UPDATE (8:21pm): Ty Summers and Montrel Wilson are the starting linebackers for Saturday's game vs. Stephen F. Austin. Sammy Douglas' injury is an ACL injury.
Patterson has confirmed that Montrel Wilson will start at one linebacker spot on Saturday. Did not confirm who will start next to him. James McFarland has a broken toe from stepping on a sprinkler head, which has sidelined his for the past few weeks. The toe will require surgery, costing the defensive end, and last year's sack leader, his season.
Mike Freeze has taken a leave of absence from the football team just one game in to the season. While the reason for his leaving is only speculation at this point, the freshman did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, and Gary Patterson informed the media on Wednesday that he would not suit up for the Frog's home opener.
With the only linebacker with game experience, Sammy Douglas, lost for the year early in Thursday night's game against Minnesota, Freeze and fellow freshman Ty Summers were slated to start against SFA Saturday afternoon; as TCU would look to roll with two freshman at the key position. The true freshman early enrollee had an impressive debut; leading hte team in tackles and impressing his veteran teammates with his toughness, aggressiveness, and moxie. With Freeze out of the picture, at least for the time being, the starting job will likely fall to either Montrel Wilson or Travin Howard; both of whom had been listed as safeties. Wilson had practiced some at the linebacker spot this fall before an injury sidelined him, and injuries in the secondary forced him back to that unit. Former linebacker Paul Whitmill, who had been moved to fullback in camp, will likely return to his previous position to add depth.
With no timetable for Freeze's return, Patterson and TCU will have a lot of work to do to patch up what has become a paper thin position on defense. With several starters along the line already sidelined due to injury, and a young secondary just starting to get their bearings, the defense will be tested early this season in a way few could expect - even with all of the questions raised by their youth coming in. The nationally recognized defensive guru will have to do his best job yet to keep TCU in the Big 12 title picture, and the offense will certainly need to get back to their high flying ways to give the team an opportunity to win games in one of the best offensive conferences in the country.
We will update the story as we know more information. For now, we wish Mike Freeze well.