As LSU and TCU prepare for their season-opening showdown at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night, head coaches Les Miles and Gary Patterson are not offering any concrete information on the statuses of two key players: Jeremy Hill and Devonte Fields.
Hill, who returns as the Tigers' leading rusher from last season, was arrested in April after punching a man outside of a bar. Coach Miles basically offered no response to questions from media members on Monday, saying nothing more than that he would "not be surprised" if Hill traveled with the team to Arlington.
Fields, who was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year after recording 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, was suspended for the team's first two games for unspecified reasons. On TCU's first depth chart of the season, though, he was listed as a co-starter at right defensive end alongside Matt Anderson, leading some to wonder if his suspension had been lifted.
Both incidents were separate matters until Patterson took a verbal shot at Miles' decision to consider playing his tailback. Then things started to heat up.
Here is a timeline of all that's happened with Hill and Fields over the summer months as their top-25 matchup looms.
April 27, 2013
Hill is arrested in Baton Rouge just a few days after impressing at LSU's spring game. The initial police report suggests the victim lost consciousness after Hill hit him repeatedly.
April 29, 2013
SB Nation's LSU blog, And The Valley Shook, opines that Hill should be kicked off the team at least until all the details are released in court.
I'm also a big fan of innocent until proven guilty, so perhaps he doesn't need to be kicked off the team until there's a hearing, but Hill does not need to be representing the university until such time. I don't think Miles needs to kick him off the team until the facts come in, as I don't believe he needs to make a bold public statement or whatever, but he does need to punish Hill. And let's be clear, if Hill is guilty, he absolutely should be kicked off the team. Indefinite suspension is the starting point, not the end.
May 15, 2013
Fields is suspended for two games by Patterson for undisclosed reasons shortly after looking pretty bad at TCU's spring game. Some view it as a motivational tactic by the coaching staff.
July 8, 2013
A few days after Hill is officially charged with battery, the video of him attacking the man is released to the public. It's not a good look, and he appears to be laughing and high-fiving another person in the video after he strikes the man from behind.
August 5, 2013
Just hours after Hill receives probation instead of a jail time, he's reinstated to the team by coach Miles and a player's vote.
August 7, 2013
Patterson pours gasoline on the fire by calling out Miles after allowing his players to vote and reinstate Hill to the team. He claims that LSU only gave the players a chance to vote their star tailback back on the roster because it was a big game, and that if it was an "opponent they'd beat by 100 points" in the season opener, there wouldn't have been a vote. Controversy! Drama! Ticket prices rising! TV ratings through the roof!
August 26, 2013
Frogs O' War reports that Fields will suit up against LSU after being listed as an alternate starter on the depth chart, though Patterson won't say one way or another if he will play.
About 450 miles southeast of Fort Worth, Miles says just a few hours later that he "would not be surprised" if Hill traveled with the team for the season opener. He declined comment on whether or not he expected to play him.
LSU and TCU are scheduled to kick off at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 30.