Richard Abbe, a senior who came out of spring practice as one of North Texas’ starting defensive tackles, has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Dan McCarney after being arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Abbe, 21, was arrested at 3:13 a.m. Thursday. He posted $1,000 bail and was released from the Denton city jail at 4:31 p.m. Thursday.
A UNT spokesman said early Thursday evening that McCarney met with Abbe after he was released from jail and suspended him.
The spokesman said McCarney would not comment further on the incident.
Abbe, UNT’s biggest defensive lineman at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, started four games for UNT last season, when he posted 13 tackles, including 3.5 for losses, and a sack. The former Lubbock Monterey standout’s most productive game of the 2012 season came in a win over Texas Southern. Abbe finished with three tackles and a sack in a 34-7 win over the Tigers.
Abbe started UNT’s 2012 season opener against LSU and three of the final four games of the season: a loss to Arkansas State, a win over South Alabama and a season-ending loss to Western Kentucky. Abbe posted arguably the biggest play of his career thus far as a sophomore, when he intercepted a pass and returned it 19 yards in a loss to Arkansas State.
Depth along its defensive line was a concern for UNT throughout spring practice, when the Mean Green was missing several players across its defensive front due to injury, including defensive tackle Ryan Boutwell and defensive end Brandon McCoy.
UNT’s depth at defensive tackle was further reduced when redshirt freshman Dylan McDorman was forced to give up football due to chronic shoulder problems. UNT’s coaching staff also decided to play Boutwell both at tackle and end next season.
The absence of Boutwell and the departure of McDorman opened up additional playing time in the spring for Abbe, who McCarney said was “much improved” in comparison from the 2012 season to spring drills last month.
Abbe is one of only three defensive tackles on UNT’s post-spring depth chart who have lettered at UNT, a group that also includes Boutwell and Alexander Lincoln, a junior who started six games last season.
UNT signed two defensive linemen in its 2013 class: junior college defensive end Quenton Brown and Van defensive tackle Sid Moore. Brown tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during spring practice and is not expected to return until the beginning of the Conference USA season at the earliest. UNT opens league play at Tulane on Oct. 5.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.