much on the field and the behavior has essentially overshadowed the efforts of players such as Jason Verrett, Sam Carter, Trevone Boykin and the others who are trying, only to be undermined by their knucklehead teammates.

If Patterson is going to gamble on these types of characters, he needs to win. Wins absolve sin. If you are going to finish 4-8, do it without lighting up the police blotter.

GP told reporters in Fort Worth on Tuesday that he does not believe his team has a discipline issue. If it doesn’t, it sure as hell has the perception of a discipline issue.

The only way to recruit the Brandon Carters and Devonte Fields of this world and put them on the same team is to have a leadership group mature enough that it can police the knuckleheads. It is not a coincidence that Fields and Carter were close friends.

No one on this team demonstrated the strength or willingness to show these guys how it’s done, and neither of them was strong enough to break away from negative influences. No one did it because no TCU player, or players, have combined to demonstrate a strong enough voice to create accountability in the locker room.

Ever since Patterson’s team won the Rose Bowl, the inmates have not controlled the inmates.

Former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall caught a lot of heat for telling me in February: “There is zero leadership. Nobody wants to step up and take charge of anything. It’s tough. That is why they have the stuff they did.”

It hurt and it was the undeniable truth. Pachall acknowledged his own role in this scenario, but this issue is bigger than just the former QB.

For years, GP could slide a few borderline personality types — normally called “exceptions” by the school — and get away with it because nothing bad ever happened.

The school had confidence that the coach and the department could make it work so more exceptions were granted.

Now the school is in the middle of a stretch of stench unseen at this school for generations.

Whether or not getting rid of guys like Carter and Fields will make a difference is unknown.

“That’s one of the things I like really about the last three [recruiting] classes that we’ve brought in. A lot less high-maintenance,” GP told the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. “I kind of went back to my old-school way of doing things in recruiting. Get guys that can lead and do things and think for themselves. ‘Cause you got to be a smart football team if you want to win.”

Of late, his team has been dumb, rudderless and losing. Time for The Knucklehead Era to be over.

Follow Mac Engel on

The Big Mac Blog at

star-telegram.com/sports.

Mac Engel 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof

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