Five Facts: TCU vs. Kansas State
Injuries continue piling up for the TCU football team.
Coach Gary Patterson acknowledged during his news conference that free safety Niko Small and linebacker/defensive end Ty Summers are likely out for the Kansas State game on Saturday, and potentially longer.
“Maybe down for the rest of the year, depending on how it all works,” Patterson said.
Patterson made the statement when discussing true freshman Ben Wilson, who has seen most of his time on special teams appearing in seven of eight games to date.
With Summers down and a banged up Garret Wallow being used some at strong safety, Wilson could see more playing time at linebacker.
“Ben may be a guy that will start seeing more action on defense,” Patterson said.
The losses of Summers and Small are significant for the defense.
Summers has more career starts than anyone on the team with 32, and ranks third on the team in tackles with 43. Small is second in career starts with 28.
Small has battled injuries since exiting the Texas game last month. He missed the next three games, but returned for the Kansas game last Saturday. That marked the fifth game of the season for Small, eliminating the possibility of him redshirting this season under the new rule that allows players to play in up to four games.
“We had the conversation,” Patterson said of Small possibly redshirting. “But really I think he wanted to play. We had the conversation about him not playing, but I don’t think he wanted to go another year.”
Speaking of the redshirt rule, Patterson spoke on a few freshmen who are on the cusp of burning their year of eligibility.
Wide receivers John Stephens Jr. and Tevailance Hunt have each played in four games, and are expected to play in more games going forward, so they wouldn’t be eligible for a redshirt.
But Patterson and the staff will try to ensure defensive end Ochaun Mathis is eligible for a redshirt by the end of the season. Mathis has played in three games, and the staff will monitor the remaining games as to when it’d make the most sense for him to play.
In other injury news, Patterson said starting cornerbacks Jeff Gladney and Julius Lewis are better going into this week than when each tried to play through injuries against KU.
“Gladney and Julius struggled, but you have to give those guys a lot of credit for playing in the game,” Patterson said. “But they’re better this week.”