The news that TCU junior wide receiver LaDarius Brown was kicked off the team for possession of weed is another less than great piece of public information for a team that needs some quiet.
You can bet all of your money this is not the first infraction for Brown, and that TCU and head coach Gary Patterson finally raised the white flag on Brown. TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte passionately believes in granting second or third chances to younger people, and the decision to do this was not one made easily. They did not want to do this.
Brown, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, was not a bum. He played in all 12 games for TCU in 2013, and was the team's second-leading receiver.
TCU's move into the Big 12 was hard enough, it is clear now the difficulty of the transition has been compounded exponentially by the high number of young players Patterson had to lean on two years ago. No one on this team has matured into a leader, and he has no leadership group to make other players accountable.
Positive peer pressure from teammates is often a head coaches' greatest weapon. A team that police's itself is usually the best team.
From 2005 to 2011, Patterson normally had a group of juniors and seniors who "got it." Guys who knew how to win, from extra work in the weight room, film study, and specifically how to stay out of trouble. Not that those teams were comprised of saints and choir boys, but there was a definite power structure of leadership. The Rose Bowl team was stacked with upperclassmen. They were grownups even though they were kids.
Two years ago, TCU's first season in the Big 12, GP played more true freshmen than any other team in the country. He had nothing but underclassmen.
As this group has grown up, it has not grown up. There is no player who has "taken it" and shown them the way. Those types of personalities make sure what just happened with LaDarius Brown never happens.
It would help if he had a quarterback, or a linebacker, who knew what he was doing and could recruit a teammate or two into showing, and telling, their teammates how it's done.
A core group of leaders who make their teammates accountable is not going to solve everything, but it would give this team a direction and a sense of team and purpose it needs. What GP needs are a few grownups among his kids.
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