The moment TCU safety Nick Orr threw a punch, he was done, and now he’s sitting.
His head coach understands the rules, but he’s not thrilled about the ruling.
The Big 12 announced on Sunday that TCU starting safety Nick Orr has been suspended for the first half of the Big 12 title game against Oklahoma at AT&T Stadium. Baylor will lose running back JaMycal Hasty for the first half of its season opener in 2018; defensive end D.J. Artis will have to sit for the entire game.
Accordingly, TCU coach Gary Patterson expressed his thoughts about this, and a “misunderstanding” with the Sooners.
The suspensions are the result of a fight that broke out near the end of the third quarter of TCU’s win against Baylor on Friday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
“I pleaded with the Big 12 to understand that if you are going suspend him, let’s use some common sense and suspend him for the first quarter,” Patterson said Sunday afternoon. “I’m not saying he’s not wrong. (Orr) is at fault. He’s the kid that didn’t want to be a part of it and now he’s going to lose. If you watch the video, you’ll see he was trying to stay out of it. He got slammed to the ground from behind.”
The Horned Frogs were already 7-point underdogs against an OU team it lost to by 18 on Nov. 11, and losing a guy like Orr does not help. Orr is a senior who ranks third on TCU in tackles, has three tackles for losses, two interceptions and seven passes defended.
The Big 12 has screwed up so many decisions this season it could be an encyclopedia set, so if you have a problem with the ruling, there is a line forming outside of the league office.
The Big 12 had no choice. Orr threw a punch. If you think there are double standards from the Big 12 office in terms of suspension, you are correct. More players could have been suspended.
The refs penalized every single player on the field, and the bench, from both teams for the altercation. As a result, the penalties offset each other.
“I was busy trying to make sure we didn’t have 25 other suspensions,” Patterson said. “The only guys who participated (in the fight) were already on the field. We were able to keep everybody else back. That’s my whole question — there have to be different levels (of suspensions). Did you come off the sidelines, or were you protecting yourself? I’ll promise you that’s going to be brought up at league meetings.
“(Orr) is a good kid who was there with his family on Senior Day. He was trying to help (linebacker) Sammy Douglas and then he gets caught up in it. Sammy and (linebacker) Ty Summers were on the field getting punched and kicked and Orr was trying to help his teammates. I am disappointed for Orr because he’s a senior and he’s not going to be able to play the whole Big 12 title game. It’s not like he came off the bench and cold-cocked a guy.”
Baylor coach Matt Rhule was seen scolding Hasty on the sidelines after the fight.
Patterson said Douglas is OK. The coach also said he is uncertain if junior safety Niko Small will be available for Saturday’s game. He has missed the last two games with a head injury.
What Patterson did express is frustration with the league, overall, and wanted to clear up something with the Sooners.
During warmups before the TCU game in Norman on Nov. 11, OU quarterback Baker Mayfield was seen throwing a ball that hit a TCU player. The player? TCU safety Niko Small.
Patterson would/could not say whether Small’s injury was caused by Mayfield’s “errant?” pass.
OU coach Lincoln Riley did not admonish Mayfield for the throw. Riley explained it away as a TCU player’s running through OU’s warmup lines.
“They ran right through the middle of our warmups. When you do that, things like that can happen,” Riley told reporters in a press conference about the incident.
Patterson would not say if he thought Mayfield was throwing at his players, but did take exception to Riley’s characterizations of his team during warmups.
“They had too many recruits on the field and the guy who was handling it sent one half (of his team) one way and the other half the other way. TCU doesn’t run through lines,” Patterson said. “I really don’t like being thrown under the bus on that. The bottom line is, Oklahoma didn’t have control of its sidelines. I believe Oklahoma is a good university and has a good football team, but none of us have to act that way. We’re going to try not to.”
The league meetings should be fun.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof