Tuesday, November 29, 2011
To play or not to play TCU's kicker?
By Jeff Caplan
TCU Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson has decided that recently arrested senior kicker Ross Evans will suit up for Saturday afternoon''s season-finale in front of the home fans at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
The question is, will he kick against UNLV?
"To be honest with you, he'll be on the sidelines, but I haven't decided yet if he'll kick at all," Patterson said. "But, here's the thing you've always got to ask yourself after you gather information: Who actually is threatened by the whole situation? Your football team if your backup walk-on kicker misses a field goal and you lose the game, or Ross Evans?"
Patterson said Evans has been suspended from practices ever since he was charged with criminal trespassing for allegedly kicking in a door to an apartment in Denton in an attempt to retrieve a friend's stolen cell phone. Evans turned himself in on Nov. 14 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was set free on $2,500 bail. He faces up to a year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine.
Evans, who holds eight TCU kicking records and needs three field goals to become the Mountain West Conference's career leader, returned to practice Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's important final game as members of the Mountain West Conference. TCU, which will join the Big 12 next season, is seeking a 10th win for the fourth consecutive season. It would give the Frogs their third consecutive MWC title.
Although Patterson might ultimately decide not to punish Evans by taking away his Senior Day (and in Patterson's view, potentially punishing the rest of the team with the risk of an errant kick by the backup kicker), he said he's not thrilled with the senior's decision-making.
Patterson said it disturbed him that the incident happened two nights before the team was to leave for Boise State for the biggest game of the season. He called Evans' decision to kick down a door "stupid" and "selfish."
The arrest also tarnishes, if just a bit, the squeaky clean image that Patterson has worked hard to foster. In March, Sports Illustrated published a report that listed the teams on its 2010 Top 25 preseason rankings along with the number of players on each team that had police records. TCU was the lone program with no arrests. TCU and Oklahoma were found to be the only schools that conducted regular criminal background checks on recruits.
"Do I think that we [Evans] overreacted in going to somebody's house and we kicked [the door in?]," Patterson said. "I mean, we're in a state where people shoot people when they come inside their apartments. ... Let's talk about common sense. Look what you put in jeopardy. That's what I talk to my team all the time about. You don't just represent yourself. You represent this university, you represent this football team, you represent this city, you represent all that stuff. That's the thing that I'm disappointed in."