|AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez|
|TCU coach Gary Patterson has had a change of heart about Devonte Fields' status for the opener.|
When TCU head coach Gary Patterson said he was not tweaking LSU counterpart Les Miles with remarks about the controversial reinstatement of Tigers running back Jeremy Hill, it seemed like it was the end of a minor plot point leading up to the anticipated season opener at AT&T Stadium.
Now it feels like Patterson is going out of his way to make a point at Miles' expense.
Patterson said during the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday morning that Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman All-America defensive end Devonte Fields would be in uniform vs. LSU, despite a two-game suspension for violating team rules. The TCU depth chart released in the afternoon listed junior Matt Anderson or Fields as the starter.
Fields was supposed to miss games against LSU and Southeastern Louisiana before returning for the Horned Frogs' conference opener on Sept. 12. Now, the door seems to be open for Fields to play from the start, just as Miles seemed to close another on Hill's possible participation.
Miles said Monday that he "wouldn't be surprised" if Hill traveled with the team to Arlington, Texas. Hill was allowed to rejoin the team earlier this month after his teammates voted on the matter. He was reinstated despite pleading guilty to a simple battery charge while already on probation. Miles has not been clear about what punishment, if any, Hill would face for his legal transgressions.
It goes without saying that pregame warmups Saturday are now must-see TV to find out if Fields, Hill or both will be preparing to play and whether Patterson and Miles have any sort of interaction. After the countdown to kickoff ends, the countdown to a potentially frosty handshake of Belichickian proportions will begin.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.