I had this basically written yesterday, but then the news came out about Fabuluje leaving the team and that basically took a poo on this article. It's never good to lose depth on the offensive line, and it's even worse to lose one of your most experienced starting tackles.
How big of a hole does Fabuluje leave at tackle? I'll address that shortly.
But first, as we creep one day closer to the start of college football let's take a look at some serious unanswered questions for TCU's first game against LSU, and try to reach a conclusion.
1. Will Jeremy Hill play for LSU?
As of July 18th, Hill was still suspended indefinitely after pleading guilty to a simple battery charge, after he lit up a dude's world back in April. Now, rumor has it that Hill was baited into punching the guy, which could very well be true, but regardless, you have to know how to walk away.
Here's video for those curious (Hill is the the long-sleeved, purple LSU shirt):
Hill was sentenced to two years probation, 50 hours of community service and a six month suspended jail sentence. So, to answer the question, no, I don't think Hill plays in this game.
Hill isn't the only talented back for LSU, but he's definitely the best. Without him, the Tigers will need to see big games from Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard, both of whom had down years in 2012, partially to injury.
2. Will Cam Cameron's Offense Be Up To Full Speed?
The Tigers pulled a robbery this offseason when they lured Cam Cameron away from his offensive coordinator gig with the Baltimore Ravens for the same position in Baton Rouge. He's no doubt one of the top offensive minds in football, and he has quite a bit of talent to play with. However, it's always difficult for a team to learn a new scheme in the offseason and then be at full speed Week 1.
(SIDENOTE: Frankly, I think Zach Mettenberger is overrated. And before you go saying that I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm not completely in the dark about Mett. I watched him in five games last season (Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Clemson). He looked good against Alabama, but other than that I thought he was extremely pedestrian.)
3. Who will step up in Devonte Fields' absence?
There are three names that come to mind when I think about Fields' replacement: James McFarland, Matt Anderson and Josh Carraway.
If we go by the spring depth chart, Matt Anderson would be the guy to slide in at right end, but I would be very surprised to see one guy get most of the reps. From all accounts, James McFarland has been a beast, and I would suspect he would get a big opportunity to show out against a top tier opponent.
However, I see this spot being filled on a rotation, and if one guy seems to be heating up, the coaches may just roll with him in the moment.
4. How big of a loss is Fabuluje/what does the tackle situation look like now?
Like I said at the beginning of this post, losing depth on your offensive line is not a good thing, ever. Add to that the fact that the guy you just lost is your most experienced left tackle, and things get much worse.
Fabuluje, while being a penalty machine, had more game experience than just about everyone else at the tackle position, save Aviante Collins. However, his seemingly sudden departure means that the Frogs are now scrambling to put together an offensive line.
(SIDENOTE: Patterson commented on Tayo's situation at Thursday's practice, stating that it had been a family problem for about two months. "He just couldn't do it anymore," Patterson told Jeremy Clark of HornedFrogBlitz.com.)
I think the logical option at this point would be to put Collins at left tackle for the LSU game, and then reevaluate as we move through the season. James Dunbar and Halapoulivaati Vaitai should compete for the right tackle spot. There's still a little depth at tackle with Eason Fromayan and Joseph Noteboom, not to mention the mammoth freshman Matt Pryor.
You guys, Pryor is bigger than an armored truck. That's real. He's the LT of the future for this program. However, it's difficult to see them getting him ready to face off against LSU in his first college game in less than a month.