JUST JOSHIN’: Countdown to kickoff - Fields looking for full sea - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

JUST JOSHIN’: Countdown to kickoff - Fields looking for full season of Beast Mode

(Source: WAVE 3 News) (Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News) (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Ten days to kickoff: This is the 31st installment of a 40-day countdown to the kickoff of the college football season for WAVE Country's four FBS teams (the universities of Louisville and Kentucky as well as Indiana and Western Kentucky universities).

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Devonte Fields began last season out of shape. He finished it in Beast Mode.

Fields, University of Louisville coaches and fans are hoping more of the latter, and less of the former, this season.

The 6-foot-4, 242-pound senior linebacker will be a linchpin of a defense that returns eight starters and should be among the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as the country.

Last season Fields led the nation in tackles for loss per game (1.73) while also leading Louisville in sacks (10.5), tackles for loss (22), quarterback hurries and also tying for the top spot in forced fumbles (two).

It did take Fields a little while to get warmed, though. That’s because Fields, who transferred to UofL from Trinity Valley Junior College after a sensational freshman season at TCU, wasn’t quite ready for the rigors of last season.

“Devonte Fields completely healthy now, and in good shape,” Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino said at the team’s media day. “Before we started the first practice I asked him if he was going to throw up today like last year and he said, ‘No coach, I will not do that.’ So that’s good to see that he’s in that good of shape. It’ll be easier for him to get better and be prepared for the first game because he’s been through all the conditioning and all the hard work.

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“(Last year) he got really sore in practice. His body hadn’t been through that, besides the being out of shape, as far as his wind and conditioning, his body was out of shape. One day his legs would be sore, the next day his back, the next day his shoulders. I can’t put a percentage on it, but he certainly was a different player the last part of the season when he was in condition.”

Indeed in UofL’s final four games of the season he tallied 22 tackles, including 8.5 sacks (including three in the Cards’ win over Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl) and 13 tackles for loss on his way to being named the team’s defensive player of the year as well as All-ACC honorable mention honors.  

“I got more comfortable with the playbook, and got in more shape,” Fields, who totaled 63 tackles in 2015, said in the preseason. “So that's why I was able to play like I know I'm able to play, like I know I can play.”

Card Nation is hoping Fields can play in Beast Mode for this entire season.

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