Before the season began, many tabbed TCU as a favorite to compete for the Big 12 title. Instead, the Frogs have struggled with consistency on offense and have fallen to 2-3 after Saturday’s 20-17 loss to No. 11 Oklahoma.
The Frogs’ season just took another turn for the worse.
Reigning AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields will have surgery on his foot to repair an ankle injury and miss the rest of the season.
The sophomore defensive end from Arlington, Texas, injured his foot in the fourth quarter of TCU’s 20-10 loss to Texas Tech. Fields posted 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last season.
“He was great with it,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “It’s hard for him because he’s frustrated because he hasn’t played to the level he can because of his foot and everything else going on.”
Fields had struggled to get on the field all season, missing the opener against LSU due to a violation of team rules and later the SMU game after his injury. Fields played limited snaps last Saturday.
“I think it’s a win-win situation for us,” Patterson said. “It gives him three years left to play and allows him to get older and stronger and get that foot fixed right.”
Fields is expected to be granted a medical redshirt for this season.
“They turn that corner on turf and there’s so much pressure on it,” Patterson said. “The guy deserves to get back to full speed where he can play. He just can’t play hard.”
While the Frogs have had the toughest schedule in the nation according to the Sagarin ratings, they’ve been in every game they’ve lost so far primarily because of their stout defense. Despite not having arguably their best defensive player on the field, TCU still currently leads the Big 12 in sacks with 18.
Sophomore Terrell Lathan is expected to start next week in place of Fields. Lathan is currently tied for the team lead in sacks this season with three.