TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast you!”
Fields was voted the Big 12’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Officers said 20-year-old Haley Brown's right check was swollen, and she had a cut under her eye when they arrived at a Fort Worth home early Sunday. Police said no charges have been filed, and Fields has not been arrested. An emailed statement from TCU says the school doesn't tolerate harassment or misconduct by a student and that the allegations against Fields will be go through an internal discipline process while he is “separated” from the university.
COMMITTEE TALKS GAME LENGTH
Big 12 officiating director Walt Anderson said the rules committee in the offseason talked about possibly letting the clock run after a first down, as a way to speed up the game. The idea was tabled for a year. “I know it will come up at least for discussion this next year,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the SEC is using wireless technology this season and “that’s got a lot of promise in terms of being able to expedite the review process so that we don't have a referee have to run 60 or more yards back to the headset and then run back, which sometimes takes us a little longer than the players to do that.”
Anderson said game time is a concern and that the average length of games has decreased from around 3:30 a few years ago to 3:15 now. Anderson said the Big 12 average was 3:25, the longest among the major conferences. The shortest among the five leagues was 3:16.
STRONG BACKS OFF
New Texas coach Charlie Strong annoyed his fan base several weeks ago when he said the Longhorns weren’t national-championship caliber. Strong backed off that statement Tuesday.
“At the time I made that statement we were just in phase two,” Strong said. “I break our program down into five phases. The first phase is we started January where guys come and go to work right away ...it’s all about just building and reshaping the bodies. Phase two is spring practice. And then phase three is where we get back into summer condition. But we just completed phase two, and I said after looking at phase two, we're not going to go compete for a championship, not looking at phase two, because we had a lot of work to do.
“If you think about it, we were not a healthy football team at that time. But we still have some work to do. I can't say just how far off we are and that we will not know that until we go compete this fall. But we still have work to do. Now, we're not as bad as we used to be.”
SNYDER APPROACHES 75
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder turns 75 in October. Since Snyder was hired by KSU after the 1988 season, his fellow conference opponents have had a combined 48 head coaches. Does that make Snyder feel old?
“The age factor, I can't negotiate that,” Snyder said. “It is what it is. And I'm as old as time and that's not going to change. Probably the significant thing for me — and I think I've learned this a long time ago — when I was a young coach, started off in the high school level and moved to a lot of different places, and I was always one of those coaches that I wanted to be someplace else other than where I was.
“In other words, I wanted to continue to climb. So when I was a high school assistant, I wanted to be a head coach. When I was a head coach, I wanted to be a college assistant. When I was a college assistant, I wanted to be a head coach. So that went on for a considerable period of time. And I was half in/half out, so to speak. And consequently I was not a very good football coach at all, probably not a very good person.
“And I learned some time ago, probably 30 some‑odd years ago, that I needed to do it a little differently. And my decision was, simply put, that be where you are. And I chose to do that. And that allowed me to become better at things I was doing and never looked to move on. It wasn't significant to me. I valued where I was, where my family was and doing what we were doing, and that was kind of the approach that I've taken.”
DURANT DISSES DIGGS
Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs said he’s upset that Thunder superstar and Texas alum Kevin Durant followed him then unfollowed him on Twitter. "Thought we were UT boys,” Diggs said.
CAN WVU REIGNITE EXCITEMENT?
When West Virginia debuted at Big 12 Media Days two years ago, the Mountaineers were coming off a 70-33 Orange Bowl rout of Clemson and excitement was high among WVU fans. But after back-to-back seasons of 7-6 and 4-8, the fervor around the Mountaineers has subsided greatly.
“The days of rolling through the Big East and being able to play in a BCS game are long gone,” said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen. “We're not thinking about that anymore. Although that was fun and that was a huge moment in West Virginia University (history), it's a whole different ballgame right now.
“We have not been dominant in the Big 12, obviously. I don't know how many teams have been dominant in the Big 12. Parity is upon us. Better be ready to go each and every week. We've been competitive ...we need to stay the course. Hopefully we can put a season together that everybody will be proud of.”
WATERS BOLSTERS KSU
Snyder’s history with senior quarterbacks is quite impressive. Collin Klein in 2012 and Ell Roberson in 2003 won Big 12 titles. Michael Bishop in 1998 and Jonathan Beasley in 2000 won division titles, and Chad May in 1994 led KSU to a 9-3 record as Snyder’s building efforts just were starting.
Now Snyder has Jake Waters, who played well last season as a junior-college transfer.
“Jake is one of those young guys that has a tremendous value system,” Snyder said. “He's a young guy that understands what our program is truly all about. He's a young guy that works diligently to improve his plight in life and on the football field on a very regular daily basis.
“He had a rocky start in the first half of the season. But at no time did he ever stop trying to improve his plight. He's a bright, young guy.”
EXTREME MAKEOVER: CYCLONES EDITION
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads fired offensive assistants Courtney Messingham and Kenith Pope after last season. Then four more assistants left for other jobs.
“We have six new coaches on our football staff,” Rhoads said. “That's a lot of change. That's a lot of transition, highlighted by the addition of Mark Mangino to our staff.” Mangino replaces Messingham as offensive coordinator.
But defensive coordinator Wally Burnham returns. “On the defensive side of the ball will be a young, spirited group and, quite honestly, will be led by … Wally, who has been doing it for a lot of years.”
WHERE’S DEFENSE IN WVU-BAYLOR?
The West Virginia-Baylor games the last two years have resulted in scores of 70-63 (West Virginia won) and 73-42 (Baylor won). So what to expect when the teams meet Oct. 18 in Morgantown, W.Va.?
“You better be able to improve defensively and stop some people if you want to win some games,” Holgorsen said. “That doesn't mean you need to hold people to 14 points. Baylor had a good defense last year but still gave up some points. So I think we're in the 40s against them. I was not in a good place two years ago when everybody was excited about our 70‑63 victory.”
ISU LOSS ‘DEVASTATING’
Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa and Iowa to open the 2013 season, but the game that defined the Cyclones’ season was a 31-30 loss to Texas later in September. Texas scored the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds left after a drive that was enabled by two pass interference penalties and two fumbles that were ruled Texas’ ball, even after replay review.
“There’s no question that devastating loss affected our football team,” Rhoads said. “We came back the next week and fought like heck and lost a game by a touchdown, but then our butts started to drag a little bit lower and we suffered some bad defeats.”
Anderson, the officiating director, said the pivotal play that night in Ames, Iowa, Johnathan Gray’s fumble near the goal line, was inconclusive on replay. And Rhoads concurred.
“I think it accurately depicted what the replay system is and what it's not going to be capable of overturning,” Rhoads said. “What we've always known is the ruling on the field is most important.
And if you're ever going to challenge as a coach, you want to know exactly what the ruling on the field is before you do that. We didn't have to challenge, it was something that was going to have to be reviewed as it should have been, and it never produced what the rules state was enough information to overturn it. Doesn’t make it any easier to swallow that loss, because it's a game we certainly thought belonged to us as it played out on the field.”